Our 15 Favorite Female Superheroes, Ranked
By Meg Downey on
Marvel and DC's greatest ladies, both on and off the page.
There's no objective way to rank superheroes, we know that, but that won't stop us from trying. Using our complicated algorithm (i.e. Meg's completely, unapologetically biased opinions) we've curated a list of our favorite superheroic ladies from Marvel and DC to help fuel the hype train all the way to your local movie theater for Captain Marvel on March 8.
And while we're at it, check our some of our other Captain Marvel coverage as you get ready for release day, where we speculate on whether or not Carol can time travel, just who the hell Talos even is, or what's going on with her comics right now. Or, if you're the sort of person who wants to cut right to the chase, you can swing by our Avengers: Endgame hub to get all the latest on that particular front--don't worry, we're anxious about it too. No one will judge you.
Of course, we know that there are more incredible female superheroes than could ever fit on one list, so we're bound to have missed a couple. Don't see one of your favorite female heroes on the list? Let us know who you think should have made the cut in the comments below!
15. Emma Frost
She may be a divisive figure for X-Men fans, but that doesn't change the fact that Emma Frost is an icon. From her over-the-top fashion to her insanely powerful mutations, Emma is a staple of X-Men comics on par with someone like Wolverine, though she's been in less than half as many live action movies to date. Love her or hate her, Emma is here to stay.
14. Black Canary
Despite her tricky, retcon-ridden history, Dinah Lance is one of DC's major powerhouse heroes. Over the years, creators have found ways to adapt her bizarre, overlapping Gold, Silver and Bronze age stories into fresh, unique takes that allow her to work across multiple mediums simultaneously, from CW TV shows to young adult graphic novels to ongoing comics and beyond. She's been a florist, a vigilante, a rock star, and a team leader but no matter what her current role may be, Black Canary is always one of the coolest ladies around.
13. Jessica Cruz
She may be a very recent addition to the DC pantheon, but Jessica Cruz, the first female Green Lantern from Earth, has rapidly earned her place among the greats. An anxiety ridden agoraphobic who overcame her fear to master her Green Lantern power ring, Jessica's story is a new and fresh twist on a tale that's been told countless times--and her buddy cop dynamic with fellow GL newbie Simon Baz is an absolute delight.
Whether you just met her care of the CW's Elseworlds crossover event or you've been a fan for years, it's not hard to see that Kate Kane is easily one of the coolest bats in Gotham. It takes a lot of guts to go running around outside of the main Bat Family entourage, but playing by her own rules has always been Kate's MO--and she usually finds that the risk is well worth the reward.
11. Captain Marvel
You'd be hard pressed to find a more popular female superhero than Carol Danvers right now--and not just because she's got a highly anticipated movie just around the corner. Captain Marvel has been an icon in the Marvel universe since long before she entered the MCU thanks to her cult classic comics by legendary writer Kelly Sue DeConnick that drove home her heroic motto: higher, further, faster, more.
10. The Wasp
A few woman have held the Wasp mantle across comics and film: Jan and Hope Van Dyne as well as Nadia Pym, and all of them are amazing in their own right. Between Jan's time split between being a founding Avenger and a successful fashion mogul, Hope's ability to constantly reign in Scott Lang, and Nadia's position as an ex-Red Room operative and member of the Champions, they've got this superhero thing covered from just about every angle.
9. Selina Kyle
She may not be a hero in the traditional sense but Selina Kyle doesn't need a stellar track record with the law in Gotham City to be one of the most iconic ladies in comics history. One of the small handful of characters who have been in the world of Batman since his very first solo issue back in 1940, Selina's history as Catwoman has shaped the DC universe we know and love today.
On paper, the idea of Spider-Gwen sounds kind of ridiculous: an alternate reality Gwen Stacy who didn't die but became Spider-Woman, who plays in a band and occasionally hops around dimensions--but when have superhero comics ever been anything but ridiculous? Gwen was amazing when she debuted in her new mantle, but since her starring role in Into The Spider-Verse, she's just gotten better.
In terms of break out stars from the MCU, it's hard to get more iconic than Shuri--but even outside of her stellar live action debut, Shuri has been an incredible hero in her own right. She's even taken over as the Black Panther and Queen of Wakanda in T'Challa's stead.
There have been lot of different Batgirls over the years, but the two we're going to highlight in our list this time around are Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown--don't worry, Barbara Gordon will get her time to shine here in just a second. Cass and Steph may no longer hold this particular mantle--they're currently Orphan and Spoiler, respectively--but that doesn't mean they've had any less of an impact on the DCU. They represent some of the absolute best Gotham City has to offer.
The X-Men have plenty of iconic ladies in their ranks but arguably the most iconic of them all is Ororo Munroe, omega level mutant, once and future queen, occasional goddess--you name it. Storm is one of the most instantly recognizable mutants in the Marvel universe for good reason, and definitely one of the most fashionable. Her mohawk days are still a thing of legend.
We told you Barbara Gordon would get her time to shine. She may not be Oracle anymore, the same way Steph and Cass aren't technically Batgirl, but in her long and impressive career, Babs' time as Oracle is one of her best known and impactful eras. Not only did it wrest a fantastic mantle out of the jaws of a less-than-great turn of events, it established Babs as the very core of the DCU for over a decade.
3. Wonder Woman
Of course Diana is on this list--how could we skip her? From her status as a comic book legend, one of the first female heroes to ever exist, and founding member of the Justice League--not to mention her live action history as the first lady to helm her own feature film in the post-MCU boom, Wonder Woman is easily one of the most widely recognized superheroes--female or otherwise--on the planet.
2. Black Widow
Like Catwoman, Natasha Romanoff may not always have the most stellar track record when it comes to pure black-and-white superheroics, but that's more than okay, all things considered. As the first female hero to be featured in the MCU, and one of the most iconic members of the Avengers--both on and off the big screen--Nat's popularity and notoriety are well earned among comics fans. Also, who doesn't love a good modern twist on a Cold War-era spy character? She's the best parts of the superhero genre and a James Bond movie combined.
1. Kamala Khan
She may not be the oldest or the most prolific hero on this list but Kamala Khan has more than earned the top spot on our list. Not only has she managed to bring in countless numbers of new fans to the Marvel universe with her approachable, easily accessible comics, she's managed to completely revolutionize what it means to be Ms. Marvel. Carol Danvers may have been the original, but Kamala Khan is the heart and soul of the name now, with her bright, hilarious personality and unrelenting passion for her fellow heroes.