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She Has No Head! – 25 Great Superheroine Moments

My good friend and fellow blogger and podcaster, Sue from DC Women Kicking Ass has a great new tumblr site up called…well, I’m just going to call it THIS!

The site is all about finding those great moments for women in superhero comics…you know the ones…the ones that leave you with goose bumps, that leave you breathless, that leave you in love.  The site is open to submissions from anyone, which is only fair as we all have different definitions of what inspires us from women in superhero comics. And what better month for a post like this than March – Women’s History Month.

Inspired by Sue’s efforts I thought I’d do a piece about some of the moments that have meant the most to me over my years of reading. I make no argument that these are the “best ever” moments…just that they’re the moments that have curled my toes. Which ones curled yours? Let me know, and better yet, submit your own over on THIS!

Word of warning – if you haven’t read the story I’m talking about, be careful of spoilers!

Click to enbiggen on any image!


25. DV8: GODS & MONSTERS #8. Brian Wood and Rebekah Isaacs.

While all of her teammates fight each other and let themselves become both gods and monsters to the local population of the planet they’ve been dropped on, Jocelyn (aka Freestyle) just endeavors to make the planet better. She spends the entire series learning about the people, caring for them, and using her incredible gifts to improve their lives. When the team learns that the planet is destined for destruction, Jocelyn uses every ounce of her power to try to prevent the catastrophe. It’s an action that ultimately fails and kills her in the process anyway. A powerfully inspiring and desperately sad moment that left me breathless.

24.  SECRET AVENGERS #18. Warren Ellis and David Aja.

Not having ever read too deeply into The Avengers or SHIELD, I’ve never known much about Sharon Carter, but she certainly made an impression here in the appearances she made in Warren Ellis’ Secret Avengers run this past year. My favorite is this brilliant fight scene by David Aja, which makes me smile every time I see it.

23. NEXTWAVE: AGENTS OF H.A.T.E. Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen.

My deepest comics reading is the X-Men and all its many variations. They were my introduction to comics, and were usually the thing to lure me back when I would take breaks from mainstream comics. As a I read pretty much every X-book there was for years and years and was thus exposed frequently to Tabitha aka Boom Boom (and at one time Boomer – blech). I was honestly never that impressed. But it took only one page of Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen bringing me THIS Tabitha that changed my mind entirely. Reading this action scene with Boom Boom turned me around completely and now this is what I think of when I think of Boom Boom. Definitely an upgrade. And proof of what great creators can do with just about anything when given the opportunity.

22. CHASE #8. Dan Curtis Johnson and J.H. Williams III.

You gotta have big balls to go after Batman with the intention of “giving him a talking to”, and Chase does it without hesitation, in fact, she seems kind of grouchily determined about it, which I suppose you have to be if you’re going to go after Batman. It only endears her to me all the more…in fact, though I liked Chase from go, this is the moment when I fell in love with her.


21. BLACK WIDOW #4. Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuna.

Nobody is as cool as Natasha Romanov. You have to get up very early in the morning to outsmart her…like never go to sleep early, and chances are you can’t look as flawlessly elegant or as calmly badass as she is even if you do manage to get the jump on her. Case in point here when Lady Bullseye thinks she has the jump on Natasha only to find that Natasha won the game before Lady Bullseye even knew she was playing. Very cool stuff.

20. I KILL GIANTS. Joe Kelly and JM Ken Niimura.

Barbara Thorson has got to be one of the greatest comic book characters ever created, and while she’s not a traditional superhero (there are a few of those on here), I can’t think of many characters more heroic and inspiring than Barbara.  Our introduction to Barbara in I Kill Giants is as she effortlessly puts an obnoxious self-help guru type in his place. It’s a hell of introduction and she doesn’t ever let up – being amazing and simultaneously breaking your heart.

19. X-MEN #173.  Chris Claremont and Paul Smith.

Rogue has long been one of my favorite characters, and was in fact my first ever favorite character the entire reason I got into comics (she was the first character I laid eyes on in X-Men The Animated Series which eventually led me to comics). As a result I honestly have a lot of favorite Rogue moments, but few of them are as defining as the one from Chris Claremont and Paul Smith with Rogue saving the life of both Mariko and Wolverine, and almost getting herself killed by Viper. It was a great turning point for the former villain, and the moment when Wolverine first began to think of her as a friend and teammate.

18. Y: THE LAST MAN. Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra.

Like any secret agent 355 gets plenty of cool stuff to do, and because she’s written by the wonderfully talented Brian K. Vaughan 355 gets a ton of character development too, but it’s still this moment, which is cool and sacrificial as all get out, but almost matter-of-fact in its badassery that makes my heart go all pitter pat.  There’s something about 355’s trademark laconic speech and dry sense of humor paired with such bold action that gets me every time.

17. UNCANNY X-FORCE #4. Rick Remender and Jerome Opena.

Psylocke has a lot of weight on her shoulders as the sole female team member of Uncanny X-Force but in Remender and Opena’s hands it’s not even an issue, and Betsy holds her own effortlessly. Opena in particular deserves thanks for this amazing moment when Betsy stands off against her own team to protect a child that will become apocalypse. If only more lady superheroes looked as Opena draws Psylocke my troubles would be over (or nearly over)!

16. BOOSTER GOLD #34.  Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Chris Batista.

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life.  Like Barda.  Ah Barda, of course it’s no trouble to punch out dragons! Need I say more?

15. ELEKTRA ASSASSIN #2. Frank Miller and Bill Seinkiewicz.

In two simple panels and with a handful of words, Miller and Seinkiewicz define Elektra as the ultimate unstoppable badass. It’s not just the fact that she deflects a bullet with her bare hand, or her unflinching expression as she does so, but it’s also the off panel reaction of her attackers. Wonderful, brilliant, badass stuff.

14. THE WALKING DEAD #31. Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard.

Michonne is arguably the best character in The Walking Dead from her very first appearance, and she has no shortage of unbelievably great moments, including standing up to brutal  (and controversial) torture at the hands of the Governor. Some would highlight her well-deserved revenge on him instead, but I prefer her initial defiance when he sends her into the ring to fight and she disobeys every order she’s given, as only Michonne can.

13. WONDER WOMAN #37. Gail Simone and Bernard Chang.

I’ve posted this page several times before and there’s a simple reason…it moves me every time I read it. There are so many great examples of Diana being a badass (I’ve got two of them on this list!) but it’s harder to find those smaller moments that showcase Diana’s tender heart so perfectly. This is, quite frankly, the best one I’ve found yet.

12. CATWOMAN VOLUME 3 #1. Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke.

One of the great things about Ed Brubaker’s Catwoman is that he gets all her layers. All her intricacies. Selina Kyle is not just one thing, she is an infinite tapestry of things – theif, hero, villain, lover, friend, and so much more. From the very beginning Selina’s complicated layers were acknowledged and perfectly captured by Brubaker and Cooke in this great rooftop conversation between Selina and Bruce. It set the tone for the entire excellent series.

11. NEXTWAVE: AGENTS OF H.A.T.E.  Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen.

Monica Rambeau is one hell of a team leader. From wrangling possibly the hardest team on earth to wrangle, to fighting both the serious and the absurd, and even somehow getting away with wearing all white and looking absolutely flawless while doing so. But there’s nothing better than watching her finally cut loose with pure power. Love it!

10. BATMAN/PLANETARY: NIGHT ON EARTH. Warren Ellis and John Cassaday.

I’ve posted this moment before as well, because it’s just that cool. Anytime someone can fight Batman to a standstill without blinking is a good day in comics, and it’s never better than when Jakita Wagner does it with a smile on her face and some flirty jokes on her lips. Go Jakita, go.

09. X-MEN #170. Chris Claremont and Paul Smith.

There have been some great moments for Storm, and some of my favorites are not necessarily fan favorites (I happen to love Mohawk punk rock Storm), but I think we can all agree that Storm’s fight against Callisto is a shining moment in illustrating that Storm has layers that nobody expected. In one incredible wordless fight (the entire fight takes three pages) Storm reveals aspects of herself that readers never would have suspected, and changed herself in our eyes forever.

08. WONDER WOMAN #210. Greg Rucka and Drew Johnson.

No matter how many times I read this Wonder Woman arc by Greg Rucka, I never cease to be moved by an action on Diana’s part that is so selfless and compassionate and yet ultimately as badass as you can get. The idea of blinding yourself in order to defeat a villain – an act so intense and horrifying and hardcore that most of us cannot even imagine it – and yet Diana does it without a thought, because it’s what it takes, and it’s what’s right. This is one of the moments when I first started to understand what makes Wonder Woman one of the best characters in comics.  True heroism. Beautiful.

07. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON NINE #6. Joss Whedon, Andrew Chambliss, and Georges Jeanty.

I wrote about this moment from a recent issue of Buffy in extreme detail several columns ago, so I won’t bore you all again with it, except to say it was one of my proudest moments as a feminist and Buffy fan to see such a complicated and controversial issue dealt with in such a remarkably honest and sensitive way. I’ve never been prouder of Buffy or Joss Whedon (and that’s saying a lot).

06. JLA CLASSIFIED #14. Warren Ellis and Butch Guice.

Ah Barbara Gordon, only you could save the entire Justice League with only a laptop. This scene is so quintessential Oracle and what made her one of the most powerful and loved characters in the DC Universe. It’s so elegantly hardcore I just love it. Particularly Barbara’s statement that she’s bringing the JLA home, even if it’s just to bury them. No tears for this girl. Solve the problem, be brilliant, be a hero. End of story.

05. BATGIRL #50. Dylan Horrocks and Rick Leonardi.

As one of my all-time favorite characters I could fill this list entirely with Cass Cain moments – her fights with Shiva, when she creates her own Batgirl costume out of Barbara’s old one, when she trains Spoiler…there are so many to choose from. However one of her defining moment is her fight with Bruce to prove she deserves to wear the costume. Go here to see most of this fantastic scene. Her simple words about what she’s fighting for – the bat symbol and what it represents to her – is so key to what makes Cass one of the best heroes around. And she’s more like Bruce in many ways than any other Bat character around – I think he sees that, respects that, and also worries for her because of it. It’s wonderful stuff and it’s scenes like this that make me weep for what has happened to this amazing character.

04. DETECTIVE COMICS. Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III.

Batwoman, since her inception has had no shortage of stunning moments thanks to the best of the best bringing her to us in the pages of Detective Comics in 2009. But this heroic non-costumed moment remains a favorite of mine. A moment that showed the steel and honor inside her long before she ever donned a cape.

03. NEW X-MEN #116. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely.

I’ve been a fan of Emma Frost for a long damn time, but under Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s pens she reached new heights of bitchiness and awesomeness. Never better exemplified than when she comes in and saves the day (sorta) by breaking Cassandra Nova’s neck without a thought. Ever since Morrison and Quitely Emma’s voice has been surprisingly consistent with great writers from Joss Whedon and Warren Ellis to Kieron Gillen and Matt Fraction, all of them finding that heroic bitchy badass that she doesn’t even try to hide and letting her run free.

02. ASTONISHING X-MEN. Joss Whedon and John Cassaday.

Joss Whedon and John Cassaday took Kitty Pryde from a character I felt ho-hum about for most of my life and turned her into the kind of hero that literally brought me to tears. At the end of Astonishing X-Men Kitty Pryde phases a massive alien bullet through the entire Earth and it remains one of the single coolest things I’ve ever seen in a comic book.

01. NEW FRONTIER VOLUME 1. Darwyn Cooke.

My absolute favorite moment for any woman in any comic is Wonder Woman sending Superman packing with his antiquated ideas about right and wrong in the middle of a complicated and controversial war full of millions of shades of grey. It’s a scene that warms the cockles of my cold dead feminist heart every time and it’s come to represent so much to me about women in comics. Of course it also gets bonus points for a Wonder Woman that’s taller than Superman…something that should always be true, but almost nobody gets right.

So that’s all for me (for now at least) but what about all of you? Got a curl your toes, goose bump worthy moment you want to share?  Share it here and on the tumblr – a great community for sharing the defining moments of superheroines.

58 Comments

I am going to be reading and rereading this, before I can even begin to respond intlegently. But, let me just say, hat’s off for even atemptig this list.

Your No. 1, must be correct and so glad Uncanny X-Mn No. 170 was there…that’s what would come to my mind.

Glad to see some X-Men moments in there, since characters like Storm, Rogue, and Psylocke are some of my fav characters (still can’t believe a Ninja Psylocke moment made the list, and that is AWESOME), and the Wonder Woman / Superman moment is one of my favorite bits from New Frontier. Did you know Darwyne Cooke actually got a lot of flack from old-school fans just for the fact that she’s taller? WTF?! Anyways, I LIKE WW being taller, but props on the list (although I have to say I thought Whedon’s Astonishing run was more fan-fictiony and hurt the franchise as a whole more than it helped by A. needlessly hurting Xavier’s character and B. changing the new and experimental tone Morrison had pioneered back to the safe 80s status quo. Very disappointing). Still, Astonishing did have its moments, like Armor having to rescue Little Boy Logan (all kinds of hilarious and bad-ass lol)

Also, you’re the first person I’ve come across who liked Fraction’s Uncanny run; I guess it wasn’t all that bad, but it just felt like nothing was happening from issue to issue (although I can kind of give you his characterization of Emma, which was pretty consistent despite at times seeming to only get the bitchy and snobby side of her without the class and refinement Morrison was able to get across at the same time.)

Great selection of great lady’s moments. Might I suggest a few more? Under Robert Hickman, Susan Richards has had a veritable flood of incredible moments. Ever since Fantastic Four 600, she saved Reed’s life at least two times – not to mention punching Namor in the face and forcing him to back down.

An oldie, but my favourite Monica Rambeau moment: she fights Zeus, father of all the gods, to (almost) a standstill in the Roger Stern moment – *after* he’s pound Thor to the ground. Actually, in her second issue in the Avengers, she’s the one to provide the Avengers with an inspirational speech, when even Iron Man and Captain America are down. She even gets on Thor’s face to force him into action.

Even older, but still one of my favourites: Jean Grey’s sacrifice, in X-Men 137. Screw the retcons – to me that was Jean dying, sacrifying herself to save the universe. Still makes me cry.

And of course, more moments in “The Sandman” than I can count…

You read a lot of comics.

The speech Kitty gives Emma in Astonishing X-Men 2 is one of my favorite comic moments. EVER. goosebumps thinking about it.

Supergirl sacrificing herself to save Superman — and the entire multi-verse — in Crisis on Infinite Earths #7.

Aw, thanks for the CHASE love! If there was one trait JH and I wanted Cameron to carry every single moment on every single page, it was probably her attitude that – whatever was going on, it didn’t matter what or where or who – she wasn’t going to put up with THAT from YOU.

I’ve always liked the way Peter David writes Layla Miller, especially when she was a kid. I can’t remember which issue it was, but in one of the earlier issues of the current X-Factor series, Layla unflinchingly murders an agent of Singularity Investigations who is trying to kill her friends. She all of a sudden goes from being a weird kid who “knows stuff” to somebody that can use that information to be incredibly dangerous.

I also liked when Monet took a little revenge on an arsonist who murders a bunch of depowered mutants in France.

That’s one of my favorite Emma Frost moments, but if you ask me, it’s just not the same without the next page, where Emma responds to Cyclops’ “I knew you wouldn’t turn your back on us” by pointing out that the only reason she came back was to get her designer handbag.

@Scott Harris Since Kelly is promoting the hell out of my site anyway XD I thought maybe you’d be interested int the series I did on the most memorable moments in DC Comic history for women. The Supergirl moment was on that. You can also read Greg Rucka’s thoughts on that moment with Kate Kane in Detective Comics
http://dcwomenkickingass.tumblr.com/post/2638632917/30moments

That wasn’t Cassandra’s neck (anymore) that Emma broke. Xavier was in the body by then. Emma’s very first act as an X-Man was to break the neck of Charles Xavier.

“02. ASTONISHING X-MEN. Joss Whedon and John Cassaday.

Joss Whedon and John Cassaday took Kitty Pryde from a character I felt ho-hum about for most of my life and turned her into the kind of hero that literally brought me to tears. At the end of Astonishing X-Men Kitty Pryde phases a massive alien bullet through the entire Earth and it remains one of the single coolest things I’ve ever seen in a comic book.”

That.

I already loved the series before I got to that point, and I had really fallen for her character, but that moment completely cemented it for me. No matter what happens with her or X-Men or Joss Whedon or comics for that matter from now on, that’ll still be one of the best things I’ve ever read. So, freaking, awesome.

I really liked these choices. As a sporadic comic book reader I enjoyed remembering a few of these moments and look forward to finding and reading the others. BUT more than that I want to read your thoughts on the new Captain Marvel! I got such a buzz from the Rosie the Riveter homage on the first cover of the new series.

Another great Psylocke moment is pre-ninja days, when she took on Sabretooth single-handedly in Uncanny X-Men #213. Multiple badass moments there (plus great Alan Davis art!).

I feel like there should be some Black Canary moments from Birds of Prey in here too, but maybe they just missed the cut.

Nice list. Really makes me want to go track down NextWave.

Agreed about non-ninja Psylocke vs Sabretooth.

Black Canary, Manhunter, and Amanda Waller are all missing– but all have so many moments that it’s hard to single out the best of them… Always glad to see Chase #8 praised, though!

{If only more lady superheroes looked as Opena draws Psylocke my troubles would be over}
ok………. i LOVE opena’s art but my one complaint is that he makes Psylocke far too masculine some of the time, and there is very little feminimity left in his interpitation of her visualy at least, cept for some face shots. i want to undertstand Why is you and other feminist type female readers want for women not to be drawn atractively i get you think its explotative but part of being women is that they are beautful and ment to be Phisyscaly/visualy beautful (not just from mens point of view ether). when you make a woman too masculine you eliminate a part of what makes a woman a woman! i just wish some one could explain this better to me!
sorry if this ignorance offends you.
but yeah that was a supurb moment, and at least in that page openas psylocke looked great!

So glad to see Cassie cain on your list, hope DC listens to snyder and keeps her in play after Batman Inc.

I wholeheartley agree on Cooke’s Wonder Woman.
He was the only modern writer (ive read anyway) who fully understood the character and thus made sense of her.

Most of those moments on this list tough seem to be of the cliche “women must be tough and kick ass” variety..

Rocket stands up to the Blood Syndicate, Icon #6.

Projectra killing Nemesis Kid, Supergirl beating the crap out the anti monitor

Uncanny #173 was the very first time I’d ever seen Rogue. I guess that’s a pretty good introduction, huh?

Boom Boom can fly?

May I share a few of mine?

Wonder Woman in Joe Kelly’s JLA run when he was allowed to let Batman & Diana fall in love in the Obsidian Age and the wrap-up of that idea in issue #90. I liked that idea which reared its head early in the Timm Justice League. I quite remember Diana having a crush on Batman.

I need to say something about POWERS but cannot choose one moment or one woman. It can’t just be some Deena Pilgrim moments. As well, there’s Zora, Callista and Enki for starts…dynamic people on pages.

Jessica Jones. In ALIAS. I think it was the scene where she shows up to Avengers Mansion for some help and is really turned off by the whole notion of help when her best friend Carol Danvers and soon-to-be Ex-boyfriend Ant Man try to help her. I could say any Jessica Jones under Michael Gaydos’ pencil. The billow of smoke over three panels as she listens to the case. Her lips, her face. The Jewel scenes by Mark Bagley were fun but Jessica Jones as a bitter ex-hero under Gaydos’ pencil was like Lauren Bacall to me. Just right.

Carrie. Carrie Kelley. Robin. Good Solider.

Frank Quitely, last issue of INVISIBLES when Ragged Robin steps out from “a weird angle” off the floor, from somewhere outside of Space/Time to rescue King Mob. I love a love story.

Thanks,
Rev Sully
the Hub of the Multiverse

@McCracken: I can’t think of many superheroes (male or female) that I’d define as weak…where would you even find those moments? And when they happen (as they should – superheroes should have failings and weaknesses like everyone else) I don’t think they probably stand out as “the moment’ you’d select to define them…you pick the moment when the character overcomes said failing or weakness. So yeah, I’m not really sure what your point is.

All that said, there are a handful of atypical moments here – from Buffy’s decision to have an abortion to Barbara Thorson’s verbal take down to Catwoman’s emotional conversation with Bruce to Wonder Woman’s tender sacrifice to Donna.

But I guess a list just wouldn’t be a list without plenty of complaining.

@Mary Warner: Boom Boom is wearing a jet pack.

Kelly,

An awesome Wonder Woman moment was the end of “The Golden Perfect” arc in JLA. I know it wasn’t for everyone, but it was refreshing to see a writer put her in a situation she couldn’t fight her way out of yet show her able to put aside her pride to resolve the situation. I wouldn’t have defined it as a weak moment, but it was definitely not just her telling someone off or pummeling an enemy into submission.

Your list is great. I would have swapped 355 and Michone, but I agree they both belong on the list.

Paul Smith and Cooke are BOSS!!!

One of my favourite moments in comics comes from Gail Simone’s first run in Birds of Prey, where Dinah stands up to Bruce on behalf of Babs and Helena.

“Say what I…?’ Let’s not forget who you’re talking to. I’ve known you since the League’s earliest days. I’ve never asked you for anything. Not once. Not civility, not friendship, not respect, not for help of any kind. I figured you had your reasons for being how you are. But I’m asking now. And could you knock off the intmidation act? It’s giving me a headache.”

Love that entire scene!

No Tara Chace from Queen & Country?

Barbara Thorson is awesome! The explosive splash page, along with her witty remarks, definitely gave me goose bumps, and it makes me giddy just thinking about it.

The first time that the Scarlet Witch put the beat-down on Ultron. “I’m the most dangerous threat you’ve ever faced….I’m a Witch!”
Loved it! I think it was the first time she did anything on this level.

I think you grabbed the wrong page of the Kitty moment, although I love the whole thing. But, for me, it has to be

“Disappointed, Ms. Frost?”

“Astonished, Ms. Pryde.”

I am not ashamed to admit I cried over that page.

As I was trying to think of Crowning Moments of Awesome for some of my favorite women characters, I was struck by how many of them involved standing up to Batman. Chase, Amanda Waller, Black Canary twice in Simone’s first Birds of Prey book, Wonder Woman in Hiketeia, Oracle in Suicide Squad, Oracle in Birds of Prey when refusing his order to shut Huntress down, Huntress when getting recruited to the JLA…

This bothers me a bit. On the one hand, they’re all actually really good moments. On the other hand, they’re purely defined by the taken-for-granted awesomeness of Batman, just as much as “let’s establish Prometheus is a bad-ass by having him take down Batman” is, so it’s a little problematic to treat them as celebrations of how awesome the women characters are. On the other other hand, the effectiveness of the scenes is earned; it depends on readers already being persuaded of Batman’s force of presence, whereas that Prometheus’ teched-up offscreen beatdown is a “tell, don’t show” version; and I actually find each of the moments I listed above persuasive.

But still: I’d kind of rather have awesome moments that consist of saving people or defeating evil or overcoming great adversity than moments that consist of standing up to the scary good guy.

PS: That Astonishing X-Men finale made me really want to read Whedon-written Spider-Man. The match seems so good; Spidey actually should sound like a Whedony quipper with a case of saving-the-world-weighs-too-heavily-on-my-shoulders-so-I’ll-joke-about-it.

Kitty Pryde in Uncanny X-Men 143 Drinking hot cocoa after frying the ngari demon with the blackbird.

In my rush to comment, I may have inferred “best ever” nonsense. I should not, mine isn’t either. I also should note, Sue’s project is a great inspiration. 

Your No. 16. BOOSTER GOLD #34. Jack Kirby’s Big Barda by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Chris Batista…I have no idea if this is her best moment…but she and this panel deserve to be here, clearly.

15. ELEKTRA ASSASSIN #2. Frank Miller’s Elektra by Frank Miller and Bill Seinkiewicz. These panels are as good as any to pick. This was seminal book for me in my pathway to cartooning.

09. X-MEN #170 Len Wein and Dave Cockrum’s Storm & Chris Claremont and Paul Smith’s Callisto by Chris Claremont and Paul Smith…this might be my two on the list (including my substitutions bellow).

04. DETECTIVE COMICS. Sheldon Moldoff & Bob Kane’s Batwomen by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III…again referring to your judgment and sliming through my copies…this is a huge moment of heroics.

02. ASTONISHING X-MEN John Byrne’s Kitty Pryde, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man & Dr. Strange, Len Wein, John Romita, Sr., & Herb Trimpe’S Wolverine by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday.   I have an inverse reaction to you Kelly. Kitty is my favorite Super Hero (sorry Longshot and The Weird), but this is not my favorite scene featuring her. In fact the one bellow may not be…which makes your point…she is never given a real shot…and this is a good as any…it’s epic.

01. FINAL FRONTIER VOLUME 1 William Moulton Marston and H. G. Peter’s Wonder Women & Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s Superman by Darwyn Cooke…yep…absolutely No. One under these criteria!

The rest I was not as deeply connected with, but those mentioned here would be on my list. In addition, here is what I came up with.

Frank Miller’s Carrie (as Bob Kane’s Robin) from The Dark Knight Returns by Miller, Klaus Janson and Lynn Verley here literally a novice inspired teen just steps out on the edge (literally). This is the essence of superhero comics that made every sidekick accessible to the core audience and made Spider-Man such a success. This page made Carrie’s Robin my favorite.

http://pinterest.com/pin/251427591666834974/

Stan Lee & Jack Kirby’s Juggernaut, Chris Claremont & Michael Golden’s Rogue in Uncanny X-Men No. 218 by Claremont & Mark Silvestri.
More team work, by more favorites (notice Longshot’s blades loosening up poor old Juggernaut’s helmet…he gets beat up on this list). However, this is my Rogue defining moment, who also love as a character.

http://pinterest.com/pin/251427591666835072/

Louise Simonson & Jackson Guice’s Skids in X-Factor No. 7. After these pages, I two was willing to follow Skids anywhere…to bad the journey never quite lived up to the fun, punk rock, heroics found here. I think when she enhanced her ability turn her shield off, I lost interest in her (her Morlocks background was lost, her conflict).

http://pinterest.com/pin/251427591666835094/

Chris Claremont & Alan Davis’s Excalibur fet. Claremont & Davis’s Megan, Claremont & Byrne Shadowcat, John Romita, Claremont & Byrne’s Phoenix and Stan Lee & Jack Kirby’s Juggernaut. Here we see see three of my favorite super women working together (a rare spectacle in modern pop culture). Megan hulks up and confronts with raw emotion, constant with her character. Setting up my favorite Superhero, Kitty Pryde (Kelly, I thought you liked her more) and Phoenix.

http://pinterest.com/pin/251427591666835026/

In Jaime Hernandez’s Love & Rockets Vol. 2 No. 1 we see a tongue and cheek smartly deconstructed super heroin comic. Have you ever seen a veteran hero revel in her own powers (see panel 1-3)?

http://pinterest.com/pin/251427591666834964/

Art Baltazar & Franco’s Tiny Titans fet their Yunni, Fluffy & Bob Kane, Billy Finger and Jerry Robinson’s Robin, Bob Haney &
Bruno Premiani’s (via William Moulton Marston) Wonder Girl, Arnold Drake & Bob Brown’s Beast Boy, John Byrne’s Cassie, Erik Larsen & Eric Battle’s Lagoon Boy. Again, not sure if it’s the best scene, but it comes to mind. Here you have the complexity of humor and heroics (well Superhero’s socializing) as it relates to feminism. I just like it ok!?

http://pinterest.com/pin/251427591666835797/

Mark Gruenwald an Paul Ryan’s Stephanie Harrington in D.P.7 No. 7. I am not sure is this is my favorite page (again, tip of the hat to your attempting this Kelly…this is not any easy thing to gather and organize…specific scenes in a specific genre of comics…with specific criteria…such a vast world, comics). However, this captures the complexity of Stephanie’s situation, before she blossoms into one tough mother. She is heroic in that she risks her safety to heal the abusive husband and father to her children after he is injured by her new night in shining armor/self doubting admire). This is what this women would do. Defining her morality, priorities and bravery at the time.

http://pinterest.com/pin/251427591666834985/

Stan Lee & John Buscema’s She-Hulk in John Bryne’s Sensational She-Hulk No. 4. She-Hulk is a pretty ultimate double edge sword in feminism & sexuality of super heroins. In this series that is not resolved. But this is a heroic moment, when she confronts the artist and medium she is presented way in surprising and comedic ways. And she is tough as nails in addressing this new reality.

http://pinterest.com/pin/251427591666834998/

Alan Moore & J.H. Williams, III’s Promethea here in confronting the Weeping Gorilla showcases what is far to often a forgotten strength of most great Superhero’s intellectual problem solving and the ability to connect with victims, helping them work through issues. In this case a melancholy metaphor. I love this scene in form and function.

http://pinterest.com/pin/251427591666835110/

Keeping in mind these are what I could think of and find today (many of these women, have many scenes just as great). What is remarkable is how these scene’s for me are not just favorite moments for women Superheros. These are some of my favorites in not just superhero comics, but also in comics outside this genre.

Now I should be running over and posting these on Sue’s “THIS!” as you say. 

Meggan & Psylocke vs. Jamie Braddock in Excalibur 56. Meggan became a badass while making one of the better takedown speeches I’ve read in a super-hero comic, and Psylocke delivered the coup de grace.

Molly standing up to Titania in Books of Magic, then starting a war with Faerie out of spite, was epic.

Jenny Sparks in Stormwatch & Authority, particularly when she told off, oh, everybody.

Dani Moonstar standing up to Hela over Wolverine’s soul was well-done. In fact, the whole Asgardian Wars story in X-Men was outstanding.

Hawkwoman under Ostrander was amazing. I’m having trouble thinking of one moment off hand, but she stole every scene she was in.

The Batwoman scene and that standoff between Wonder Woman and Superman from “The New Frontier” are the first that came to mind when I read the title of this post. Nice to see some love for Rucka’s Wonder Woman run, which, sadly, seems to have been largely forgotten.
The moment from “Batgirl” #50 is also great. Cass quickly became one of my favorite characters, and it is just shameful how she has been treated in recent years. Morrison’s brief use of her in “Batman Inc.” and her appearance in “Gates of Gotham” made me hope she was making a comeback, but the New 52 seems to have squelched that. Hopefully she’ll still play a substantial role in Morrison’s returning “Batman Inc.”

I cry every time when Diana blinds herself. I cry a lot during the Medousa arc, actually. And, of course, when Kate Kane refuses to lie and hide herself. Rucka always breaks my heart, in the best way.

Hey this was a great list! I’m still kicking myself for neglecting to read Nextwave… yet. But I agree with your top 3, all very distinctive moments that show why those characters are so great.

I would have also put in Amanda Waller standing up to Batman in Suicide Squad, but other than that this is a great bunch of examples of how to write female heroes the right way!

“The first time that the Scarlet Witch put the beat-down on Ultron. “I’m the most dangerous threat you’ve ever faced….I’m a Witch!”
Loved it! I think it was the first time she did anything on this level.”

I forget the exact issue but it’s when Huntress faces off against Joker in the NML storyline. I’ve always loved the Huntress and that issue became, to me, the Quentisenshial Huntress.

The problem I see with WW blinding herself is that was done before in Saint Seiya when Shiryu eye gouged and blinded himself to be able to fight Medusa. Its hard to feel amazed when you feel it is a ripoff.

This was a lot of fun to read. I need to pick up some Wonder Woman.

Kelly… 2 moments from the Paul Smith run on X-MEN?? YESSSS!!!! Those are my favorite issues. You have excellent taste :)

A great list! I grew up on Claremont’s X-Men and though lots of comics fans bash his writing nowadays, you can never argue that he didn’t have strong female characters. His run is something that I’ll never be afraid to let my daughter read.

This was an interesting quote “Not having ever read too deeply into The Avengers or SHIELD, I’ve never known much about Sharon Carter,” It shows how much Marvel has changed over the years (and probably the difference in mine and Kelly’s ages) as I never associate her with the Avengers but Sharon Carter has many highlights (unfortunately some low ones too) going back to the 70′s with Cap.

Pretty excellent list.

One moment I would add, though not a SUPERheroine moment as such would be Mary Jane Watson doing short work of the Chameleon with no combat training, no superpowers, and just a baseball bat. A pretty cool and badass moment probably because the villain had underestimated her as much as some of the casual fans who just view her (erroneously) as a vapid supermodel.

No Jenny Sparks?

Great list. Just love me some electrocutionized women-folk.

jenny sparks was the most unsympathetic female comics character i have ever read.
Ellis seemed to confuse ‘cool’ with condescending, passive agressive and obnoxious.

I don’t remember the details, but Saturn Girl had a nice turn in the spotlight taking down Universo in Legion of Superheroes vol. 3, #s 32-35 by Levitz and Larocque.

Swamp Thing, vol. 2, #54 by Alan Moore and Rick Veitch: in the midst of her grief over Swamp Thing’s apparent death, Abby Arcane still manages to rescue an old friend from the man who had made her dependent on him through lies and manipulation. He’s coming after them with a machine gun, but she’s learned to read the swamp and lures him into water infested with alligators. I suppose this doesn’t qualify for a list about superheroines, but still…

Astro City: Beautie Special: an adroid heroine periodically breaks through her conditioning and discovers how and by whom she was created. A very touching, if not heartbreaking, story, especially for those of us who are adoptees.

Great article……though I can’t help but think it (and the entire ‘she has no head’ column) is undermined by the fake anti-ageing cream & “skinny fruit” adds directly below!!!

The list did contain a few favourites of mine.

I’d add the Mighty Avengers moment where Ms Marvel absorbs a nuclear explosion and uses it to punch out the Sentry! Pure badassery.

Also the moment in Serenity: Better Days when Inarra reveals that she is the only one who figured out what Mal did to save his crew- “I wish the next time you do something so selfish, it wouldn’t be so sweet”

Kevin Patterson

March 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Batman has been cited in responses as a perhaps unnecessary antagonist, but Batman Chronicles #5 by John Ostrander and Kim Yale, Brian Stelfreeze and Karl Story to me was pivotal. Is there misogyny (covert or otherwise) in Moore’s sympathy-for-the-devil “Killing Joke?” Barbara Gordon maimed, abused and tossed aside as a plot device to further the troika between Batman, Joker and Gordon. In this short story Barbara/Ostrander and Yale take Batman/Moore to task, reframe the story from Barbara’s perspective, and make the case for her as a strong, independent character who rebuilds her life in the shadow of no one. I never looked at “Killing Joke” (or Moore’s other body of work) the same since and if I went on a limb and deconstructed further could be an indictment overall of the male-centric comics industry.

For other memorable intances of true heroism: Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 death of Supergirl? Authority #12 death of Jenny Sparks?

Not a superheroine in the big licensed character sense, but another Warren Ellis gem was Planetary #8 with the radioactive woman who provides testimony to the “archeologists of the impossible” what went on in City Zero as her last act.

Michael Alan Nelson’s (28 Days Later) heroine Selena had a multitude of great moments with this story, it was in issue three however that you realize Selena was going to be a force of immense not to be f#$&ed with, when she had to show her cohorts how grave the situation was for them, the scene showed them just how far she would go to survive and that they had better learn quick.

I completely disagree with the” New Frontier” moment being chosen as number 1.

This moment has been taken out of context as what happened before was that Wonder Woman was explaining how she disarmed a group of Vietnamese rebels and liberate their female captives. She then proceeds to let the women kill the UNARMED prisoners in VENGENCE?! This dishonourable and callous act is NOT Wonder Woman.

Superman, rightly horrified, condemns Wonder Woman for committing such a sickening act.
Her response? To stand taller than Superman like an intimidating bully (seriously, the second panel makes her looks a bully) and gives him (her friend) a condescending speech about how he does not notice the “suffering” and “madness” , which is rather a pretentious assumption that Superman does not empathise with what is going on because he does not behave viciously enough about it. (Its saddens me that “New Frontier” is about Superman changing into a confident man, while Wonder Woman has no character arc at all except being a lady of war). And then aggressively severs her friendship with Superman, treating him like shit. That is NOT Wonder Woman.

What should have been number one was the opening pages of Wonder Woman #600 (done by the fantastic duo of Gail Simone and George Perez) where she is leading an army of DC superheroines. This is not her burning her bridges with her friends; this is not her committing a vile murder and being a self-righteous asshole about how she did the right thing when really she was just embracing being a violent fascist. THIS moment was her being a true heroine, both courageous and determined, leading a group of heroines who would follow her anywhere (even, I believe thanks to the inspiring art, to the gates of hell) because they have a great respect for her. THIS was truly a moment that FINALLY showed her as the patron of not only DC superheroines, but all superheroines in comic books.

That…Is…WONDER WOMAN!

But instead we get this hideous reminder of a time when DC thought that Wonder Woman being a cold-blooded psychopath would make her interesting (a philosophy epitomised in that wretched David E. Kelly pilot). This did not leave me interested in her; it just left me feeling cold.

My top Wonder Woman moment came from the “depowered” time in the early 70s when she went back to Paradise Island and fought against Ares. (183/184 and reprinted in 194 – which is the one I read) She is brought back on her shield as warrants a hero.

I also think Grendel (Christine Spar) should have been on the list somewhere.

Top 1 Male Moments in Comics

#1: That time in the Golden Age where Batman dealt a little harsh justice to Catwoman while exclaiming “PAPA SPANK!”.

@courtney Jenny Sparks is a great call. I looked into that, but didn’t find the right page. Do you have one in mind? Kevin Patterson may have it.

I didn’t find the right Psylocke for me. Although Kelley’s is a fine example. I am more of a Silvestri era fan with her (or early Lee).

@Perry…thanks for the Saturn Girl tip.

Absolutely LOVED that you included the old-school X-Men moments with Storm and Rogue. Storm stabbing Callisto is, to me, a seminal moment in Ororo’s history and that entire story with Rogue and Wolverine in Japan is still a favorite. And Batgirl? Nothing but straight up badass. Hadn’t heard of I Kill Giants, but am definitely planning to check that out.

A little late, but I’d like to submit, since this is just not about bad-ass moments but emotional ones as well, Elemental Girl story in Sandman. Come to think of it, is Death a superheroine?

[...] She Has No Head! – 25 Great Superheroine Moments | Comics …25 Great Superheroine Moments. March 19, 2012 @ 09:00 AM ….. Screw the retcons – to me that was Jean dying, sacrifying herself to save the universe. [...]

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