For years, cinema and TV shows have been dominated by male superheroes but in recent times, there’s been a shift and female comic characters are finally getting a chance to shine, with the likes of Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel getting their own movies, and Black Widow and Scarlet Witch playing major roles in Marvel blockbusters.
In honour of International Women’s Day, we’re putting the spotlight on five of our favourite female comic characters.
Storm AKA Ororo Munroe is one of the most prominent characters in the X-Men series, having gone beyond the pages of comic books to appear in animated series, video games, and several films. She’s best known as having the ability to control the weather – for example, she can cause it to rain and snow, or form tornadoes -- but there is so much more to her power. She has an incredible level of energy perception and enhanced senses, and she can use her power to simulate flight (via wind) and teleport (through lightning).
Storm has been played by four actresses in the X-Men film franchise; April Elleston-Enahoro (although her scene was cut from X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Elizabeth Wright and, more prominently, by Halle Berry and Alexandra Shipp. However, while she’s appeared in several films, none have truly delved into the character’s background. Storm’s mother, N’Dare, was the princess of a tribe in Kenya and descended from a long line of African witch-priestesses with white hair, blue eyes, and a natural gift for sorcery. N’Dare marries American photojournalist David Munroe and the couple move to Harlem, where Storm is born. The family later move to Egypt but N’Dare and David are killed during the Suez Crisis in a botched aircraft attack, leaving six-year-old Storm as an orphan.
Uncanny X-Men – Issue #102
Uncanny X-Men – Issue #117
Uncanny X-Men – Issue #139
2. Wonder Woman
No powerful female round-up would be complete without this iconic Amazonian warrior. Wonder Woman AKA Diana Prince is a demigoddess from Themyscira and the daughter of the Amazons’ Queen Hippolyta and the Greek Olympian God Zeus. She has incredible strength, speed and durability, and can unleash powerful concussive waves of energy by clashing her trademark bracelets together. Wonder Woman was created during World War II and in the decades since her debut, she has fought alongside Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern as a member of the superhero team, The Justice League, and defeated a cast of enemies, including classic villains like Ares, Cheetah, Doctor Poison, Circe, Doctor Psycho, and more recent baddies such as Veronica Cale and First Born.
On the big screen, she is played by the gorgeous Gal Gadot and first appeared in Zack Snyder’s 2016 flop Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. She then starred in her own solo box office hit Wonder Woman and will return in June 2020 in Wonder Woman 1984.
Wonder Woman Chronicles
Wonder Woman: Blood
Justice League: Origin
3. Jean Grey
Jean Grey is undoubtedly one of the most powerful comic book characters. Her powers are mind-based and first manifested when she saw her childhood friend being hit by a car. She possesses telepathy and telekinesis and although she is an Omega-level mutant, Jean is a caring, nurturing person, and an important figure in the lives of other Marvel characters, namely, her husband Cyclops, her mentor and father figure Charles Xavier, her unrequited love interest Wolverine, her best friend Storm, and her children Rachel, Cable, Stryfe and X-Man. On a ‘normal’ day, Jean can detect and track minds, restore lost memories, control thoughts, create realistic telepathic illusions, and disintegrate objects (and at times, enemies!) but when she unleashes the power of the cosmic Phoenix Force, she is truly devastating, and has the ability to wipe out anything or anyone in her path (she defeated the mighty ancient mutant known as Apocalypse).
In the X-Men film franchise, the character has been played by Haley Ramm (as a child) and more prominently by Famke Janssen and Sophie Turner (at different stages of the character’s adult life and in different timelines). One of Jean’s most iconic storylines, The Dark Phoenix Saga, will be explored in Fox’s upcoming release Dark Phoenix.
Uncanny X-Men – Issue #1
Uncanny X-Men – Issue #101 -- #108
Uncanny X-Men – Issue #129 -- #138
4. Emma Frost
Emma Frost is one powerful lady. She’s a telepath who can use her powers to communicate telepathically with others, create realistic illusions, and fire powerful psionic blasts. She can also assume a diamond form – in this form, she’s incredibly durable, immune to the telepathic and psychic powers of others, and crazy strong.
We only saw this character once on the big screen – played by January Jones in X-Men: First Class – but she’s been making waves in the comic universe for decades.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix Saga – Issue #129, 130, 131
Uncanny X-Men – Issue #151
Uncanny X-Men – Issue #152
5. Misty Knight
Mercedes ‘Misty’ Knight is one comic gal you don’t want to mess with. Misty was an NYPD officer until she lost her right arm preventing a bomb attack. Rather than take a desk job, she resigned from the police force. However, her life away from crime-fighting didn’t last long. Tony Stark AKA Iron Man gave her a super strong bionic arm and soon Misty was teaming up with Spider-Man, Iron Fist, and the X-Men. She teamed up with her friend Colleen Wing in fighting the criminal Emil Vachon and after saving Colleen from an attempted rape, the pair set up a private detective agency, Nightwing Restorations Ltd.
The character is portrayed by the fabulous Simone Missick in the Marvel Cinematic Universe television series Luke Cage, The Defenders, and the second season of Iron Fist. However, these shows have all been cancelled and no plans have been announced to include the character in future productions.