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The Greatest Female Superheroes of All Time

best female superheroes

We may be far from being a sexism-free society, but you can’t deny that media is reshaping how it portrays women on screens.

And it’s about dang time.

From Disney Princesses without Prince Charmings to romcom heroines dumping the cute guy and choosing herself instead, we’re redefining how we see women’s strengths and needs – for the better.

Things are picking up in the superhero genre, too. While historically, female superheroes have been pushed to the sidelines as ‘smaller’ characters or as a part of an almost all-male group, this is no longer the case.

2017’s Wonder Woman showed us just exactly how much the world is craving for more female-focused superhero movies. That year, the movie amassed a total of $821.74 million in the box office alone and was officially named the highest-grossing superhero origin film of all time.

Since then, we’ve seen more movies and tv shows featuring women superheroes, like Captain Marvel, Wanda Vision, and Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey. Now that we’re celebrating Wonder Woman’s 80th anniversary, we’re all about women empowerment in the superhero industry, too.

Here’s a hint to the Hollywood execs: We need more female-led superhero movies.

But until they come, we’ve curated a list of the greatest female superheroes of all time. Who knows? Maybe some of them will appear on our screens sometime soon.

20 of The Greatest Female Superheroes of all time

20. Storm

As part of the mainstay X-Men group and the first major Black woman superhero, Storm definitely belongs to this list of greatest female superheroes.

Storm draws her powers from nature, from the Earth’s electromagnetic field itself. This is how she can generate lightning and create tornadoes and massive storms. But aside from her considerable powers, Storm is perhaps most proud of her other role – a mentor to young mutants and ultimately, being the heart of the X-Men.

19. Kate Bishop/Hawkeye

Ever wondered what a female version of Clint Barton’s Hawkeye would look like? Then it’s time you meet Kate Bishop. In the Marvel comics, Bishop is Barton’s protégé. She is seamless with her bow and arrows, and not to mention, wearing the same purple costume as Barton. She does, however, have her own strong personality and mysterious back story that makes her such a compelling superhero.

18. Batgirl

Admittedly, we haven’t seen much of Batgirl on the big screen. The only live-action version was of Alicia Silverstone in the 1997 Batman and Robin and the movie did not really do justice to Batgirl’s character.

However, in the DC comics, Batgirl is a very strong character. She was actually one of the most popular characters during the Silver Age of Comic Books. Called Barbara Gordon by day, Bat Girl is an all-around female superhero. Aside from her superb martial arts skills, she is tech-savvy, too. Contributing her skills in hacking and vast knowledge of computers, she often gets her team out of tight spots.

17. Mantis

Mantis isn’t your usual combat-trained superhero. She doesn’t have the physical flare nor the undeniable charm we usually see. Having lived in isolation with the egotistical sociopath Ego, she doesn’t have the best social skills either. But all of this only makes Mantis powerful. It made her an empath – able to sense and alter others’ feelings (I mean, she made Thanos sleep!) We’ll surely see more of her strength in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

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16. Huntress

The live-action TV series Arrow introduced many of us to yet another excellent fighter superhero – Huntress. Appearing in many names in comics through the decades, whether it is as supervillain Paula Brooks, Helena Wayne as Batman and Catwoman’s lovechild, or as Helena Bertinelli with her mobster history, Huntress is a strong superhero in any version. This crossbow-wielding woman is stubborn, resilient, and fearless, which is why she’s on our list.

15. Jane Foster

Jane Foster is a notable female in her own right, being a world-leading astrophysicist in the Marvel movies and a doctor in the comic version. There’s also something to say about being Thor’s girlfriend – it can’t be easy being with the God of Thunder.

However, perhaps in a twist not a lot of fans foresaw, Jane stepped out from the shadows of being Thor’s paramour into taking his place as the worthy wielder of Mjolnir and ultimately becoming Thor herself. This makes her one of the strongest female superheroes of all time.

14. Jessica Jones

This investigative, crime-fighting, cursed/gifted-with-powers superhero may not be the flashiest one out there. But it is perhaps her down-to-earth quality that makes her endearing to so many audiences.

While many superheroes have trouble juggling a personal life with some semblance of normalcy, Jessica Jones’ character manages so splendidly. Committed her to family life, he’s married to another superhero, Luke Cage, and is a superhero mom. Talk about having it all!

13. Hit Girl

If it wouldn’t have been for Chloe Moretz’s portrayal in the critically acclaimed 2010 superhero film Kick Ass, Hit Girl would have remained a “side” character in the comic franchise. But because of the success of the film, she ended up with her very own comic series, too.

Hit Girl is a spunky, no-holds-barred young superhero girl whose expertise in martial arts and superb assassin skills help her fight villains twice her age and size.

We haven’t heard any news of a sequel yet, but we hope to see more of this girl and how she’s growing up into her superhero persona.

12. Katana/Soultaker

This list wouldn’t be complete without a master swordswoman, wouldn’t it? Katana is eerily dubbed as the Soultaker because of her ruthless mission to avenge those responsible for her husband’s death. And to make it scarier (and fascinating), her sword collects the spirit of everyone it kills giving her the ability to communicate with them.

We’ve only seen Katana in the Suicide Squad movie and its spin-off Birds of Prey, so I hope we get to see more of her in the future.

11. Wasp

We haven’t had the privilege to really dive into the back story of the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne in the MCU movies yet. However, we did get to know her daughter, Hope Van Dyne in the movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp, who eventually took her place as the tiny yet deadly female superhero character.

In the Marvel comics, Janet was a significant character – the very first female Avenger and someone who founded and named the group. Hope, meanwhile, took the persona and defined it in her own way, becoming a fearless, modern version of the Wasp.

10. Monica Rambeau

The Scarlett Witch wasn’t the only strong female superhero we’ve seen in the Disney + Wanda Vision series. We’ve also finally witnessed on screen the origin story of Monica Rambeau, known in many code names such as Photon, Pulsar, and Spectrum.

What’s most fascinating about Rambeau is that her superpowers are made up of pure energy. She can harness deadly powers from Cosmic and Gamma Rays, ultraviolet radiation, electricity, and many more. Let’s just wait and see what’s in store for her character.

9. Catwoman

Perhaps just as iconic as Wonder Woman herself, Catwoman is one of the most popular female superheroes out there. She’s sly, mysterious, and often skirts the lines between villain and superhero – which makes her one of the greatest female superheroes of all time.

Catwoman proves that women can have different sides, but still maintain their strength and character. Known as a master thief, she is cunning and resorts to anything so she can get her way but remains a symbol of hope to those in desperate need. Catwoman is complicated – but strong, and that makes her a great superhero in our eyes!

8. Jean Grey

Jean Grey is arguably the most powerful woman in the X-Men universe. Not only is she the first mutant superhero, but she’s also an iconic part of the team. You can never imagine an X-Men movie or comic book without Jean Grey.

Aside from her terrifyingly great powers, Jean’s compelling storyline and character development within both the movie and comic book series make her one of the most unforgettable  and greatest female superheroes of all time.

7. Shuri

As the sister of Black Panther, Shuri could easily have been one of those supporting casts that either becomes a comic relief or support the character development of the main hero. However, Letitia Wright was so charismatic in her portrayal of Wakanda’s Princess, that she has become a superhero in the eyes of many Marvel fans.

Shuri is so tech-savvy, that she invents and creates powerful armors and tools for her T’Challa and many other technological revels for Wakanda. But don’t be fooled. Shuri can also handle herself well in a fight,  as we witnessed in her one-on-one scene with Killmonger.

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6. Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff

Scarlet Witch has traditionally been a part of a duo with her twin brother Quicksilver. In the comic books, the magic-wielding brother and sister would appear in the X-Men universe, too.

But more contemporary fans have now come to know Scarlet Witch as the tormented Wanda Maximoff in the Avengers movie franchise. Wanda is one of those superheroes who has been considered a bit unpredictable and volatile at first, but it is in her vulnerability itself that she finally finds her unique capabilities, pushing her further into achieving immense superpowers.

We can’t wait to see what MCU has in store for her!

5. Super Girl

Super Girl is not considered as grounded, calm, and pragmatic as her counterpart, Superman. In fact, she isn’t afraid to be the complete opposite, which makes her an awesome female superhero in our books.

She has a very similar story to Spider-Man. Borne on a dying, alien planet, she was put on a spaceship to live her life on Earth.

Because the Earth is a planet with a younger sun, her alien body adjusted to have superhuman strength, agility, and the ability to fly.

But what makes Super Girl a great and relatable hero is that she can be both emotional and mentally strong, feminine but powerful, and vulnerable but fearless at the same time.

4. Black Widow

If the X-Men has a Jean Grey, then the Avengers has a Black Widow. This assassin-turned-hero is more than just a pretty face with killer fighting skills. Black Widow is the emotional compass and heart of the Avengers, which makes her even more worthy of being in our list of greatest female superheroes.

It is undeniable that Natasha Romanoff can pull her weight amongst other heroes that technically have better powers. Even though she does not have superhuman abilities, she is more than capable of taking down villains in her own epic way.

And while it may be the end of an era without Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, we’re sure we will see more of this character in the future.

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3. Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn is the perfect redemption story. She started as an all-out villain, leading a life of crime alongside her boyfriend, The Joker. However, after years of enduring abuse, she finally left and started a new life, embracing her now anti-hero persona.

Harley Quinn isn’t just powerful because of her undeniable abilities and skills – hand-to-hand combat, enhanced strength and agility, and proficiency in weapons. She’s powerful because of the inner strength she has escaping an abusive past and the confidence to make a meaningful life, defined on her own terms.

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2. Captain Marvel

We wouldn’t dare ignore the most-debated “strongest” Avenger, Captain Marvel now, would we? Carol Danvers wields cosmic powers that are said to even rival Thor’s thunder. And that makes her a shoo-in in our list of greatest female superheroes of all time.

She is so passionate and headstrong, that she could sometimes come out as blunt and uncaring. But that’s borne out of a lifetime training to “control her impulses” by the double-faced Krees.

As a superhero character, Captain Marvel is strong and single-minded in her mission to help others. She is not your typical female superhero in that she doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeves. But in her core, Captain Marvel is compassionate to those who are most vulnerable.

1. Wonder Woman

Undeniably the greatest and most iconic female superhero of all time, we have Diana of Themiscyra as number 1 on this list.

Wonder Woman has, for the last 80 years, inspired us to the best versions of ourselves. That is perhaps why she is one of the most timeless superheroes, regardless of her gender.

Diana is the daughter of Zeus. She can wield many weapons and armor that were made for the gods. Her godlike powers include superhuman strength, durability, speed, and the ability to fly. That, and being trained by the Amazons since childhood, makes her one of the most invulnerable superheroes ever.

But most of all, Wonder Woman represents the best of humanity. She represents kindness, empathy, and reminds us that we can always choose to do what’s right.

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Who’s your favorite female superhero?

All of these superheroes encourage women everywhere that femininity can’t be put in a box. That we can define and shape our own version of what it means to be a strong, independent, and empowered woman.

So who’s your favorite female superhero? Let us know!

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