With Avengers: Endgame still filling cinemas, we've got comic book fever.
Played by Alicia Silverstone in the (pretty awful) 1997 film Batman and Robin, Batgirl is actually Bruce Wayne’s butler’s niece. Disgusted that Alfred is a servant to a billionaire, she rocks up to Gotham to help her uncle but instead finds out that the clever old codger has plans to initiate her into the Bat family. She’s not the most popular of DC characters, but she did defeat Poison Ivy because she was immune to her charms, unlike the lads. Alicia has recently said she experienced lots of body shaming from fans after the movie. How ridiculous!
Around since the 60s in comic book world, Jean was made famous in the movies by Famke Janssen in X-Men (and is since portrayed by Sophie Turner in the prequels). Jean is a mutant, with telepathic and telekinetic powers. She’s also something of a Phoenix, meaning she’s died and been reborn a few times – Turner will play the eponymous Dark Phoenix in the movie coming this year. She’s a baddie and a goodie, and she’s definitely a sex symbol both to audience members and her fellow X-fellas.
A modern gal, Harley originated in the DC comics in the 1990s. She’s a highly intelligent psychiatrist who just happens to fall wildly in love with the psychopathic Joker while treating him in Gotham’s Arkham Asylum, and becomes his accomplice who helps him to escape and wreak havoc. Played by Margot Robbie in Suicide Squad to great acclaim, she’s reprising the role in the upcoming Birds Of Prey, and while she’s not supernatural, she’s a big fan favourite.
Portrayed by Rebecca Romjin and Jennifer Lawrence on screen, Mystique is something of a good girl gone bad – a shape shifter who initially is close to Professor X, but whom chooses to follow Magneto down a darker path. Her ability to perfectly mimic other people’s looks and voices makes her extremely powerful. J Law will play her once more in Dark Phoenix.
This inclusion caused some consternation – is Buffy a superhero? Well, it depends on your definition, really. The gal is a literal vampire slayer, with powers that originate from an actual demon. So I’d say yes. Plus culturally, the 90s show starring Sarah Michelle Gellar was the first time little girls saw a woman kicking butt relentlessly on telly without having to be super sexy as well (70s Wonder Woman, we’re looking at you.)
In the comics, Valkyrie is more of a love interest for or and his big hammer, but in Thor: Ragnarok, the decision was made to have her as more of a nuisance turned ally. Tessa Thompson’s tough portrayal of the former Asgardian warrior really resonated with fans, with the actress even stating that the character bisexual and inspired in part by Terminator’s Sarah Connors. She’s back in Endgame, TG.
A funny one in the MCU, Gamora is actually the adopted daughter of super-nemesis Thanos who found her as a child and decided to weaponise her thanks to her very particular set of skills. She’s tough as nails, with superhuman strength and healing powers, plus she’s green, she’s mean and she doesn’t take any shit. Fierce!
The star of the 21st film in the Marvel Comic Universe, Captain Marvel AKA Carol Danvers is portrayed by Oscar-winner Brie Larson. The character is basically a hybrid of the original male alien Captain Marvel and a female fighter pilot. Their DNA is fused (hey, comics) and she becomes superhuman with the ability to fly and the compulsion to expose injustice and fraud. While the Avengers protect the Earth from intergalactic doom, Carol takes care of the wider universe, cos she’s powerful like that.
Making her first appearance in Marvel Comics in 1964, Natasha Romano AKA Black Widow is perhaps more recognisable these days for being played by Scarlett Johansson in the Avengers movies. Due to get her own flick next year, she’s a Russian spy turned American intelligence agent who doesn’t exactly have superpowers, but is an expert martial artist and acrobat as well as an assassin, and pretty much the Avengers OG gal.
Around since the 1940s, a standalone movie about Amazon princess Diana was in development from 1996, but languished in limbo until it was finally made in 2017. Most were familiar with the 1970s version of the character portrayed by Lynda Carter on TV, but Gal Gadot made the role her own in Patty Jenkins seminal film. One of the Justice League alongside Batman and Aquaman, Wonder Woman’s popularity was so great that she’s getting her very own sequel next year. Go on, ya good thing!
She’s been portrayed by Anne Hathaway and er, Halle Berry, but the Catwoman we’ll always think of is Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns. What kind of woman gets pushed out a window, presumed dead, only to be revived by what can only be described as a pack of feral bin cats, and then goes home and makes the sexiest PVC outfit ever seen on her sewing machine and chooses to use her newfound agility to fight crime? Only the best kind, I say.
Part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but not the Avengers films, Jessica is actually an ex-superhero when we meet her in Netflix’s eponymous series. She’s suffering from PTSD after her mind-controlling ex Kilgrave literally messed with her head, but she’s still got superhuman strength and a natural curiosity about good and evil. So what’s a gal hungry for the truth to do? Start her own detective agency, sure!
The princess of Wakanda is one of the latest additions to the superhero landscape. Created in 2005 and part of the Marvel Comic Universe, she’s Black Panther’s sister and his understudy and successor. A technological genius, she’s created many of Black Panther’s impressive gadgets and gizmos.
Another Batman gal that’s bespectacled, smart and a tad nerdy before her reinvention, Ivy is created when a dastardly man steals her scientific experiments for his own gain, and tries to kill her with her own chemicals. Unfortunately for him, the combination instead creates a powerful villainess with a venomous kiss – and she’s hell bent on claiming the earth back for flora everywhere.
Portrayed by Halle Berry in the X-Men movies, Storm was the first black female superhero in comic book history. Descended from a long line of African witch-priestesses, Storm is a mutant with the ability to control the weather and atmosphere. Recruited by Professor Xavier to fight for equal rights for mutants and humans, she’s one of the most important gals in the series, alongside Jean, Rogue and Mystique.