Price Guide to First Appearance of Female Super Villains
by Christopher Tanis and Ashley Cotter-Cairns
The comics are chock-full of male heroes and villains, and generally have only token female characters. Many of these are often relegated to supporting roles, or are more important as love interests for the male characters than as characters on their own.
Many female villains, however, form interesting relationships with male characters, especially heroes, and the resulting tension can make for some very tense situations.
All romance aside, there are many female super villains who stand as some of the deadliest beings in comics, dealing in death and destruction as boldly as any male villain. Let's look at the value of comics featuring some of the most intense and important female super-villains of all time.
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Catwoman, the very first of the female super villains, is Selina Kyle, but in her first appearance, she was known only as "The Cat," and did not appear in costume.
Rather, she was at that time a cat burglar and ingenue, the first femme fatale of Batman's superhero career. Beautiful and intelligent, she tried, for the first of many times, to seduce Bruce, asking him to become The King of Crime and be her partner, full of promise and suggestion.
He refused, of course, but when she jumped over the side of the yacht which Batman was using to bring her to justice, he allowed her to escape, opting not to pursue her.
Thus began the first of many "forbidden fruit" relationships for the old Bat-Brain, and over the years, she gained a slinky costume and some very naughty gadgets, including a cat-o-nine-tails and razor-sharp retractable claws.
The Cheetah has been through several incarnations, but all have battled Wonder Woman.
The original, non-super-powered Cheetahs were Priscilla Rich (Golden and Silver Age) and her niece, Deborah Domaine (Silver and Bronze Age).
Priscilla Rich had been a society debutant whose inner "vicious huntress" came out as the result of cattiness, interestingly: she had been outshone at a charity event by Wonder Woman, and devoted herself to foiling Diana Prince ever after. She and her niece had no super-powers other than cunning and determination.
Later, the female super villain Barbara Minerva became an actually cheetah-like version of the Cheetah, complete with tail and the speed and strength of a cheetah.
The character remains, in whatever form, Wonder Woman's most frequent opponent.
After a single Golden-Age appearance battling the Flash, Star Sapphire was rebooted at the dawn of the Silver Age as Carol Ferris, Hal Jordan's love interest, daughter of his employer, and secretly possessed by the queen of the Zamarons, a race of warrior women who impel her to battle Green Lantern as Star Sapphire, in order to prove women’s superiority to men.
The star sapphire they give her the ability to fly, project force beams, and do a variety of never-fully-defined things.
Later, the whole continuity would be changed to create the Star Sapphires, a "Violet Lantern Corps," with purple power rings fueled by the emotion love.
Carol Ferris eventually becomes Queen of the Zamarons, and other Star Sapphires take over.
The Enchantress is Amora, an Asgardian who learned magic as an apprentice of Karnilla, Queen of the Norns.
As a female super villain she is seductive, deceptive, and incredibly skilled in all areas of magic and witchcraft, and along with the usual array of Asgardian powers, is known to be able to control men's minds, levitate, teleport, and create masterful illusions.
She has had romantic designs, on and off, towards Thor over the years, and has worked with Loki and The Executioner, as well as with earthlings like Baron Zemo, working towards her evil purposes.
She is also responsible for creating the Valkyrie.
With Poison Ivy, we have another in the long line of female super villains upon whom Bruce Wayne becomes somewhat smitten. Strange that it should happen so often, and that Bruce is always the last to know. Robin always seems to pick up on it first.
Poison Ivy was originally Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley, a botanist who was betrayed and poisoned by a man. Instead of dying, she developed an immunity to all plant toxins, and later turned somewhat greenish, and became able to control plants with her mind.
Dressed in a strapless, little, leafy bodysuit, she is every inch a femme fatale, and has used her feminine wiles to woo Batman into submission when her ability to control plants cannot do the job.
A major retcon revised her story to give her an origin that involved Alec Holland (of Swamp Thing fame) and an unclear source for her powers, which included the ability to secrete deadly plant toxins from her lips, killing anyone she kissed.
She remains a villain and temptress to this day.
Talia is the daughter of Ra's Al Ghul, and heir to the role of leader of the League of Assassins.
Her father chose Batman as the perfect mate for her, thinking that Bruce Wayne would be the logical choice to father children who would one day head the League.
Bruce, for his part, has had an on-again, off-again infatuation and relationship with Talia. Generally, she is depicted as being torn between loyalty to her father and her love for Batman/Bruce.
She has no super-powers as such, but is a skilled combatant and uses her father's Lazarus Pits to heal wounds and restore life to the dead.
She has drifted more towards "villain" as the years have gone by (as witnessed in the last of the Dark Knight movies), but has always maintained a complicated relationship with the Caped Crusader.
Perhaps best known from the X-Men movies, in which she tends to be a naked and blue female super villain, Mystique is a shape-shifting mutant villain who is revealed to be more than 100 years old and the mother of both Nightcrawler and the villain Graydon Creed.
At one point she joined the X-Men, to work as a double-agent for Charles Xavier.
She is a cunning strategist and skilled at espionage, can take any form, and speaks more than 14 languages.
There are two primary Killer Frosts.
The first was Crystal Frost, angry at being spurned by Martin Stein (one half of the original Firestorm). Accidentally locked in a permafrost chamber, she gained power over cold, enabling her to create and manipulate cold and ice.
After her death in a battle with Firestorm, she was replaced by her friend and colleague Louise Lincoln, who replicated the same accident and the same powers, motivated by revenge for the death of her friend.
There have been two other versions since then, making Killer Frost one of the most handed-off female super villain mantles.
All the versions have roughly the same powers, although very different origin stories.
After the Hellfire Club's machinations in attempt to turn her into their Black Queen (in Uncanny X-Men #132) seemed to have succeeded, it is revealed in #134 that Jean Grey is not who she seems to be, but rather a cosmic entity named Phoenix who took on Jean's identity, after Jean apparently died saving the X-Men.
Phoenix, to distance itself from ties to the Jean Grey identity, attacks the X-Men, eventually sacrificing itself out of concern for them, unable to stop "being" Jean.
This female super villain character is better known as Dark Phoenix.
Silver Sable is a mercenary and vigilante.
The daughter of Ernst Sablinova, Silver (her birth name) inherited his place as head of the Wild Pack, an international vigilante organization.
She is highly trained in hand-to-hand combat, martial arts, is an Olympic-level gymnast, and is a skilled marksman and swordsman. She also has greater than average strength, speed, agility, reflexes, and will power.
Silver Sable has worked with Spider-Man on numerous occasions, tracking down quarries, and has also, as a mercenary, been involved in various crimes.
She straddles the line between hero and villain nicely, in a silver, skintight, Kevlar-lined bodysuit.
Typhoid Mary is Mary Walker, former prostitute and mentally-ill mutant with telekinetic and/or pyrokinetic abilities.
For a time, this female super villain was in a relationship with Daredevil, who may have inadvertently helped to bring about her villainous career, in a way that has not been made clear.
She suffers from Dissociative Personality Disorder (multiple personalities) and can, in addition to the telekinesis and pyrokinesis, exert some control over minds, and is an Olympic-level athlete.
She would later be known as Mutant Zero.
Dark Angel is a wandering spirit who for many years inhabited the body of Baroness Paula von Gunther to battle Wonder Woman in a retconned World War II-era.
No, she wasn't a Golden Age female super villain, and no, we're not talking about the Earth Two Wonder Woman, either. All of that has been erased from the continuity since those halcyon days when characters' origins remained consistent for up to five or ten years at a stretch.
After many battles with Wonder Woman, Dark Angel created and then possessed a double of Wonder Woman, who became the new version of Donna Troy, who readers of comics from the old days will remember as Wonder Girl, who used to be Wonder Woman's little sister.
Dark Angel, whoever the heck she is now or will be next year, is quite powerful and is able to control minds, teleport, alter her size, and control the stream of time itself.
Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, M.D., first appeared as Harley Quinn, the Joker's sometime-girlfriend and accomplice, in the animated series Batman: The Animated Series.
Her first comic book appearance, although not considered canonical, was in The Batman Adventures #12, a comic spin-off of the world of the animated series. Her name (a pun on "harlequin") led to her jester-style costume.
She was a psychiatrist who'd been assigned to the Joker in Arkham Asylum, and had an affair with him. The affair was discovered, and she was stripped of her credentials and committed to Arkham herself.
After breaking out, she used her genius-level intellect, knowledge of psychology, and amoral psyche to establish herself as a sort of female super villain equivalent of the Joker.
She later acquired immunity to poison from Poison Ivy, with whom she often has teamed up.
Harley Quinn is deadly, and perhaps one of the only characters as amoral as the Joker himself.
Value of More Female Super Villain Names
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Captain America Villains List and Price Guide
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X-Men Villains Price Guide