Comic books are at an all-time high in terms of popularity. They have transcended the current generation like nothing before them and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Of all the areas of comic books, none may have had as much growth as female superheroes. Just look at the last five years in cinema: Black Widow, Gamora, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Nebula, Scarlet Witch, and so many more.
For the last 70 years, male superheroes have gotten all the praise. Batman, Superman, Wolverine, and Captain America. Thankfully, it looks like female superheroes are taking their rightful spot atop the comic book mountain. Their meteoric rise begs the question, who are the greatest female superheroes in the history of comic books? Of all of them, who stands head and shoulders above the rest?
Despite sharing a superhero alias with Peter Parker and plenty of other Spider-People, Jessica Drew has quite a different origin story and history longer than most. Over time she has been a part of some of the most popular Marvel teams and left quite a legacy.
Raven is at the top of plenty of “best” lists in DC comics. She is among the most popular female superheroes, one of the most powerful superheroes, and likewise one of the most debilitating magic users overall. Raven has a tragic history due to her connection with Trigon. Most famous for her association with Teen Titans, Raven chooses the path of light for the most part despite her connection with demonic nature.
18. Monica Rambeau aka Photon
Monica Rambeau is known as the first female Captain Marvel. She changed numerous superhero nicknames, until she settled on the latest, Photon. She really made history when she replaced Mar-Vell, and has an excellent set of fascinating superpowers to boast. With her inclusion in the MCU, she’s bound to get even more popular.
Every king needs his queen, and this is why Aquaman has Mera. Before she even got involved with Aquaman, Mera was a princess in her own right, and her path to courage was more tragic than that of most superheroines on this list. Just like Curry, Mera is extremely powerful and has domain over water. At one point, Mera likewise proved herself to be a talented enough leader that she even led Atlantis.
Shuri rose to prominence in recent times due to her inclusion in the MCU’s ‘Black Panther’ franchise, but in the comics, she was already famous for carrying the mantle of Black Panther long before her cinematic experiences. Shuri is the princess of Wakanda; she is a genius, superhero and can do everything her brother can, and more.
15. Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch was never merely a superhero, as she often appeared in the role of a villain as well. Still, the fact remains that she is among the most famous female magic users in Marvel Comic Universe. Much of her popularity stems from the fact that she is such a divisive yet powerful character, and she also took place in some of the most fascinating mutants stories over the years.
14. Black Canary
Black Canary has a long history of existence. She appeared back in the Golden Age, and since then, the character has had many versions but still remained popular. Black Canary also appeared in the Arrowverse, ‘Birds of Prey’ and numerous other derivative media, which further testifies how iconic she is.
Like her more famous cousin, She-Hulk kicks serious ass. She is among the physically strongest females in comics and has a successful attorney career to boot. Her journey started with an accident, but down the line, she successfully managed to balance her super-hero status and her professional life.
12. Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones is not only a popular female superhero, but she is also likewise among the most grounded superheroes in comics in general. Jessica Jones faces both superhero threats and regular human threats on a daily basis. She is first and foremost a human and a superhero second.
Jessica Jones taught an entire generation that it’s okay to be a female superhero without being unbreakable and all-powerful.
11. Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel was always famous in the comic community, but it wasn’t until her recent introduction to the MCU that she became a global phenomenon. There are plenty of divided opinions when it comes to the movie and the character itself; however, the fact remains Captain Marvel made an impact.
Kate Kane, Batwoman, is one of the most strong-willed characters in comics. There may be none better when it comes to standing for what she believes in, her convictions, and the protection of others. And it’s precisely this combination that makes her a lock for this list.
Batwoman has become a symbol for anybody who has ever been told that they can’t, shouldn’t, or otherwise. Each and every day, she shows the world that it’s ok to be who you were born to be. She is a trailblazer, and because of her efforts, doors that were previously locked tight have opened up.
Debuting in 1964, Zatanna has rocketed into becoming one of the most recognizable and loved characters in comics. She is one of the most powerful sorceresses in DC, and as such, she can stand up to just about anyone. Her character is so popular that it’s a wonder why DC hasn’t capitalized on her success. Not only could she carry a movie, but is there a better way, outside of Justice League Dark, to introduce the supernatural side of DC?
I can’t see one. DC should take a page from Marvel. If they made Dr. Strange work in film, there’s no reason that DC can’t make Zatanna work.
8. Black Widow
Black Widow got a huge surge in popularity with her many appearances in the MCU. That’s not to say her popularity wasn’t t warranted. It’s quite the opposite.
Black Widow helped pave the way for a new generation of female superheroes. She’s as deadly as she is beautiful and, through extensive training, is one of the foremost assassins in all of comics.
Black Widow is one of the best female superheroes because she needs to be. No, scratch that. Black Widow is one of the best female superheroes because she has inspired girls worldwide to want and do more.
Spoiler alert…as you’ll see, Jean Grey is the most important female member of the X-Men. But don’t discount Storm. She’s a very close second. What separates Storm from many on this list is that her morals and convictions cannot be swayed. Like Charles Xavier, she believes that humans and mutants can live in harmony. As such, she spends her life fighting for her beliefs.
Storm is a mutant whose powers allow her absolute control over the weather. She can make it snow one minute and have a tsunami crush a city the next minute. The only thing holding her back from placing higher on this list is Marvel’s apprehension in showing how powerful she is in their movies.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: flight, super strength, energy absorption, invulnerability, superhuman stamina, super breath, heightened durability, super speed, super hearing, heat vision, and x-ray vision.
If you think I’m talking about Superman, you probably missed the focus of this list. I’m talking about Supergirl.
Supergirl is the cousin of Superman, who also hails from Krypton. As a descendant of Krypton, she possesses all of the same powers and abilities as her famous cousin.
Supergirl is one of the best female superheroes, not because she’s incredibly powerful. Instead, remembering Crisis on Infinite Earths, Supergirl is one of the best female superheroes because she’s willing to and has sacrificed herself for the greater good.
5. Jean Grey
Jean Grey is the First Lady of the X-Men. Although her history is long and convoluted, she is one of, if not the best woman to ever join the X-Men. She’s so important that it picked Jean Grey when the Phoenix Force was looking to bond with a host.
Jean Grey is one of the foremost telepaths in not just Marvel comics but all comics. She’s capable of making you change your mind whether you want to or not, lifting and moving objects without so much as blinking, and so much more.
Jean Grey is so important that most X-Men stories surrounded her for the better part of a decade.
4. Barbara Gordon
Barbara Gordon has one of the most violent pasts in all of comics. The once (and now again) Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, was brutally assaulted and left for dead by the Joker. As a result of the attack, she was paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.
Something like this would crush most people…not Barbara, though.
Instead of allowing her defeat to dictate how her life would play out, she used it as motivation to do more. As Oracle, Barbara Gordon became the watchful eye and guided superheroes all over. And with her by their side, the streets were never safer.
If you’re wondering why Catwoman is on this list, allow me a moment to explain.
If this doesn’t convince you, think about this. Bruce Wayne proposed to her. Bruce Wayne! If Batman sees how much of a hero she is, shouldn’t we all?
2. Invisible Woman
Of all the female superheroes in Marvel, none are more important than Invisible Woman.
And why? She is the glue that holds the Fantastic Four together. She is the Human Torch’s sister, Mr. Fantastic’s wife, and The Thing’s friend. She’s so important to the team that the Fantastic Four practically fell apart when she left during the Civil War conflict.
But that’s not all. Her early depiction saw her as nothing more than a crutch to the team. Her powers were written as basically useless. Over the years, however, this has changed, and she’s now, at least in my mind, the most powerful member to have ever been part of the Fantastic Four.
1. Wonder Woman
If you’re surprised by her inclusion, you probably don’t know much about comics.
Wonder Woman is the most important female superhero to have ever been created. To say that she laid the groundwork for all female superheroes wouldn’t be giving her enough credit. Wonder Woman is to female superheroes what Superman is to male superheroes…the actual definition. She’s powerful beyond measure, a genuine leader, and, more than both of those combined, extremely intelligent.
There’s no better candidate to appear as number one on this list.
And that’s it. The greatest female superheroes in the history of comic books. What do you think? Who would make your list?