The DC Universe has many top-tier superheroines with bankable, household names. There’s Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl, among others, but there are even more who fly under the mainstream radar. While they might garner respect in comic book circles, it’s unlikely that everyone knows just how amazing they are, and it’s about time for them to get their dues.
From Smithsonian Magazine, Wonder Woman first debuted in Sensation Comics (1942) by William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter, and she changed the superhero game forever. On the cover, her classic tiara rests upon her head, she’s in her star-spangled costume, and her bracelets block bullet fire. She blazed the trail for other superheroines and became the gold standard by which they were measured. Following her were superheroines who rose to popularity and acclaim, sidekicks and solo characters alike, but they had an upward climb in a genre focused on male readership.
These ten superheroines are well worth recognition and hopefully, they’ll reach the level of fame they’re owed.
Stephanie Brown/Spoiler is the daughter of the low-level Gotham villain Cluemaster and she didn’t have an easy life. Instead of following in the path of her father, she goes her own way and becomes a masked vigilante determined to spoil Cluemaster’s crimes. She teams up with Robin (Tim Drake) and they form a partnership that blossoms into a complicated romance between their dual identities. She’s a smart and capable fighter whose understanding of the criminal world is valuable, but her death in the comic event War Games after she takes over as Robin depicted her as incompetent. Thankfully, Spoiler returns to the living and has a new series Batgirls that establishes her on a team led by the original Batgirl, Barbara Gordon.
Cassandra Cain/Orphan is hands-down one of the best fighters in the DC Universe, with a tragic backstory. Cassandra was featured in Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, but the comic book version is wildly different. In the original canon, the daughter of premier assassin David Cain, Cassandra Cain was trained to fight instead of speak. This put all of her concentration on harnessing her into a living weapon and though she could hardly speak, she could read people’s body language naturally. Cassandra is so unbelievably skilled she can take on Batman by herself. She breaks free from her father’s programming after knowing in her soul that murder is wrong, goes on a journey of self-discovery, and joins the Bat-family as Batgirl III. She eventually takes the name Orphan and works with Spoiler and Barbara Gordon as part of their Batgirls team.
Kara Zor-L/Power Girl has a complex history, but that doesn’t mean she’s inconsequential. She’s a Kryptonian and the cousin of Kal-L/Superman from Earth-2, a world that was destroyed in the cataclysm of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Although that world was destroyed, Power Girl continued to exist on New Earth and it created a confusing history because she didn’t know her full identity. She joins the Justice Society of America and over time becomes the Chairwoman of the prestigious team. She has Kryptonian-level abilities, an enduring spirit to do the right thing, and natural leadership skills that are revered. It’s about time that she be given the spotlight once again.
Cissie King-Jones/Arrowette is a legacy superheroine and an Olympic-level archer. Her mother, Bonnie King was the heroine, Miss Arrowette who pushed her daughter down the same path of archery excellence. When Cissie saw Green Arrow and his sidekick Speedy fighting crime, she was inspired to join the superhero business as well with her own set of impressive skills. She befriends the speedster Bart Allen/Impulse and becomes a valuable member of the team early on, inspiring other members with her renowned abilities. She’s struggled with knowing whether or not being a hero is the right path for her because of how she was raised, but she’s due to return to her bow and arrows.
Apart from having one of the coolest names, Anita Fite/Empress is a compelling character with lots of potential. Anita was inspired by the hero Arrowette to harness her inner power and become a hero. She joins Young Justice to save people and make the world a better place, all while dealing with her own serious set of personal problems. She has part of the Anti-Life Equation contained in her mind which gives her mind control abilities, and she uses voodoo magic for spells and teleportation, and her weapon of choice is a retractable Emperor’s Stick that does some serious damage. Anita’s been MIA for years, but there’s still so much story left to tell about her.
Doctor Light II
Although the name of Doctor Light has been tainted by the atrocious villain Arthur Light, Kimiyo Hoshi reclaims the name as a highly intelligent and efficient superhero. She’s an astronomer who was hit by a beam of energy from the Vega Star, giving her powerful photonic powers of flight, force fields, and phasing abilities. In her first mission, she joins other heroes for a mission in the Antimatter Universe where they battle the Anti-Monitor, one of the most colossal threats in all of the DCU. She’s been a member of Justice League Europe and Justice League of America and has more than earned her spot on this list.
Sojourner “Jo” Mullein/Green Lantern
Sojourner Mullein is a refreshing take on a Green Lantern character. In her story, she’s on a mission in the Far Sector of space where she’s all alone in the City Enduring trying to keep the peace within an emotionless society that’s on the brink of upheaval after their emotions unleash. Her power ring isn’t as powerful as other Green Lanterns, but she also doesn’t have to rely on the power battery on Oa to replenish it, which gives her an interesting angle. She shows conviction in doing the right thing and an aptitude for understanding other cultures despite being in conflict, and all of that makes her one of the most needed characters in modern comics.
Jessica Cruz/Green Lantern
Superhero stories sometimes avoid real issues that everyday people face, but Jessica Cruz’s story tackles very serious subject matters head-on. After nearly being murdered, Cruz suffered from agoraphobia and anxiety, and it’s something she’s had to contend with as a superhero. She was chosen as the successor of the Crime Syndicate’s Power Ring for battling her problems and she was allowed to officially join the Green Lantern Corps because of her strength of character. She’s proven herself to be a very capable Green Lantern, and she’s shown that with a belief in yourself and willpower you can overcome anything.
Yara Flor/Wonder Girl
Yara Flor is a demigod from the Amazon rainforest in South America and she’s got a big personality to go along with all that power. In DC Future State, which showed a possible future for the DC Universe, Yara takes on the role of Wonder Girl to fill the vacuum Wonder Woman left after making the ultimate sacrifice. She possesses superhuman strength, agility, and flight, and she’s connected to Tupi-Guarani mythology with its own legendary monsters and creatures. Yara’s youthful fearlessness is exciting to watch as she discovers who she is as a superheroine. There are many more adventures with her to come.
Nubia is a character who’s returned to prominence in a big way. She’s an Amazon warrior who appears after the Multiverse is created, and Queen Hippolyta has to go to Man’s World to take her daughter’s place. Nubia, showing her internal strength and belief in the cause, courageously steps up and becomes Queen of the Amazons. She defeats other Amazonians in combat and she’s the only one brave enough to face down Medusa’s gaze to hold the title. She rules Themyscira and vows to keep her sisters from harm with her wisdom and temperament, and she rises to the occasion, proving that she’s the right choice.