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Comics 411: The Best Female Supervillains

August 15, 2018 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Harley Quinn Poison Ivy

I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out 411mania’s Comic Book Review Roundtable, every Thursday! Read up on the best reviews and let us know what you’re reading as well. Click to read the latest Comic Book Review Roundtable! Fantastic Four #1, Deadpool #3, and more!

Now, on with the show!

Last week we discussed Favorite Comic Book Families. Here’s what some of you had to say:

Bop: “I would say the original Guardians (Vance Astro, Martinex, Charlie-27, Yondu and Nikki) were a family.

And I wonder if Bruce Banner and Jennifer Walters are considered family.”

DandySkull: “Mystique’s family is always fun. You’ve got some quality characters in there with Nightcrawler, Destiny, Rogue (& Gambit) and she’s got some good ties to a bunch of other characters. Too bad they couldn’t pull the trigger on what Claremont wanted for Kurt’s father.”

TheAaronscottJ: “I don’t like the F4. They’re based on the nuclear family of the 50’s and really don’t apply to 2018, which is obvious as they don’t translate to the screen. It isn’t the writing. It’s the concept.

For a real family, you want the X-Men. They aren’t related, but Charles Xavier has raised them all as virtual orphans to rely on each other. They’re diverse and fight but always support each other. Against and for the world, there’s a common bond they all share.”

El Atomico: “What about Odin, Thor, and Loki?”

rf: “I could recommend the 1st 3 series of Noble Causes, published by Image.”

Acolyte Of Glorious La Parka~: “I can’t decide whether the Summers family are the Von Erichs or Harts of Marvel.

(I guess I’ll go with Von Erichs.)”

Jarvin Driftwood: “The Wolverine family with Dog, Daken and then X-23 and the rest of the clones.

I also liked Beak/Blackwing, Tempest, their children and grandson Tito Jr.”

To read last week’s column, CLICK HERE! As always, thanks for the input!

This week we ask…

Best Female Supervillains

In case you weren’t aware, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy have been in a relationship and the popular twosome are making headlines with the news that they are married.

The reveal came in Injustice 2 #70. While Orca and Killer Croc are preparing their own vows to each other, Poison Ivy drops thew news that she and Harley were married in Las Vegas.

With everyone talking about the newlyweds, I thought it was time to once again open things up and shine the spotlight on the female supervillains. Not too surprisingly, there are plenty of great ones to choose from. Let’s start with one of the most popular.

Harley Quinn herself first appeared on Batman: The Animated Series back in 1992. She made her first comic book appearance in The Batman Adventures #12 and has steadily climbed in the eyes of fans. Harley is a frequent accomplice and girlfriend of the Joker, and a close friend of the supervillain Poison Ivy from whom she gained an immunity to poisons and toxins. Harley Quinn’s origin story relates that she met the Joker while working as a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, where the Joker was a patient. Today, Harley stands on her own and has quite a fanbase. She was the main selling point for the Suicide Squad movie and a spin-off in talks. Fun, dangerous, and has a brain for doing bad. Harley’s star is just starting to shine.

When it comes to shining, few shine brighter than Catwoman. She’s been around since 1940 and while she was originally portrayed as a supervillain and adversary of Batman, since the 1990s, she has moved over to being more of an antiheroine rather than a traditional villain. Catwoman is known for having a complex love-hate relationship with Batman and has been Batman’s most enduring love interest. But make no mistake, even when she’s doing good, her true nature is to get what she wants, no matter how. Even with her back and forth leanings, she’s usually front and center in a number of storylines and even after her actions during the Wedding storyline, she is one cat who always seems to end up landing on her feet.

Harley’s better half, Poison Ivy, is one of the world’s most notorious eco-terrorists. She is obsessed with plants, botany, and environmentalism. She uses toxins from plants and mind controlling pheromones for her criminal activities, which are usually aimed at protecting the natural environment. She has proven to be one of Batman’s more powerful foes, as she is one of the few members of the Dark Knight’s Rogues Gallery to display anything close to superpowers and has even been a love interest for Batman in the past. In one story, she was robbing a charity gala Bruce Wayne and Barry Allen were attending. Her first kiss was poison, the second its antidote. When they first meet, her toxic lips planted a seed of toxic rapture in Bruce. But when she later kissed a dying Dark Knight, she unknowingly cured her intended victim and established a budding romantic tension between them. Green thumb jokes, anyone? Lately she’s been playing nice but don’t expect that to last.

Granny Goodness falls through the cracks because while she’s more of a trainer and leader of the Female Furies. She’s more behind the scenes but she’s one that I believe is ripe for bigger things.

Jumping over to Marvel, Dark Phoenix stands out as one of the most powerful and destructive supervillains the X-Men, and the world, has ever faced. When Jean Grey was host to the Phoenix force, it would mark one of the biggest moments in comics history. The Dark Phoenix destroyed an entire solar system and Jean Grey’s sacrificial death is still spoken about today. Dark Phoenix has made appearances since but none have topped her first impression.

Few remember that Rogue started off as a baddie but many know the bad deeds Mystique has done. A dangerous shapeshifter, Mystique has long terrorized the X-Men, solo and with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. You know they’re bad because it says so in their name. She’s the mother of Nightcrawler and the stepmother of Rogue and has played all sides against one another. She plays by her own set of rules and has achieved a solid level of success in the X-Men movies, thanks to Jennifer Lawrence.

Thanks to the X-Men, we also have the Viper or Madame Hydra, if you will. While not as well known as the others, she is portrayed as one of the most powerful women in the Marvel universe and for good reason. She has come into conflict with a number of superheroes and supervillains over the years. Her nihilism and tendency to spread death around her has made it hard for other villains to associate with her. Only the Red Skull has found it a charming and even pursued a relationship with her for a while. Things went sour when the Skull found out Viper was using his resources to finance massacres with no apparent financial benefit for either of them. Keep an eye on this one.

I’m betting that thanks to Wonder Woman 2, Cheetah is about to get a boost in popularity. Ditto for Typhoid Mary, who will be appearing in the next season of Daredevil.

I’m leaving plenty of room for you to put your stamp on things. Who did I miss? Star Sapphire, Enchantress, Lady Deathstrike? Who is the Best Female Supervillain to you?

That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!