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Comics 411: Favorite Female Supervillains

September 23, 2020 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Favorite Female Supervillains

Welcome back! I’m Steve Gustafson and if you enjoy discussing anything comic book related, you’ve come to the right place. Each week we cover something in the industry and I always enjoy your input in the comment section below.

Previously on…

Last week we discussed Wolverine’s Deadliest Foes Here’s what some of you had to say:

StinkFinger: “This list is about Wolverine’s deadliest foes. Not rivals. Not enemies. Foes. And while there is no question Magneto owns him physically, I think his all-time deadliest foe would be Mysterio. Dude absolutely destroyed him mentally and emotionally, more than anyone ever has, which in turn caused the Wolverine to die, leaving us with Old Man Logan.”

Benjamin Kellog: “If I may be a bit meta with my response, I’d say Wolverine’s deadliest foe has been overexposure. Too many appearances in too many titles at once, until we’ve gotten to the point that it’s hard to tell who he really is anymore. He’s an X-Man, an Avenger, a teacher/mentor who is on good terms with everyone he lives and works with, a loner who refuses to give anyone even the time of day, a rebel at the first signs of revolution, an establishment figure trying to keep the world together. We know a lot more about his past than we probably ought to, but he’s somehow still an unknown with many layers to unravel. With this much conflicting characterization floating around during any given month, I’m surprised he hasn’t moved to Riverdale and blended in with Archie and the gang as the ultimate creative blank slate.”

John: “I’d rank Magneto as Wolverine’s #1 rival over Sabretooth”

RAWmachine: “Ive always thought the charcters Omega Red and Lady Deathstrike were just ridiculous. Their core idea started out good but their backstory reveal and their growth as characters was just dumb to me.

Ok so on to the front and center subject, Magneto must be not his list. Magneto has thoughout their relationship, Magneto has challenged Wolverine without fear and always hinted what would happen should he choose to end him, thereby ripping the adamantium skeleton from his body. Although a short story, I would like to put Proteus on this list. His power of possessing humans as hosts inflicted on Wolverine only to be saved by his Adamantium skeleton thoroughly had him shaken. I also thought the Mysterio storyline was an emotional challenge as this is really the only way Wolverine shows any weakness. But Sabretooth should always be #1”

Dorath: “Bloodsport/Bloodscream and Roughhouse are often forgotten. But Madripoor “Patch” deserves to be ignored.”

Big thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts!

This week we discuss our…

Favorite Female Supervillains
On my latest podcast I talked about the lack of great female supervillains and even when we do get one they usually end up making them a hero or anti-hero so they can get their own series and squeeze some merchandising dough out of them.

Take Harley Quinn, who 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 was 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 sequel and Birds of Prey. Fun, dangerous, and has a brain for doing bad. Can she still be considered a baddie though?

Along those same lines, Catwoman has 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. where they are kinda currently married…sorta. 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? She’s currently being portrayed as yet another antiheroine but that could change at any time. 

I really think Granny Goodness is a few solid stories away from getting attention but falls through the cracks because she’s more of a trainer and leader of the Female Furies. She’s 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.
The less said about the movie the better.

Few remember that Rogue started off as a baddie but many know the bad deeds Mystique has done. Both are perfect example of what I was saying at the start. 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 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. 

I’m betting that thanks to the next Wonder Woman, Cheetah is about to get a boost in popularity. 

I’m leaving plenty of room for you to put your stamp on things. Who did I miss? Star Sapphire? Enchantress? Lady Deathstrike? Hela? Typhoid Mary? 

That’s all the time I have. See you next week!