Comic books have often depicted the most powerful heroes and villains battling against one another, each with their own unique set of powers and abilities to leave us in awe. Many of them shoot lasers, fire heat blasts, and use telepathic attacks, but there are plenty of characters who simply bring their fists to the fight of their lives. Characters like Hercules, Juggernaut and Hawkman mainly show up to flex their muscles and punch people in the face, but not all these brawlers are men.
Sure, there are plenty of male superheroes and villains who can flex their muscles and act tough, but have you seen the women in comics? Put aside the fact that many of them are depicted as the most stunning people alive, they are also just absolutely jacked at the same time. Remove all the men from Marvel and DC, and you’re still left with an intimidating group of the most powerful women in comics. Some are superheroes, some are villains, others are street level vigilantes and anti-heroes. There are even a few gods thrown in here just for the fun of it. Here, then, are the 15 most rip-diesel comic book women. You better hope none of them get you stuck in a headlock.
While Wonder Woman might get all the credit as the best warrior the Amazons ever produced, Artemis deserves to be recognized as the toughest. In fact, she has been recognized as the greatest warrior among the Egyptian sect of Amazons. Her natural skill and ruthlessness in battle even allowed her to defeat Diana in combat and take over the role of Wonder Woman for a time.
Over the years, she has traditionally been portrayed as the more brutal foil to Diana’s message of peace. She has no trouble killing her opponents and tends to bully her way through Man’s World. Her weapon of choice has been recently revealed to be the enchanted battle axe known as Mistress, which judging by the size of it, is likely no easy task to wield.
Angela has gone through some drastic changes in recent years. Beginning her life as a supporting character in Spawn, Angela was a powerful character in the Image Universe throughout the ‘90s. However, a lawsuit between Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane over ownership of the character ultimately ended up with Gaiman selling her to Marvel.
Now she’s the secret daughter of Odin from the previously unknown Tenth Realm known as Heven. She’s quickly become one of the most powerful warriors in the Marvel Universe, fighting cosmic threats with the Guardians of the Galaxy and actually conquering the realm of Hel in order to save her lover from the afterlife. It’s been quite the journey for Angela, but she continues to come out on top every step of the way.
Giganta has seen some drastic changes to her origin over the years; however, the only constant has been that she has the ability to transform into a superpowered giant. Traditionally depicted as a villain, Dr. Doris Zuel has more recently been seen as misunderstood rather than completely villainous. Still, she’s been a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains as well as the Secret Six.
Though she has never been able to achieve much attention from the mainstream, she is often seen as one of Wonder Woman’s top villains. Able to grow several hundred feet in height, she has proven to be a capable fighter against some of the best superheroes in the DC Universe. Her trademark yellow shorts and top truly show off just as powerful she is physically.
Thundra is a true creation of the 1970s as the warrior queen of an alternate future in the 23rd century. Where Thundra comes from, the United States has been replaced by the United Sisterhood Republic and Earth is now known as Femizonia. As a society, humanity is now ruled by battle-hardened women who have since toppled the patriarchy and have brought them to near extinction.
Thundra has traveled to the present on more than one occasion, battling the Fantastic Four and even acting as a threat to The Hulk. Over the years she has been recruited by various villainous groups, but Thundra isn’t a villain herself. As an intelligent tactician, she isn’t afraid to use the bad guys and good guys in her own agenda.
Created in 1995, the villain Stunner is a very obvious invention of a bunch of dudes, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t powerful in her own right. Angelina Brancale was overweight and depressed until a radical new artificial reality experiment allowed her to take on the form of the woman she always wanted to be. Now super powerful and super muscular, she goes by the name Stunner.
Manipulated by Doctor Octopus, who she is in love with for some reason, she becomes a supervillain in order to assist him in his plots. Stunner eventually sacrifices her artificial life for her love and falls into a coma. She later returns to fight Spider-Man following Otto’s death. Little does she know that the Superior Spider-Man is actually the person she loves most in this world.
10 CAITLIN FAIRCHILD
Caitlin was a normal teenager in the Wildstorm Universe until the government wanted her for a secret project to create and control superpowered beings. Locked up against her will, the mousy Caitlin was transformed into the super strong and super confident Amazonian powerhouse known as Fairchild. She eventually escaped with her fellow captives to form the superhero team Gen13
Together with a group of teenagers known as Gen13, her new life consists of running from government agents desiring to get their creations back under control. After the Wildstorm Universe folded, Caitlin brought her biceps to the DC Universe during the New 52 where she fought alongside Superboy and a new team of misfit teenagers. It’s only a matter of time before she shows up in Warren Ellis’ Wildstorm revival series The Wild Storm.
Following in the footsteps of her gamma-irradiated cousin Bruce Banner, Jennifer Walters became the superhero known as She-Hulk. Unlike the Hulk, though, she was more in control of her transformations, allowing her to retain a positive image to the public while her cousin is usually considered to be a dangerous monster.
Unfortunately, all that changed during the event series Civil War II, when Jennifer is injured in a battle against Thanos. The already muscular She-Hulk took on a more bestial appearance following the incident, becoming more of an uncontrollable monster than ever before, turning grey, and gaining even more muscle mass. Now afraid to Hulk out for fear of what she might do, this is truly one of the most trying periods of her superhero career.
Following in the footsteps of the legendary Big Barda, Knockout was a member of Darkseid’s Female Furies before running away to Earth. At first she was a villain who fought against the young Superboy in the 1990s; however, over the course of their encounters, he attempted to reform her. Knockout eventually joined the Secret Society of Super-Villains, cementing her place with the bad guys.
Things didn’t work out like we all expected, though, as she was working among the villains as a plant for her love Scandal Savage. At the right time she showed her true allegiance and became a member of the Secret Six. Though Knockout was killed by Infinity Man in The Death of the New Gods, Scandal managed to get her back following a trip to Hell itself.
7 GRACE CHOI
Grace was first introduced in the pages of Outsiders when Roy Harper put together a new version of the team. She is the muscle of the group, standing well above any of her teammates, with more muscle than the rest of them combined. She enters into a relationship with her teammate Thunder and comes to love her career as a superhero.
It’s only later on that she learns that reason for her vast strength is that she is a descendant of the Amazons, just like Wonder Woman. Despite her awesome power, she eventually settles down with her girlfriend and the two seemingly give up crime fighting, though they haven’t been seen in a few years now. Grace Choi is expected to show up on the new television series Black Lightning.
6 POWER GIRL
Over the years, Power Girl has seen her origin change many times. However, regardless of where she comes from, Karen Starr continues to be one of the strongest superheroes in the DC Universe. She’s definitely come to be known as the cousin of Superman from an alternate universe, making her an alternate version of Supergirl herself.
Power Girl has been a member of the Justice League, Justice Society, and Infinity Inc., and has been considered a member of the Superman Family at times. She is best known for her distinct full figure and the revealing costume she wears into battle, but people also remember her by the strength of her punch. As a Kryptonian herself, she can go up against many of the biggest threats in the DCU.
Dr. Kitty Faulkner was a gifted scientist before one of her male colleagues messed with her experiment and ruined her life. Kitty’s project with solar radiation blew up in her face, transforming her into the hulking beast known as Rampage. Like Superman, she is powered by the sun, but unlike the Man of Steel, she was out of control and violent.
As Rampage, she’s gone toe-to-toe with some of the strongest superheroes in the business, but she’s never been much of a villain. Despite her path of destruction, she’s become an ally of the superhero community, including Superman, Supergirl, and Starman. Kitty was given a second chance by the scientific community and has been seen as a high-ranking scientist within S.T.A.R. Labs.
4 RED SHE-HULK
Betty Ross, the Hulk’s one-time love interest, has had quite the adventurous life of her own. She was transformed into the evil Harpy by MODOK, brought back to normal, and later poisoned by the Abomination and placed in suspended animation. Years later, she is transformed into the super strong and powerful Red She-Hulk by the Leader.
As a Hulk, her aggression rose through the roof and for a time, her mind was not her own, bringing her into conflict with the Hulk directly. Eventually, she got her mind back and became an ally of Bruce Banner again. However, the two never did quite reconcile their relationship. Betty was seemingly cured of her affliction when the Hulk’s new persona Doc Green set out to cure all the Hulks in the world.
3 BIG BARDA
Big Barda is a member of the DC Comics superhero community on Earth and also a member of the New Gods. Raised on Apokolips by the evil Granny Goodness, she was trained into one of Darkseid’s finest warriors, and even led the infamous Female Furies. Destined for something greater than servitude at the heels of a cosmic conqueror, she ultimately escaped and went on to marry Mister Miracle.
The couple has since protected Earth from Darkseid’s reach, and have even been inducted as members of multiple iterations of the Justice League. While her husband is noted as a brilliant escape artist, she compliments him as a muscular protector and brutal warrior. It’s hard to imagine anyone getting the better of Big Barda’s raw power, making her one of the toughest women in the DCU.
2 CAPTAIN AMERICA 2099
Marvel’s 2099 universe is both loved and hated by comic book fans for some of the weirdest stories ever told. Set in the future, the line introduced us to what the superhero community would look like 100 years from the present day. In 1995, Captain America 2099 was another white man with blonde hair pretending to be Steve Rogers until the real Cap returned from suspended animation.
Marvel gave us something new during the Secret Wars event in 2015, introducing Roberta Mendez as the new Captain America 2099. A seemingly normal woman, she actually has no clue about her superhero identity. Captain America is a separate aspect of her consciousness that turns her into a superhero who leads the Avengers of 2099 and is super jacked.
Glory started her existence as Rob Liefeld’s Wonder Woman rip-off for Image Comics, to the point where it’s actually questionable how they managed not to get sued by DC Comics. In the 1990s, Glory was anything but ripped, instead being depicted as a white-haired sleek and sexy version of Diana. It wasn’t until the the character was revived and retooled by Joe Keatinge and Sophie Campbell in 2011 that Glory got muscles.
Initially depicted as a product of amazons and demons, her origin was altered so that she was actually the child of two different races of aliens. This new version of the character was a lumbering monster of war with albino skin covered in battle scars. She was the strong but silent type who had no trouble destroying anyone who got in her way.