I had promised one of my readers a while back that I would do a superheroine article as soon as I came up with a good topic for one. It took about 4 months, but I finally did and you are reading it now. I didn't want to do the typical article for this one, no top 10 actress to play [fill in role here] or this superheroine needs a movie more then this one does. This is an article explaining the often overlooked or unknown traumas that have made these superheroines into the characters we all know and most of the time love. This list is in no particular order outside of the first and last character picked and you should be able to figure out why they got those particular spots on the list by the time you are done reading the article. So, without farther ado, my 10 most admired female superheroes and why:
1. Phoenix (Jean Grey)
The reason that she is first on the list is due to the fact that her personality is so strong that the embodiment of all life in the universe not only hears her cry for help as she and her teammates are dying on re-entry to Earth from space, but actually places her body in a healing cocoon while taking her form and helping the X-Men as the X-Man known as Phoenix. Even more fantastic than that is the fact that when it became corrupted and turned into the Dark Phoenix killing off billions of people on another planet, her personality was again able to take control and cause it to commit suicide instead of destroying the Earth. Yet, despite having all that power and being able to do so much for humanity and mutant-kind, she still couldn't decide between the two men in her life for many years and when she did finally marry one of them, he carried on a psychic affair with one of their co-workers before finally being caught and giving it up. To sum it up: even though she had the power to save or destroy the world she wasn't able to control the smaller, often more Important things in her life.
2. Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff)
Next to Wanda's life, Jean's seems like a picnic. She, along with her brother, was born unbeknownst to their father. She is altered by a demon so that he can possess her once she is mature. She and her brother are brought up by a family that she believes is her own and has to flee when she accidentally causes a fire that kills her adoptive mother. She and her brother are saved from another mob by her father (even though they still don't know about each other's significance) who then has them become villains. She finally breaks free from a life of villainy and becomes a heroine, only to fall in love with an android. Since humans and androids can't have children, her subconscious magically creates two children for her. It is later discovered that they are actually parts of the soul of the demon Memphisto and they are reabsorbed into him. She is then brainwashed into believing she never had children and is so traumatized with she discovers the truth she almost wipes out the entire mutant population simply by saying, "No More Mutants". Then to top it all off, she gets amnesia and is found by one of her "friends" who she had brought back to life. Instead of helping her, he not only has sex with her but refuses to tell her anything about herself. To sum it up: She has the power to alter reality, but is still manipulated, used, and is basically raped by her "friend".
3. Red Sonja (Sonja)
Her entire family is murdered by a group of mercenaries when she is 17 years old and when she tries to avenge them she is so weak that she can't lift her brother's sword. The leader of the mercenaries then proceeds to brutally rape her, leaving her in shame. Hearing her cries for revenge, she is granted help by the Red Goddess, but can only have sex if the man defeats her in fair combat first. She eventually becomes Queen after years of adventure. To sum it up: Even though she eventually became a queen, she had to see her family murdered, be brutally raped, and never to allowed to have sex unless the man truly conquered her by winning in fair combat first.
4. Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff)
She is raised by her step-father after her mother gives him custody shortly before she dies. He takes her to a training facility for Soviet spies where she is brainwashed and trained, as well as being biotechnologically and psycho-technologically enhanced in order to preserve her youth as long as possible. She has false memories implanted in order to make sure she remains loyal to Russia during missions as well. She and Hawkeye (at the time a villain) fall in love and she almost defects, but is discovered, gunned down, and re-brainwashed to fight the Avengers. During this time, Hawkeye joins the Avengers (after seeing her gunned down) and he helps her break free of her brainwashing so she can finally defect. Later on she joins S.H.I.E.L.D., but is captured and tortured so badly by A.I.M. that she develops another personality that falls in love with Spider-Man before he helps her recover her true Identity. To sum it up: She has been brainwashed to the extent that she developed a duel personality when tortured, has been mistreated and abused by her own Government, and is gunned down by her co-workers in order to keep her from her lover.
5. Storm (Ororo Munroe)
She is truly an African-American due to having a mother who is from Kenya and a father who is an American. She is orphaned at six years old after her parents die in a plane crash. She is then recruited and becomes a skilled thief. As a young woman she is literally worshipped as a goddess before joining the X-Men. She eventually marries the Black Panther and becomes Queen of Wakanda, only to have her marriage annulled later. To sum it up: Orphaned, becomes a thief, is worshipped, becomes a queen, and then loses it all when marriage is annulled. Her life has definitely had more then its share of ups and downs.
6. Isis (Adrianna Tomaz)
She is an Egyptian refugee who is enslaved by Intergang and taken to Black Adam in order to be made his slave. He kills the men who brought her to him and is amazed that she isn't afraid of him and has strong opinions about how to make his country better. She is then granted the power of Isis in order for her and Black Adam to go in search of her kidnapped brother. They free many enslaved people and are married along the way with her finally finding her brother, who has been badly tortured and crippled by Intergang for continually trying to run away. He is transformed into Osiris, which marks the beginning of their eventual deaths orchestrated by Intergang. To sum it up: She is homeless (refugee), becomes a slave, is freed and gets married, has her brother tortured and crippled by the people who enslaved her, and they are both eventually killed by them.
7. Dagger (Tandy Bowen)
She is a white girl raised in Ohio by a supermodel mother who never spends any time with her, so she decides to run away to New York City where she meets Tyrone Johnson (who would become Cloak), a black boy who ran away from Boston after his stutter caused his friend to get killed because he couldn't warn him in time. He was going to steal Tandy's purse before she offered him money. Someone else stole her purse and he retrieved it for her and they became friends. They were both kidnapped and used as guinea pigs for a new street drug which was killing all its subjects. Instead of killing them it awakened their mutant abilities and transformed them into Cloak and Dagger. They then went and joined the war on drugs, fighting drug dealers and helping fellow runaways. To sum it up: She is Emotionally Abused by her Absentee Mother, Runs away from home, is Kidnapped, and used as a Guinea pig for a Drug Lord, and has a relationship with a member of the opposite sex of a different race during a time when that was considered taboo. Thankfully times have somewhat changed in that regard.
8. X-23 (Laura Kinney)
She is born to a surrogate mother from a copy of her father's DNA. At seven years old she is subjected to radiation poisoning in order to have her retract her claws in her hands and feet so they can be coated with adamantium and reinserted without her having any kind of anesthetic. She is then exposed to a scent that drives her into a murderous rage whenever she smells it and is trained as an assassin. She and her mother eventually try to escape, but the head of the project had put Laura's kill scent on her mother prior to their meeting. As she lays dying by her hand, her mother tells her about her father and the X-Men and gives her a letter which tells her to destroy the other 27 pods of her father's DNA and kill the man responsible for her abuse all those years. To sum it up: She is a test tube baby having no natural parents, she is purposely subjected to radiation poisoning, has her claws reinserted into her body as a child without anesthetic, is trained as a assassin as a child, and kills her surrogate mother in a fit of rage caused by a trigger scent when they try to escape the facility.
9. Wasp (Janet Van Dyne)
She gets her powers after her father is killed by a monster from a different dimension and she asks Ant-Man (Hank Pym) to help her avenge her father's death. He agrees and they eventually send the monster back to its dimension. About this time she falls in love with Hank, but he rebuffs her advances due to his first wife being killed. He later accepts his feelings for her and they start dating. Through the years that they are dating she frequently makes remarks about other men in order to make Hank jealous. Hank develops a split personality due to a lab accident and while thinking that he has killed Hank Pym, his other identity known as Yellowjacket knocks out and kidnaps Janet. She figures out that Yellowjacket is Hank and marries him while he still believes that he killed Hank. Even though he regains his senses eventually, Hank again kidnaps Janet when he is brainwashed and later still he becomes overbearing and verbally abusive. Finally, he hits her when she tries to stop him from attacking the Avengers and she divorces him. To sum it up: Her father is killed by a monster, she falls in love with his lab partner but is rejected, she finally starts dating him but continuously tries to make him jealous, she marries him while he is suffering from a mental break in which he knocked her out and kidnapped her, he becomes overbearing and verbally abusive throughout their marriage, and finally he hits her and she divorces him.
10. Batgirl (Barbara Gordon)
I saved Barbara for last because she didn't have as much going against her as the other women in this article. For instance, she was raised by both parents in a stable home and even went to college. She took on the identity of Batgirl in secret, but it was just a fluke that she made the list at all. You see, when DC was getting ready to publish The Killing Joke they decided that the Joker would try to corrupt her father, Commissioner Gordon, to prove that anyone could be morally corrupted. In order to do that, the writer asked the editor if he could cripple her knowing full well that she was Batgirl and that would cause problems with that title. The editor talked to the executive editor and then got back on the phone saying, "Yeah, OK, cripple the B___ " according to the Wiki. That is when the plan came about to have her shot by the Joker in her civilian identity in order to retire Batgirl. Following the release of the graphicnovel, another comic book editor and her husband, who was also a comic book writer, decided that the treatment of such an accomplished, popular, and relevant character due to her gender was distasteful and decided not to let her fall into obscurity. They came up with the idea of her continuing to fight crime, even though she was confined to a wheelchair, as the information broker Oracle. Whereas she used to fight crime with her body, she now fights it with her mind as well as her body. She uses her photographic memory, computer skills, training in library science, & intellect as well as strength and weapons training with the martial art of Eskrima (Filipino martial arts with emphasis on sticks, knifes, grappling, and disarming techniques among others) in order to help bring criminals to justice. To sum it up: She is a happy and productive member of society who is shot and crippled by a lunatic, but instead of giving up on life she decides to reinvent herself as a different kind of heroine - one who uses her mind as well as her body in order to get criminals off the streets.
There you have them, folks. Ten superheroines who have lived through, survived (for the most part), and continue to fight for good in spite of all the wrongs they have suffered in life. Which of these is your favorite? Let me know as always by commenting below and follow me on [email protected] or on facebook@ the entertainment writer if you wish.