Think of the word Superhero. Who came to your mind first? Your first thought might have landed on Captain America, Batman, Superman or maybe Spiderman. Don’t get me wrong. These are all great heroes. There is, however, one thing that these characters all have in common. They’re all men. It’s not bad for men to be superheroes, but female heroes are definitely overshadowed by male heroes due to over-sexualization and the fact that most comics are geared towards men. Even powerful and popular female heroes like Batgirl and Supergirl are often overlooked as they are named after male heroes and their powers are always less than those of their male counterparts. Even while I am writing this, my computer’s spelling check recognized “Superman,” but there’s a red line under “Supergirl” right now. There are female heroes, however, who are as good, if not better, than the male heroes who get most of the attention. Without further ado, here are ten female superheroes who should be as popular as Captain America and Batman.
Number Ten: Wasp
Thanks to the movie “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” the Wasp is more popular now, but even in the movie, she wasn’t the main character despite having an amazing and rich backstory. The Wasp is usually Janet van Dyne, but in the movie, the Wasp mantle was handed to Janet’s daughter, Hope. Janet was a founding member of the Avengers and one of the longest acting members. She also acted as a leader of the Avengers for longer than anyone else besides Captain America. Janet and her partner and later husband Hank were the ones who proposed the idea of making a superhero team, and Janet actually came up with the name Avengers. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Janet sacrificed herself to save the world without hesitation. She is often forgotten about, but she is nonetheless a true hero.
Number Nine: Negasonic Teenage Warhead
I don’t know how many of you have seen “Deadpool,” but Negasonic Teenage Warhead is definitely one of my favorite characters. She is sarcastic, surly and probably the most powerful person in the “Deadpool” series. While her ability shown in “Deadpool” is to power high-impact kinetic charges, her powers in the comics also include telepathy and precognitive powers. She’s also the first LGBT character to star in a superhero film that openly features a same-sex couple. While the “Deadpool” movies have made her more popular, she is an amazing character who isn’t often thought about.
Number Eight: Killer Frost
Killer Frost is a little different from the other heroes on this list, mainly because calling her a hero is somewhat of a stretch. Throughout her several incarnations, all linked to Firestorm, Killer Frost is evil. Killer Frost has three main alter egos, Crystal Frost, Louise Lincoln and Caitlin Snow. Most recently, she has been portrayed as Caitlin Snow in “The Flash,” a tv-show in the CW Arrowverse where she started off as a villain but evolved to become a hesitant hero. Her various storylines are all complex. For instance, villains put a hit on Lois Lane and Lincoln, and this adaptation of Killer Frost saved Lane from Solomon Grundy just to try and kill Lane herself. The plan was ultimately foiled, but her stories are still interesting, and they have more depth than people just exchanging punches.
Number Seven: Black Widow
Black Widow is a name that most people now recognize due to her appearance in “The Avengers.” She, like Killer Frost, didn’t necessarily start off as a hero. While her backstory varies from universe to universe, she was always trained as an assassin in Russia. She was created to be a super soldier without having the serum that was used on Captain America or Bucky Barnes. While she had been enhanced with biotechnology, which makes her age slowly, and heals faster than other humans, she’s naturally agile and smart. She can mask her emotions and is a world class athlete, gymnast, acrobat and martial arts expert. Although she’s often thought of as merely a diversity factor in the Avengers, she’s more skilled than most of the Avengers.
Number Six: Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch has two main backstories. The first is that she and her twin brother Quicksilver are the children of Magneto. The other is that Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were kidnapped and turned into test subjects of genetic experiments, which gave them their powers. Regardless of her backstory, Scarlet Witch, Wanda Maximoff, is one of the most powerful heroes in the MCU. She’s so powerful, in fact, that there is no real limit on her powers. In one universe, her powers were the ability to manipulate chaos magic. In another timeline, her powers are reality warping. Either way, her powers are stronger than those of any other hero.
Number Five: Wonder Woman
If you want to talk about someone powerful, Wonder Woman should definitely receive the spotlight. She’s not just a hero. She’s actually a demigod as she’s the daughter of Zeus and Queen Hippolyta on the island of Themyscira. She is one of the Amazons, a race of incredible warrior women. She was created during World War II to initially fight the Axis military forces along with a bunch of other supervillains. Wonder Woman was amazing as a character, but she was also amazing as a symbol in the real world. When she was first created, she was shown rescuing herself from bondage in her stories and breaking the damsel in distress stereotype which most superhero stories had.
Number Four: Batgirl/Oracle
Barbara Gordon is someone who deserves to be known for her incredible character arc. She isn’t the strongest character unlike Wonder Woman or Scarlet Witch. In fact, she doesn’t have any powers. For a while, she was Batgirl. A vigilante fighting besides Batman at night while being Commissioner James Gordon’s daughter in the daytime. She was a teenager who was still in school while being an amazing crime fighter. Later in her storyline, however, the Joker shot her in the back to get to her father, and she was paralyzed from the waist down. For most people, that would end their lives. For most nineteen-year-olds who were illegally fighting crime, they would definitely stop fighting and start reconsidering their life choices. Barbara, however, continued aiding Batman and his allies by becoming Oracle, a hacker and hero who saved Batman’s life more times than I can count.
Number Three: Captain Marvel
Most people know Captain Marvel because of her new movie (10/10, would recommend. Check out my review here). She’s powerful. Besides the movie, Carol Danvers was always trying to break boundaries. She was originally called Ms. Marvel, which was progressive as she wasn’t “Mrs.,” and she fought for equal pay for equal work as her alter ego. She’s originally human, although an accident causes the Kree, an alien race, to take her and make her believe that she is one of them. She was given superhuman strength, endurance, stamina, physical durability, a “seventh sense” and a physiology that allows her to resist most toxins and poisons. She also has photon blasts, which let her to tap the energy of a “white hole,” allowing full control and manipulation of stellar energies. She proves in her movie that she doesn’t need to prove anything.
Number Two: Gamora
Gamora was the adopted daughter of Thanos and the last of her species. She has superhuman strength, agility and an accelerated healing factor. Besides that, she was raised to be an incredible assassin and also the most powerful member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Theoretically, Gamora should definitely be captain and the main character, but as superheroes are stereotypically meant for men, she can’t be in charge. Thanos treated her terribly throughout her childhood, but she was still loyal to him as she promised revenge on the people who killed her family. She is called “the deadliest woman in the whole galaxy.” She’s extremely powerful and is often undermined due to the overwhelming amount of testosterone that surrounds her.
Number One: Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel is more familiar to the Holton community than the other female characters due to her part in the “Marvel One Acts” we put on. She, however, is more than just a teenage hero like Spiderman. She is a statement. She is an American Muslim from Jersey City. She was nerdy, Tumblr-reading, fan fiction-writing and bubbly — a breath of fresh air. More than just being a hero and motivation for the newer generation to show that they don’t have to be perfect to be a hero, she is someone who breaks walls through gender, age, religion and race. She is more meaningful to some than most people can comprehend, and she is the hero the world needs right now.
These ten heroes are only a handful of female superheroes who should be well-known and popular. If you want to know more, definitely check out other superheroes who are more powerful than most people know. All of these characters have amazing stories and powers, and many are unknown because society often needs the big, strong man to save the day. Well, all the women on this list could take down every popular male superhero in a heartbeat.