Opinion

Female Superheroes Ready for Prime Time

Image courtesy of Jamiesrabbits’ Flickr photostream.

Robin Tarnowetzki

In the past two years there have been a multitude of male-centred superhero movies: Batman, Spider-Man, Green Lantern, Thor and Captain America. Superhero television shows almost always centre on male superheroes, the lone standout being Wonder Woman in the 70s. Male superheroes have always been well-represented on the big and small screens, but women less so. I present to you five (well…six) female superheroes who I believe deserve their own TV shows:

1.     The Daughters of the Dragon

Okay, so these are two ladies but I’m putting them together since they’re almost always together anyway. Colleen Wing is an American trained in the way of a samurai who carries a katana because that’s how she rolls. Misty Knight is a former police officer who lost an arm in a bomb blast and got it replaced by a robot arm. Together, they fight crime! They run Nightwing Restorations, a private investigation business. Sadly, these two don’t star in that many comic books, but they frequently appear as backup for Power Man and Iron Fist. Don’t deny that a TV show with a mystery of the week solved by a female samurai and an ex-cop with a bionic arm would be amazing. Here’s the two having a grand old time beating up some B-list villains: http://scans-daily.dreamwidth.org/2810789.html#cutid1.

2.     Barda

Barda was once the leader of the Furies –  the all-female battalion tasked with protecting Darkseid, one of Superman’s nemeses – until she escaped and became a superhero. Barda is physically one of the strongest DC heroes, and most of her appearances involve her kicking ass. She also has a sweet, loving, and respectful marriage with Mr. Miracle. Despite the fact that her non-combat outfit is generally a red bikini, she never comes off as a stereotypical “objectified sexy lady who kicks ass” like Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, but as a trained and well-respected warrior. For Barda I see a dramedy focusing on the contrast between her desire for a normal life with Mr. Miracle and her desire to combat evil. Here’s Barda shrugging off getting shot in the head with some sort of futuristic gun and proceeding to get into a one-sided brawl: http://scans-daily.dreamwidth.org/165971.html#cutid1.

3.     She-Hulk

I have a poster of Marvel heroes in my apartment, and whenever anyone comes over they look at it and exclaim, “There’s a She-Hulk?!” Yes there is, my friends. Jennifer Walters received a blood transfusion from her cousin Bruce Banner (name sound familiar?) and was transformed into She-Hulk, a seven foot tall, super-strong, green-skinned woman. She’s different from the Hulk in that her power is not as dependent on her anger. She is a fun-loving brawler who maintains her personality and intellect when she transforms. When she’s not fighting crime as She-Hulk, Jen is a criminal defense lawyer. Not only is she one of the strongest Marvel superheroes (she once had to have a suit specially made so she didn’t go around accidentally breaking things), but she is also one of Marvel’s best-educated superheroes. A TV series that is part superhero action series, part courtroom drama, could be exactly what is needed to reinvigorate the tired crime genre. Here’s She-Hulk lifting Wolverine with one arm: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/shehulk16-1.jpg

4.     Stephanie Brown

Steph, the daughter of a minor supervillain, started her superhero career as Spoiler, briefly served as the fourth Robin, and then became the third Batgirl. Steph is great because while she is not the strongest or best-trained superhero, she is determined and doesn’t give up even when defeat looks imminent. She’s best friends with fellow hero Cass, who preceded her as Batgirl, and is mentored by another former Batgirl, Barbara Gordon. The TV show I see for Steph would feature her balancing her normal life at Gotham University with her other life as Batgirl – tailor made for the CW. It would focus on her relationships with Cass and Barbara, and how she constantly works to be a better unpowered hero in a world of superpowered people. Here she is defeating Scarecrow after being hit with his scare gas and being beaten up: http://scans-daily.dreamwidth.org/3675883.html#cutid1.

5.     Wonder Woman

Wondy’s only had one solo TV series and no live-action movies, which is a crime as she is one of the best superheroes out there. She’s part of the trinity that also comprises Superman and Batman. While Batman and Superman protect humanity from threats, Wonder Woman is all about empowering humanity to take care of itself. She is pragmatic in her approach to being a superhero and will do what she feels has to be done for the greater good, sometimes at the expense of coming off as morally ambiguous. In other words, she’s a lot more complex and more nuanced than the more popular Superman or Batman. She’s tough to write – a lot of the time, she’s portrayed as either an extreme man-hating feminist or intensely naïve –  but with the right writer, a Wonder Woman animated series could be a valuable addition to the well-regarded DC Animated Universe. Here she is beating the crap out of a giant, fire-breathing tank: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7IgccZVX5Y .

And trust me, there are a lot more. So come on, Hollywood. There are plenty of great characters to choose from, and female geeks like me (and your female demographic in general) will thank you. M

Do you have an idea for a female superhero television show? Share your thoughts with us by commenting below.

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One thought on “Female Superheroes Ready for Prime Time

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