Though she has blown our minds more than once on the silver screen, Wonder Woman ain’t all we’ve got. There are so many powerful DC women that have taken the reigns of fighting against evil alongside their male counterparts, be it Hawkgirl, one of the original seven members of the Justice League, or Black Canary, a member of the Justice Society of America, whose daughter Dinah Lance took the name nom de plume as a member of the Justice League of America, and flew with the Birds of Prey along with her teammates, The Oracle (Barbara Gordon, formerly Batgirl) and later the Huntress and Lady Blackhawk.
These DC Bombshells have made a name for themselves in their respective fields of crime solving and kicking ass, working alongside some of the greatest heroes to fight all threats to the populace from gangsters to full on Apokaliptic (see what I did there) invasion of Darkseid. Beyond Catwoman’s capers and Poison Ivy’s eco-terrorism, there are superpowered women (or super powerful women – the superpowers are optional) scattered all across the universe, from one end to the other, such as Big Barda, one of Darkseid’s Furies before she was able to free her mind and escaped to another planet, or Katma Tui, a member of the Green Lantern Corps, originally from the same Space Sector as creator of the Yellow Lantern Corps, Sinestro.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”
Without further ado, here are a few women in DC who really showed their strength when they were in some hot water:
1. Power Girl
Power Girl was created as an alternate universe (Earth 2) Supergirl, whose name was Kara Zor-El, child of the brother of the infamous Jor-El, father of Superman, though in the New Earth story-line following the convergence created by Crisis on Infinite Earths, she has been considered granddaughter of Atlantean sorcerer Arion. There have been numerous incarnations of her but in essence, she is a strong, powerful, and constantly ready for battle Kryptonian, and her DNA is ever present in her actions. Power Girl has been seen in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009), in which she plays one of the few superheroes that has chosen to work with the government and not as an independent unit, despite, to Superman’s absolute disgust, that government being one run by Lex Luthor. Coincidentally, she is voiced by Allison Mack, who also plays Chloe Sullivan, a major character in Smallville, a show about Superman in his teenage years.
A reference to Power Girl can also be seen in Justice League: Unlimited (2004-2006), in the form of Galatea, a clone of Supergirl created by Cadmus as a weapon, super-charged, super-grown and super-trained by her government-funded foster family. In Superman/Batman: Apocalypse as well, which follows a story of Supergirl, many similarities can be seen between this Supergirl and Power Girl, from the suspended animation that resulted in Kara remaining the same age for decades in a spaceship hidden below the surface, to her close familial and almost fatherly relationship with Superman, who at this point is in his late 30’s, as it was believed that in Earth 2, Power Girl, Kara Zor-El, was practically adopted by Clark Kent and Lois Lane-Kent. Familial relationships aside, Power Girl (and Supergirl, if I’m being fair) has earned her place amongst the DC Babes of Awesomeness in my book.
Vixen is the bomb-diggity. This ultra super-babe is fashion model by day, (according to Justice League: The Animated Series (2002-2004)) and a superhero by night. After escaping from Africa, and assuming a new identity, Mari McCabe eventually found herself in possession of this incredibly powerful magical item called the Tantu Totem, lifted from the legends of her home country of Zambesi in Africa, an item that essentially allows her to wield the individual powers demonstrated by the entirety and individuality of the animal kingdom. “Did you know an ant can lift ten times its own weight?”, she asks victoriously as she picks up an angry, sentient (and kind of nose-rubbing) gorilla and throws him across the yard. Be it the wings of a hawk or the speed of a cheetah, this Vixen has got it all.
She had a brief stint with the Suicide Squad during which she encountered a failed romance with the anti-hero Bronze Tiger. She has also been depicted as having a relationship with Green Lantern John Stewart (in Justice League: The Animated Series (2002-2004)) and B’wana Beast in Batman: The Brave and The Bold (2008-2011). Regardless of her relationships, Mari finds herself in a constant battle against the beasts within, desperately trying to fight back the sheer animal instinct constantly pumping through her veins, regardless of the Totem. You can take the girl out of Africa and onto a fashion runway and into the Justice League. But you damn sure can’t take Africa out of the girl.
Ah, Raven. So Raven be my girl. She takes superpowers to a whole new extreme. A lot of people might know her for her role in the Teen Titans (2003-2006), but for those who did not watch it obsessively like me, here’s some context. She is the typical dark and edgy goth teenager, all about how life is nothingness and misery, and “oh my god I just want to read my books, why doesn’t anyone understand me!”. But in fairness to her, her mother was originally a part of a very messed up cult that believed in the rise of the Demon God Trigon. You may have heard his name if you read one of my previous articles. If not. He is bad news. He is the DC equivalent of the Devil, or would be at least, had Lucifer Morningstar not been integrated into the DC Universe (YES DC and Vertigo have combined, it has happened, I am so excited to see way more combinations of Swamp Thing and Batman).
So as Raven herself explained it in Justice League Vs Teen Titans (2016), mummy dearest, without fully knowing what the cult was, agreed to be a physical “sacrifice” to their “God”. The result of that particular union was Raven. She spent most of her years growing up on a distant planet known as Azarath, and after discovering her true origins, worked especially hard not to channel dark magic and to use her powers in a trained and controlled manner. To me, as Robin had put it in the show, she is what true belief in hope looked like. She was created by her father (through her mother, unknowingly), to be a beacon for Trigon to come to Earth and take over the planet for himself. But she spent her entire life making sure he couldn’t control her. And though she knew in her heart of hearts the inevitability of her destiny, she still fought to show her father and herself that a power such as hers, truly stands strongest in the eye of the beholder. The battle is never over as long as you don’t give up. And she never ever did. That is so Raven. She was a member of the Teen Titans well into the years when they dropped the “teen” part of their name. Then she got super hot and changed her costume from black to white. Color changes are how the DC kids break out.
4. Red Claw
Red Claw is a ruthless international terrorist trained in multiple forms of martial arts and with loyal henchmen in every country. A villain created for Batman: The Animated Series, she makes her debut performance alongside Catwoman, in the two-part episode “The Cat and the Claw”. As Batman discovers the newest cat burglar of Gotham City is a woman, Bruce Wayne finds himself in the company of a very sexy Selina Kyle who is at odds with a company called Multigon International, because they had bought out from under her, a large piece of land that was mountain lion territory and intended to turn into a resort, or so they claimed. Multigon was purchasing the land for Red Claw who then stole a military-protected bio-weapon, a plague, which was being transported to a safe location through Gotham.
The plague was capable of killing indiscriminately anything within a ten-mile radius, “the ultimate equalizer”, she called it, just before climbing into a helicopter and leaving Batman to accept his defeat. Batman teams up with Catwoman to stop Red Claw who was holding the city hostage for a ransom of 10 billion in gold bullion but they were again caught and left to die with the plague. Red Claw makes her next appearance in “The Lion and the Unicorn”, in which we also see a little history behind Alfred. The story begins with Alfred being called back to England for help by an old friend of his but instead is kidnapped by Red Claw and her cronies, who intend to use him to gain access to missile launch codes so she can destroy the city of London. Even though we know the Dark Knight always wins, Red Claw was one of the few villains that kept him on his toes.
This is one super-babe that has made multiple appearances in the on-screen DC Universe, from her recent role beside John Constantine in DCAU’s Justice League Dark (2017), to her live-action depiction in the 8th season of Smallville (2001-2011). Zatanna Zatara is the daughter of legendary magician Giovanni “John” Zatara, who was a member of the Justice League, and one of the numerous instructors of Batman in the art of deception and escape artistry. Though she didn’t quite have the same strict hero-based upbringing of the Teen Titans, her father taught her not just how to use her powers but the need to use them to fight for justice and in the pursuit of helping others. Having trained her entire left in the mystic arts, her trademark move is her backward spells, which, as the name suggests is when she speaks the words of her incantations backward, such as “Etativel”, which is used to levitate herself, objects, other people, etc., and “Ekoms dna srorrim!”, translating to “smoke and mirrors”, which creates a smoke to obscure the surrounding area.
She made an appearance as a recurring character in Young Justice (2013), as well as shared a spark with the Caped Crusader of Gotham City in Batman: The Animated Series (1995-1997). It was alluded to that she has had a romantic relationship in the past with John Constantine, a professional exorcist, and colleague in the world of mystical crime-fighting, in Justice League Dark (2017), and with Dick Grayson (Robin) in Young Justice (2013). She plays a pivotal role in Identity Crisis Issue #20-27, that also showed what an important part of the Justice League Zatanna really was. Having her powers based deeply in the study of magic, she is amongst the more powerful of the JLA Members. Magic being one of his vulnerabilities, this knockout in a top hat could actually go toe to toe with the Man of Steel, for a short while at least.
6. Fire and Ice
Good things always come in two’s and these beauties from the Justice League International are no different. Beatriz Da Costa from Brazil was a show-girl and stage performer before becoming an undercover agent. An accident that occurred on one of her missions that turned her into the pyrokinetic super powered babe who assumed the identity Green Fury, and then Green Flame. Tora Olafsdotter is a princess of an Icelandic isolated tribe of magic-wielding Norsemen, and was naturally gifted with the power to create, control and manipulate ice. She joined the Global Guardians and replaced her Norwegian predecessor and took on her name, Icemaiden. It didn’t take long for these two gorgeous super-gals to become friends, especially with their differing personalities. Together, they became the volatile combination of Fire and Ice. These members of the Justice League International have made hundreds of appearances in the comic books, as well as a few appearances in the DCAU, including in Justice League Unlimited (2004-2006), and Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008-2011).
7. Mary Marvel
Mary Marvel is the sister of Billy Batson, A.K.A Captain Marvel, A.K.A Shazam (due to some fairly obvious conflict of names). Twin sister actually. Billy Batson was an orphan who was separated from his twin sister, Mary, after the death of his mother when they were infants. Mary Marvel was adopted by the Bromfields before later being reunited with her brother. Soon after rejoining each other, Billy took their familial bonds to another level and convinced the wizard Shazam to grant her the same powers granted to him. In The Power of Shazam! series, her name was changed to Captain Marvel because the creators believed Mary Marvel to be a somewhat absurd moniker for a superhero, though her costume remained the same as that of Mary Marvel from the original Fawcett publication series. In Final Crisis, Mary Marvel shows her full strength as one of Darkseid’s Furies in his invasion of Earth. She has even consumed the full powers of Black Adam, the original champion of the wizard Shazam who turned to evil.
8. Morgaine Le Fey
Morgaine Le Fay, also knows as Morgana, was the half-sister of King Arthur, and a student of the wizard Merlin. She is a well-trained Homo Magi, one amongst a sub-race of persons granted with magic-wielding abilities from birth. Her ultimate goal was to try and bring down her half-brother, the king, and rule Camelot. Often her powers were unstoppable, even by the wizard Merlin, himself. The pupil surpassed the Master, and she even found the path to immortality, though often at great cost to her strength. According to the DCAU, during one of her attempts to bring down King Arthur, she tricked a knight named Jason Blood into granting her and her army entrance into Camelot only to then turn on him and poison him. As a punishment for his betrayal of Camelot and for the evil he had unleashed onto the kingdom, Merlin merged his mind, body, and soul with Etrigan the Demon. The union granted Jason Blood eternity, and on reciting an enchantment would turn into the demon Etrigan. Morgaine Le Fay has been pursued relentlessly by Etrigan over the centuries, even until the present day Justice League attempted to foil her plans to gain unimaginable power and rule. In Justice League (2002-2004), “Knight of Shadows”. the JLA and Etrigan work together to track Morgaine Le Fay and her son Mordred. There is, in fact, a similar Arthurian character in Marvel Publications, named Morgan Le Faye.
9. Queen Mera
Here’s the story of the woman behind the man. Before becoming the wife of Aquaman (AKA Arthur Curry), Queen of Atlantis, and Aquawoman, Mera was royalty in her own right. Coming from an alternate alien dimension, known as Dimension Aqua, her parents were the King and Queen of the kingdom they entitled Xebel. Though there are some minute differences in her origin story following Rebirth, and Crisis on Infinite Earths in the New 52 series launched, this fiery femme fatale of the underwater world was Princess of the kingdom of Xebel, and at some point Queen of the Dimension Aqua. She is a fierce warrior, with a short fuse and a long history of study in the mystic arts, the very same arts that allow Atlantis to remain in its perch under the sea, as well as those that may have been used, or so it was implied, to banish Xebel to an alternate dimension. Though the Mera we know and love has always been and will always be loyal to her husband, there have been times when she has left him, even attacked him and chastised him for his failures and lack of strength. Especially when it came to any harm that may be afflicted on her child. Added to her list of titles is also devoted mother. It is her devotion to both her child and the people of Atlantis that allow Aquaman to enjoy his outrageous escapades with fellow Justice League members, knowing that his family and his kingdom are save in the hands of his more-than-qualified otherworldly wife.
10. Phantom Lady
This is one bombshell that has made multiple appearances under many different names in the DC Universe from as early as 1941, where original Phantom Lady Sandra Knight made her first appearance, until the more recent post-Crisis Earth Prime, in which Jennifer Knight (no relation to Sandra), using a super-suit designed by Dane Maxwell (alias Dollman) to become intangible, and manipulate silhouettes and shadows, takes on the mantle of Phantom Lady to avenge her parents murder. While Sandra Knight was the earliest Phantom Lady, relying only on her wits and her appearance to combat villains, the character developed over time, later being taken over by Delilah “Dee” Tyler, who used technology to control the spectrum of light, and, much like her predecessor (who also trained her), a scantily clad costume to distract the bad guys before taking them down. She was also well trained in the art of French kickboxing. Tyler was then replaced by Stormy Knight (again, no relation to Sandra), whose father was a politician, just like Dee Tyler. Stormy was well trained in hand-to-hand combat, and thanks to her father, had the necessary resources for a life of super-hero crime fighting. All four of these Phantom Ladies have been members of the Freedom Fighters, a government-recruited team of Superheroes, led by the very patriotic Uncle Sam. Fellow members also included Dollman, the Ray, and Black Condor.