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For every superhero, there is a super villain to counter them. It’s part of the intrinsic formula in almost every comic book. Usually male super villains get the most attention in the comic book world, but today we’re going to take a look at what we consider to be the best, and hottest, female super villains of all time. But we can't just concentrate on their looks. These women are as lethal and powerful as they are hot. If looks could kill, these women would have us stone cold in seconds.
The Cheetah is one of DC’s oldest characters, first debuting in 1943 opposite the incredibly famous Wonder Woman. Most comic book fans would regard her as being the nemesis of Wonder Woman, and what a nemesis she makes. Written by William Moulton Marston, The Cheetah has become known for her femme fatale style of super villainy along with killer moves and a certainly interesting aesthetic style. She quite literally looks like a cheetah.
She’s been around so long, in fact, that she has been through several different reinventions as time has went on. First she was Priscilla Rich in the Golden and Silver Age of comics, then Deborah Domaine in the Bronze Age of comics. This was followed by Barbara Ann Minerva after Crisis on Infinite Earths and remains as The Cheetah to this day. However, somewhat interestingly, The Cheetah mantle has also been taken up by Sebastian Ballesteros who briefly assumed the role in 2001. The gaming and comic book website IGN named Cheetah the 69th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.
Talia Al Ghul
If you’re a Batman fan then you’ll certainly know Talia Al Ghul, but for those who don’t know who she is, let me give you a quick bio. Debuting in 1971 by the pen of Dennis O’Neil and the artwork of Bob Brown, Talia Al Ghul is the daughter to Batman villain (and sometimes friend) Ra’s Al Ghul who is known to be immortal. Talia Al Ghul isn’t as much a super villain as she is an anti-heroine. She has teamed up with Batman every so often, and has even been a romantic interest for much of the comics which has launched some of the most popular comic book storylines of all time, but she has also proved to be the villain.
She is a very popular character, having appeared in over 200 individual comics and featured in many different adaptations of the Batman universe, appearing in The Animated Series, video games and even in the Christopher Nolan helmed The Dark Knight Rises.
Poison Ivy, otherwise known as Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley is a super villain that has been in the Batman lexicon since 1966 and has proved to be one of his most iconic enemies and frequently makes up what has become known as Batman’s Rogues Gallery.
Poison Ivy’s angle on super villainy is usually one that aligns with eco-terrorism and her obsession with botany and plants. Using the toxins from her plants and mind controlling techniques linked with them, she seeks to try and preserve very rare plants. Most of the time she is portrayed to actually be able to talk and listen to plants, feeling their pain. She has proved to be one of the great friends to Harley Quinn and those two have been the main focus of some of the best Batman comics ever made. Although let’s not talk about Poison Ivy’s film appearance. We’ll all be better off that way.
If you thought Poison Ivy was wacky enough with as woman who can control plants then brace yourself, because Enchantress is a full fledged magic user. First appearing in Strange Adventures #187 in April 1966, Enchantress has become another part of Batman’s Rogues Gallery, but stands out particularly due to her alluring costume and her unique abilities.
Enchantress has not received much love in the eyes of the mainstream, however, Cara Delevinge portrays the character in 2016’s Suicide Squad, marking the first major appearance of the character outside of heavily niched comics.
Viper, or as she is sometimes known Madame Hydra, made her first appearance in February 1969 in a Captain America comic under the penmanship of Jim Steranko. Viper is probably the least known super villain out of all highlightde here, but that doesn’t make her any less hot, or badass for that matter.
A frequent foe of both the X-Men and The Avengers, Viper has an enhanced lifespan, is invulnerable to most toxins and poisons and is a master swordswoman. Frequently, she is seen in a Japanese setting, positioning this character apart from the US centric nature of other characters. Viper was also seen in the 2013 film, The Wolverine, but it wasn’t a particularly memorable, or in my opinion faithful adaptation.
Harley Quinn, otherwise known as Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, is one of Batman’s most famous adversaries for many different reasons, but mostly due to her infatuation with The Joker, and the unique comedic role she has carved out for herself in the comic universe. Surprisingly, the character only first appeared in 1992 in Batman: The Animated Series, but she proved to be so popular that she got her own solo line of comics and proved to be a regular confidante to The Joker.
An ally of Poison Ivy, the lover of The Joker and completely a unhinged super villain, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near Harley Quinn, even on a good day. She has appeared in a wide variety of adaptations, such as the Arkham video games. She also has her first onscreen performance at the hand of Margot Robbie in 2016’s Suicide Squad.
Ok, I’ll admit, we’re kind of cheating here. Star Sapphire isn’t really a single character, but rather a vast amount of characters all with the same name. In the DC continuity, the Star Sapphires are a race of warrior women, much like the Amazonians, who use powers similar to that of The Green Lantern. Most of the characters that have borne the name of Star Sapphire have been villainous in nature, and the nature of the ever evolving mantle means that the super villain never gets old.
In the 2000s, the term started to mean the organization called Star Sapphires whose members include the women who previously depicted the character of Star Sapphire in DC titles. Star Sapphire isn’t a clear villain or hero, but they will almost always look out for themselves over others and are never to be trusted.
Perhaps the most famous character out of all highlighted here, Catwoman is a frequent adversary of Batman and she made her debut in Batman #1 in Spring 1940. She has literally been around since the very start of Batman’s comic run, although then she was known as the more colloquial, “The Cat.” She has traditionally been a villain to Batman, however since the 90s she has evolved more into a character like Talia Al Ghul, wherein she is an anti-heroine. Sometimes she will fight on the side of Batman, sometimes against, but almost always in her own self interest. Besides, she has been a lover of Batman which only complicated things further.
She has been portrayed in almost every single medium in which Batman has appeared. In The Animated Series, she was known to be a regular Wild Card. In the Arkham video games she became a surprising fan favorite due to her innovative design and she has had two appearances in Batman films.
Mystique is one of the best X-Men super villains, period. Created by artist David Cockrum and writer Chris Claremont, she first appeared in 1978 in a Ms. Marvel comic, but soon found her place in the X-Men comics. Her ability is a very simple one, but endlessly interesting. Mystique can shape shift into any person she so desires, mimicking their appearance and voice with undetectable precision.
She has almost always been a super villain to the X-Men, however, in recent films and comic books writers have become more sympathetic to the character and have fleshed out her psychology substantially. Sustaining complicated relations with many of the core X-Men characters, Mystique in an integral part of X-Men lore, and she’ll likely never leave it.
And for our number one spot we turn the hotness up to 11. Emma Grace Frost first appeared in the Uncanny X-Men #129 in January 1980 under the penmanship of Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne. Also referred to as The White Queen, she has evolved gracefully over many years from being one of the X-Men’s most notorious super villains to perhaps being their greatest leader and member.
Emma Frost doesn’t have particularly dramatic powers. In most of her depicted history, she has been known to have telepathy accompanied with a trademark dry wit, however, if you’ve read any of the comics or seen the recent depiction of Emma Frost by January Jones in the exceptional X-Men: First Class you know why we had to stick her at the top here. There’s simply nothing to beat the icy veneer of her stare.