DC Comics is home to countless heroes and villains; however, these female villains from the franchise stand out as iconic.
- The DC Universe is filled with iconic female villains who deserve recognition for their feats and legacy.
- Characters like Rose Wilson, Queen Bee, and Blackfire showcase their skills and create turmoil for famous DC heroes.
- These female villains bring experience, guts, and a unique perspective to the world of villainy. They are worthy foes for both heroes and villains alike.
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“The hammer of justice is unisex.” This great quote is from none other than Batman, and something that couldn’t be more true when it comes to the DC Universe. No matter the gender, villainy is around every corner, in every multiverse. There are some great female villains in DC Comics, and the most iconic deserve the utmost recognition, not that it undermines the plethora of female characters in DC Comics.
These female villains are noted for their dedicated time on the comic pages and the turmoil that they put famous DC heroes in. It takes experience and guts to be an iconic female villain, and these characters are the best of the best for their feats and the legacy that expands with every year in the comics.
Updated by Ben Painter September 29, 2023: When it comes to DC Comics the main threats Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman face are Doomsday, the Joker, and Lex Luthor. The big hitters are all male characters but let’s show some love to the powerful female characters that DC has in its roster. DC’s Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) showed just how good girl-powered adventures can be and some characters on this list need some more time in the spotlight. This updated list adds three new villains that are the most iconic in DC Comics.
20 Rose Wilson
#15 (October 1992)
As the daughter of Deathstroke, Rose Wilson has big boots to fill, but this character draws the line between good and evil and has even joined the Teen Titans, the team that her father has sought to destroy.
Sometimes known as Ravager, Rose has had some play in the spotlight featuring in the TV show Titans, showcasing her set of skills. This includes the ability to replicate anything once she has seen it once, combing this with her enhanced speed, strength, and agility she is a worthy foe of those who oppose her, whether that be the heroes or the villains.
19 Queen Bee
Justice League of America
#23 (November 1963)
Zazzala of the hive-world of Korll, is a villain that has tangled with the Justice League on multiple occasions over the years, and plots for the interstellar expansion of her species.
With a powerset that includes the control of bees, flight, and hypno pollen (which allows her to take command anyone to do as she pleases), she is a dominant foe and deserves to be the star villain of a movie. Queen Bee has featured inYoung Justice, Justice League Unlimited, and Smallville but these have only been minor roles.
The New Teen Titans
#22 (August 1982)
It appears that most comic characters have some form of evil sibling and Starfire is no exception as her big sister Blackfire is her polar opposite.
Just like Starfire of the Teen Titans, Komand’r orBlackfire hails from Tamaran, and on the day of her birth the Citadel Empire attacked the Tamaranean city of Kyssar and took the lives of over 3,000 citizens despite her just being born she was blamed for this attack and stripped of her birthright as the ruler of Tamaran. This drove her to detest her people and her sister who was given the title instead of her.
17 Talia Al Ghul
#411 (May 1971)
A true challenge for Batman is Talia al Ghul. Not only is she the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul, head of the Demon and user of the Lazarus Pit, but she has all of his finances, skills, battle knowledge, deranged sense of morality, and more. Talia makes herself a great adversary of her fighting abilities and her love for Batman.
What makes Talia al Ghul a compelling villain is her loyalty and hatred to her father and the fact that she is the mother of Bruce Wayne’s child, Damian Wayne. Talia has cemented herself into the Wayne bloodline with Damian as the heir to Batman and the Demon.
16 Martha Wayne
Vol 2 #1
The Joker is one of the most famous villains of all time. So what happens when The Flash creates an alternate timeline in Flashpoint that turns Martha Wayne into The Joker? What happens, is an iconic villain is born. There’s an immense tragedy in Martha Wayne’s villainy, as she became the Joker after watching Joe Chill murder her son, Bruce Wayne.
Martha Wayne took the Joker look a step further, by carving a permanent smile into her face by slicing at her cheeks. As the Joker, Martha Wayne became the arch-rival of her husband, Thomas Wayne, who became Batman. It’s an interesting look into the Flashpoint timeline and a fresh take on the Joker/Batman mythos.
#37 (September/October 1949)
Wonder Woman and the Amazons have their work cut out for them thanks to the sheer hatred and villainy of Circe. Circe is immortal and has been honing her skills in magical powers for centuries. With Circe unleashed, she wastes no time in transforming innocent people into animal hybrids called the Ani-Men, creating an army of humanoid animals.
Wonder Woman’s love and compassion mean that she one day believes that Circe can redeem herself, which makes her villainy a difficult task to manage without killing her. Perhaps one day, Diana will see Circe turn a new leaf, but that day has not yet come, despite cracks in the villainous appearance.
#187 (April 1966)
Magic users are often underappreciated in DC Comics, but Enchantress will make people remember just how fearful they should be of magic. Enchantress is a magic-wielding super-villain, and what makes her most interesting is the fact that she is nigh immortal, and uses the innocent woman, June Moone, as a vessel for her great power.
As the host, June Moone is a lovely woman, but when Enchantress breaks out, Earth will pay with its blood for confining her. Enchantress has battled many and has recently seen a lot of fame alongside the Suicide Squad.
13 Amanda Waller
#1 (November 1986)
As far as DC villains females go, Amanda Waller is perhaps the one with the most power and grit. Although her power is not physical, that does not stop some iterations of the character from having great combat abilities. Amanda Waller has ultimate government power.
Although Waller may not be strictly a villain, her morality certainly is gray enough to class her as such. Waller does not care which of her agents dies, as they are all assets to her. She even works with and gives plea deals to villains, showing how methodical she is.
Superman: The Animated Series
Electricity powers have always been iconic when it comes to the superhero format. However, Livewire is one of the few characters that puts that into villainy. Livewire is a powerful enemy that takes the fight to none other than Superman, a metahuman known as Leslie Willis with shocking potential.
With growing powers in Electrokinesis, there’s a lot of potential for Livewire as a villain. Her villain costume is great, and has the essence of an electric rebel. The fact that she can absorb energy also makes her a dangerous opponent, especially in a world completely dependent on electricity.
(vol. 3) #89 (April 2020)
With only two years of history, Punchline is quickly becoming an iconic villain. Not only in Gotham City but in the DC mythos. Alexis Kaye has had her past explored and continues to be a threat to the Bat Family in Gotham City, through her manipulation of the public, and her sharp mind.
When Harley Quinn broke free from the deranged relationship of Gotham’s iconic villainous coupling of The Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime went solo on his tirade against Batman. That was until the intelligent and obsessive Punchline became the Joker’s new right-hand woman, a new duo to plunge Gotham into chaos.
(vol. 2) #7 (August 1987)
A villain who battles with Wonder Woman, and lives to tell the tale is an iconic villain indeed. Dr. Barbara Minerva was a British archaeologist, empowered by the plant god Urzkartaga, or cursed, to turn her into a cannibalistic cheetah woman. With an intense speed, strength, and desire for Wonder Woman’s death, Cheetah is a true threat to the DC Universe.
Cheetah has a great intellect, which matches the other powers she has, like strength and durability. However, being a Cheetah comes with its disadvantages, as she certainly must not enjoy the furballs that may arise when she has to groom.
9 Granny Goodness
#2 (May 1971)
There have been many “big bad” for the DC Universe over the years. However, perhaps none is more famed than that Darkseid. Some characters live only to serve Darkseid and his army, and one of the most loyal beings in his command is Granny Goodness, a cruel lieutenant, and despot of Apokolips.
Granny Goodness’ might come from the years of devotion to Darkseid, and how she is a capable warrior, despite the deceiving appearance of her age and name. She trains those at the Orphanage and commands the Female Furies, which has seen members like Supergirl and Big Barda.
8 Lady Shiva
Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter
#5 (December 1975)
Renowned in the DC Universe as the world’s greatest martial artist, and one of the deadliest women to exist, Lady Shiva has been shown as a ruthless villain. What makes Shiva so dangerous, is that she serves only herself, meaning that her interests alone could be a threat to both heroes and villains that get in her way.
One of the many reasons that Shiva is so iconic is not only because of her fighting ability but her daughter, Cassandra Cain. Cassandra Cain became Batgirl and is perhaps one of the few martial artists that could best Batman in a hand-to-hand fight, including her mother.
#1 (April 1940)
In more modern times, Catwoman has become quite the anti-hero. She’s been the long-time love interest of Batman, and the two share a rather complicated, and convoluted future. However, what makes Catwoman so special is that she is not defined purely by her relationship with Batman, but by the villainous acts around the world.
Catwoman is in essence, a masterful thief. There isn’t anything she can’t get her hands on. She’s fought heroes and villains and usually comes out on top, richer than before. She’s one of the more complex characters in Batman’s Rogue Gallery.
Vol 2 #40 (June 2015)
Few characters have such a terrible fate of being prophecized to cause ultimate destruction. Grail is the daughter of Darkseid, a title that would intimidate all that Grail comes across. However, Grail is more than just her father’s daughter. Grail even helped stir in motion the events of the Darkseid War, in which she helped the Anti-Monitor declare war on Darkseid.
Even after Darkseid’s death, she was not free from her father and decided to use the newborn Darkseid for her gain. Only Grail can be so cruel and sadistic as to raise her father into an even worse monster than he already was, and to seek the death of all gods.
5 Killer Frost
#3 (June 1978)
Killer Frost has made some chilling rounds through the DC Universe. She has battled countless heroes and even joined forces with the Suicide Squad at one time or another. As a scientist, she exhibits great intelligence and harbors intense cryogenic powers that can rival even the coldest of villains.
In recent years, Killer Frost has reformed into becoming a hero, but her past is far riper for villainy than her present. When Killer Frost was a villain, nothing would stop her cold, cold heart as she battled members of the Justice League with ease.
#9 (Summer 1944)
With the ability to change her size at will, Doris Zuel becomes Giganta, a dangerous villain that has seen her clash with Wonder Woman on multiple occasions. Giganta can be incredibly huge and incredibly strong, all thanks to her genius-level intellect that gave her the power to change her size. She should not be underestimated as a gentle giant, especially with her evil motives.
Giganta’s allegiance is to herself, and she has teamed with the Secret Society, S.H.A.D.E., and even A.R.G.U.S. for her own goals as the priority of her agenda. Giganta has a lot of potentials and can be a true threat to any city she decides to treat like an ant farm.
3 Harley Quinn
Batman: The Animated Series
“Joker’s Favor (September 11, 1992)
Starting as a character in Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn was the Joker’s sidekick and has since become a figurehead in the DC Universe, with her comics outliving her appearance in a cartoon. Harley Quinn is a renowned comic character for her evolution, with years of villainy behind her, she is one of the most ruthless and crazed anti-heroes around.
When she was a villain, Harley Quinn was quite the threat. Many underestimated her due to her whimsical personality, and often quirky insanity. However, she has been quite the menace to not only America but to the world thanks to her time in the Suicide Squad.
ustice League of America
#29 (August 1964)
Superwoman may have a name reminiscent of the always-good Superman, but she is far from it. Superwoman originates from Earth-3 and brings with her all manners of evil. As a member of the Crime Syndicate, Superwoman is this Earth’s version of Wonder Woman, but far darker, and has the identity of Lois Lane.
Not only is Superwoman’s powers greatly threatening, but her impact on the Prime-Earth that the main DC continuity follows has been sent to reckoning thanks to Superwoman. At one point, she birthed the child to Mazahs, which would later become the new Darkseid.
1 Poison Ivy
#181 (June 1966)
As far as villainy goes, Poison Ivy proudly boasts of how good it feels to be bad. What makes Poison Ivy so iconic is her empowerment of femininity. Her motives often always involve the betterment of nature and the Green. In recent years, her environmental crusade has seen a rise of supporters online, but many that understand, lack the realization that she would have them turn to plant food.
There are few tethers to the human world that Poison Ivy loves, like her relationship with Harley Quinn. However, despite the change in morality Harley, Poison Ivy remains a proud villain, who is defined by her power as mother nature, rather than her love or relationships with others.