The Arrowverse shows -- Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow -- have done on TV what Marvel has done in movies. It has created beloved separate franchises that allow for epic crossovers and team-ups. The latest crossover event was "Crisis on Earth-X", which spanned all four shows in the Arrowverse, and it was a smash hit. This hit took a while to cultivate: the Arrowverse is a universe that’s been building ever since Arrow premiered 2012. In the last five years, DC superheroes on the CW channel have been killing it.
The women in the Arrowverse have been killing it as well (sometimes literally). In a time where the need for representation in the media we consume is rising, the Arrowverse has delivered in the diversity of their characters. The Arrowverse shows have given viewers complex memorable female characters to root for and root against. There is no shortage of women in these shows who kick major butt, and it’s time that we highlighted the most powerful of the lot. You wouldn’t want to get on the bad side of any of these ladies, that’s for sure. Here at CBR, we’ve selected the top 20 fiercest women in the Arrowverse.
20 MARLIZE DEVOE
The big bad of The Flash season four is The Thinker, Clifford DeVoe, who is Marlize’s husband. The viewers should consider Marlize as much of a threat though. While she does not possess the same intelligence as Clifford, it’s because of her work that the Thinking Cap exists, which gave Clifford the superintelligence in the first place.
Marlize makes it very clear to Barry that she is a partner to Clifford, not just someone who does his bidding. It’s her work in cybernetics that kept her husband’s body functioning. Not only is she smart, but she’s shrewd -- she convinces the police captain that Barry is harassing her, and even Team Flash initially has a hard time believing that someone like her, who makes delicious mac and cheese, could be up to a nefarious plot.
19 THEA QUEEN
Thea Queen was a party girl who didn’t care to do much with her life, but as Arrow went on, she became more responsible and, at a very young age, ran her own business. When Thea learned about her true parentage, her biological father Malcolm Merlyn -- member and later leader of the League of Assassins -- trained her to fight. After a couple of months of training in Corto Maltese, Thea was proficient enough as a fighter to join Team Arrow.
It takes martial artists years to hone a craft, and it seems to take Thea about a long summer to become deadly, which is impressive. She can even hold her own against Malcolm and Oliver -- she’s landed hits on both of them. Though she’s not as much of a presence on the show anymore, we hope she comes out of vigilante retirement more often.
18 DINAH DRAKE
Dinah Drake is the successor to the Black Canary mantle following Laurel Lance’s death (Spoilers? But that was like two seasons ago, guys). Thanks to the particle accelerator explosion that has created many interesting characters in The Flash, Dinah becomes a metahuman with a real sonic scream that has the power to kill.
Even before her metahuman powers, Dinah wasn’t afraid to put herself in danger when she worked as an undercover cop. Following her partner’s supposed death, Dinah went rogue, tracked down Sonus (the person responsible), and killed him. You would not want to mess with her. She’s still in the police force currently, so she’s a vigilante hero as well as police lieutenant. Dinah’s always in the line of fire, but this doesn’t phase her.
17 IRIS WEST
Iris West is so much more than the love interest of the Flash. In the last four seasons, she has proven to be a capable woman even when she’s in a “damsel in distress” situation. She has shown immense maturity in the way she handles the crazy lifestyle of being part of Team Flash and Barry’s fiancee. Nazis crashed her wedding, and she’s like “Nah, babe, we can finish this later. Go save the world from the New Reich.”
Iris is one of the bravest characters in the Arrowverse. Last season, Iris was counting down the days to her death from Savitar and wasn’t a crying mess the entire time. She’s much less afraid of death and danger than the average person. Her tendency to investigate serious problems in the city, which stem from her journalism background, have never gone away, and she continues to fight the good fight.
16 JESSE QUICK
Jesse Quick is the name Jesse Wells goes by when she’s fighting crime using her speedy powers. Like Barry, she and Wally West were hit with a dark matter wave from the particle accelerator, and she catches on to her new powers quickly. Jesse isn’t just fast; she’s also smart, as the daughter of Harrison Wells would be expected to be.
Jesse has also shown courage. When Savitar went after Wally, Jesse took action to get him back. She confronted Savitar on her own, despite being told not to. In that season, Savitar was the most powerful and the fastest villain Team Flash had fought, and Jesse really should have been more scared to face him alone. However, she wasn’t, and she stabbed Savitar with his own armor. It was a BAMF move.
Kendra Saunders has the power to fly and claws, and appropriately, Cisco gave her the alias “Hawkgirl.” As if flying wasn’t cool enough, she’s also quite strong, as her massive wings have the ability to knock out her opponents, and she’s able to pick up heavy objects and people while in flight. All of these powers combined already make her a threat, but since she is the reincarnation of the priestess Chay-Ara, she also has the power to reincarnate.
This reincarnation locks her into a love/death cycle with Carter, her soulmate, which Vandal Savage, another immortal with magical powers, wanted to exploit to become more powerful. It took Hawkgirl and the rest of Waverider crew to eliminate Vandal, and in the process, Hawkgirl stabbed him. Stabbing is an up close and violent act, and it’s a worthy way to exact revenge on someone if you’re a fierce Arrowverse woman.
14 AMAYA JIWE
Amaya has the Anansi totem, which allows her to possess the abilities of animals. On the surface this sounds like a five-year-old’s dream come true, but these powers make her a serious threat. She has strength, sharp eyesight, underwater breathing abilities, and she can get animals to act on her behalf. Added to all this is her black belt, and we’ve got a woman who was worthy of the Justice Society of America.
Amaya passes a lot of the head-to-head tests: she is able to hold her own against Malcolm Merlyn as well as Sara Lance, who is arguably one of the best fighters in the Arrowverse. She is fiercely protective over her village and will do anything to protect it, going so far as to kill threats. Because of this, we’re going to go ahead and steer clear of Zambesi Village.
13 LAUREL LANCE
Laurel Lance is the successor to the Black Canary mantle after her sister Sara Lance. Her journey as the Black Canary was challenging. It was the love for Sara, who died, that got her to start her vigilante career. She started training first with boxing at the Wildcat Gym, and then picked up other fighting techniques similar to those in the League of Assassins.
Laurel’s first vigilante fight represents her perfectly. Her first foray into vigilantism was because someone in her AA meeting confessed that her boyfriend beat her. Laurel went after him without being fully prepared and landed in the hospital, but this didn’t stop her fighting spirit. She fought to protect others as an attorney and as the Black Canary, and she will be remembered as one of the fiercest women in the Arrowverse.
12 NYSSA AL GHUL
Nyssa was the last Ra's al Ghul, a title that was always feared as this meant you were speaking to the leader of the League of Assassins. She too was trained by Malcolm Merlyn. Because she went through the League of Assassins training, especially as the daughter of Ra's, Nyssa’s fighting prowess is formidable. Her skills with a bow rival Oliver’s, though he consistently bests her.
While she has the ability to be a ruthless killer, she also acts out of love. A lot of her character’s motivation came out of a love for Sara Lance, which is why she was intent on killing Malcolm who she believed killed Sara (partially correct), and it’s surprising that Nyssa eventually is friends with Laurel. Her ferocity comes from this delicate balance of warm lover/friend and cold blooded killer.
No stranger to the superhero TV show genre, Teri Hatcher plays Rhea, the Queen of Daxam and mother of the prince, Mon-El. She hates that Mon-El chooses to stay on Earth with Kara and proves that she will do anything to get her boy back. Case in point: she fights Supergirl (twice!) and stabs her with Kryptonite. Hell hath no fury like a mother who doesn’t like her son’s girlfriend.
Determined to conquer Earth after Mon-El rejects her request to come back, Rhea goes undercover to befriend Lena Luthor to get her help to create a portal that allows the Daxamites’ entry. Rhea does a good job at manipulating Lena by acting like the mother Lena wishes she had (you know, one that actually loves and supports you). Rhea is cunning and an opponent who actually hurts Supergirl, which makes her one fierce mama.
10 KILLER FROST
We don’t mean to discount the significant contributions Caitlin Snow makes on Team Flash, but her alter ego, Killer Frost, is a mighty metahuman. The power of Killer Frost is in her name: she can be a stone cold killer. Though her interests usually line up with Team Flash’s, there has been times where she has gone rogue and held Caitlin hostage (so to speak).
After the "Crisis on Earth-X", Killer Frost has come to more prominence; there’s even a drink named after her at Jitters. This is something uncomfortable that the mild-mannered Caitlin has to deal with; she’s still scared of the extent of her powers and what she could do as Killer Frost. Perhaps the fiercest thing about Killer Frost is her lipstick choice: it takes an unshakably confident lady to pull off dark metallic lip colors on the daily.
9 M’GANN M’ORZZ
If you want to see a fierce female, check out M’gann M’orzz in her White Martian form. The White Martian race are huge physical threats and have killed all but one of the Green Martian community. If you’re from a race that’s capable of genocide, you’re going to be feared regardless of who you are at the core. This was J’onn’s concern about her when he found out that she’s a White Martian, and it took him a while to trust that her intentions are good.
As a whole, Martians, green or white, are powerful aliens with their strength, flight, and ability to assume any form. M’gann is no exception to this when we see her fight: she even had a brief career in an alien fighting ring. Based on what we’ve seen in Supergirl, we wouldn’t want to step in the ring with a White Martian, especially M’Gann.
8 VERONICA SINCLAIR
Being fierce isn’t just about being a physical threat, which Veronica Sinclair illustrates. Also known as Roulette, Veronica is responsible for hosting the illegal alien cage matches in Supergirl. It was she who dictated which aliens got into the ring, oftentimes against their will. Social power like that should not be taken lightly.
Veronica Sinclair’s power stems from her connections to those who are in power. While she probably is connected to those who possess physical strength, it’s her connections to those in power in government or law enforcement that protect her. We have to wonder what she had to do to gain this kind of leverage. On second thought: maybe we don’t want to know.
7 TALIA AL GHUL
Talia al Ghul is the older half-sister of Nyssa. Nyssa has beaten her in fight, but we’ve seen that Talia has been a background puppetmaster in Arrow. She is another who has helped train Oliver in his early years, and she gave him a green suit and bow to help track down those on his list.
Talia is dangerous because she will turn on you if she’s feels like she’s been betrayed. Because of Oliver’s role in Ra’s’s death, she helps to train Prometheus in moves that are specific to Oliver. She aligns herself with Prometheus who was a major threat in Arrow’s fifth season. Though she was never Ra's al Ghul like her sister, Talia’s calculating ability to find out information about people and exploit it earns her place above her sister on this list.
6 LYLA MICHAELS
Lyla is the current director of A.R.G.U.S, and whenever a woman is in charge of an entire organization, it should be celebrated. She has proven herself to be more than capable as fighter and a leader, and she acts according to her moral code. She understands that not everything is black or white, and sometimes exceptions have to be made for savage violence (Task Force X comes to mind).
In her family life, Lyla has a lot to lose since she has a husband, John Diggle, and a baby (Sara or John Jr. depending on the timeline). We know not to trifle with mothers with soldier training and extensive connections. Though we know Lyla ultimately fights for good, we also know that she would do whatever it takes to protect her family that she worked so hard to have.
Gypsy’s work is in interdimensional law enforcement -- as a Collector, it’s her job to find those who break interdimensional travel laws and bring them to justice. Because of her job, she is a legendary warrior on her Earth, where it’s said she’s never lost a fight.
The most interesting aspect of Gypsy’s fighting style is that she utilizes breaches. She can open a portal and instantly appear behind you. When she and Cisco first fought, this is what he had to find a crack in in order to win the trial by combat on H.R.’s behalf. Gypsy has since warmed up to Cisco, but he’s definitely still a little afraid of her, and even more so afraid of her dad, who literally tried to hunt Cisco down.
4 ALEX DANVERS
One of the most capable fighters in the Arrowverse is DEO agent Alex Danvers. Unlike her sister Kara, Alex doesn’t possess superpowers, but she has the ability to incapacitate nearly anyone. We should be equally in awe of her as we are of Supergirl because Alex can’t fall back on having powers to protect her, but she will nonetheless throw herself into a dangerous fight at a moment’s notice.
In fact, Alex is one of Kara’s first trainers, so any success Supergirl has can partially be traced back to Alex. Not only is Alex a proficient fighter, she’s also shown ingenuity in her ability to quickly adapt to her surroundings. When she was trapped in a cell by a former childhood friend, she uses the security camera to hack into her subdermal implant. Meanwhile, we manage to lock ourselves out of our cars on a regular basis.
3 SARA LANCE
To put any fighter to the test, he or she should spar with Sara Lance. Regardless of gender, Sara is an accomplished warrior, and one of few in the Arrowverse who can do the salmon ladder. She’s been brought up throughout this list as a test for another character’s fighting prowess because if someone has fought Sara and survived to tell the tale, he or she should earn our respect.
Sara has led many lives and, as such, has had extensive training with the League of Assassins. She can scale buildings and is skilled with many weapons. She’s a prime example of the Shakespeare quote “though she be but little, she is fierce,” as she has proved time and time again that she can overpower and outmaneuver those who objectively possess more strength than her.
2 CAT GRANT
Cat Grant is the queen of media in the Supergirl universe. She hustled her way to the top and created her own media empire. She’s the one who named Supergirl, and she’s also the one responsible for pushing Kara into journalism. Her connections span the globe, from British royalty to hip hop royalty (she claims she’s the one who brokered peace between Kanye West and Taylor Swift).
Cat Grant is fearless even though she has no powers nor self-defense skills. Her confidence stems from, it seems, a belief that she can do anything, which inspires Kara as well as the audience. When the Daxamites invaded Earth, it was Cat who rallied the masses to resist, not the President. Cat is eloquent, so her greatest weapons are her words: her articulate insults always make a direct hit.
1 KARA DANVERS
Kara Zor-El, our Supergirl, is the most powerful being in the Arrowverse. Superman is usually the comparison people use when they try to determine the magnitude of someone’s power, and Kara has fairly beaten her cousin in battle. She is a symbol of hope, but she will fight to the death for the greater good.
Supergirl’s weakness is obviously Kryptonite, but we’ve seen villains also exploit her feelings for her loved ones, to which we see that she will punch through anyone and anything for her family. She will also make the tough call to sacrifice her happiness for the greater good, as evidenced by season two’s finale where she is forced to say goodbye to Mon-El. Even her work as Kara Danvers is heroic; she is dedicated to helping those whose voices are ignored. She is, truly, the greatest force to be reckoned with in the Arrowverse.