Ah, the top 5 lists. A chance for me to do two things I love, talk about some of my favourite characters and look over gorgeous art for said characters while trying to pick out a picture to use for each entry. It’s good fun, hopefully you’re all anjoying reading through them as much as I’m enjoying writing them! As always, remember that even though these are presented as a straight up Top 5, I’m not specifically saying these are definitive Top 5’s, just that these are my personal top five from the characters that I’ve had a decent amount of exposure to. It’s all opinion, so feel free to agree or disagree, and remember that I’m much more of a DC reader than Marvel, so there’s almost always going to be more DC characters used in these than Marvel.
So, female supervillains. Much like last week, the only real stipulation is that they are a villain to a superhero, they don’t necessarily have to have super powers of their own. In fact, looking at my preliminary list there are only two out of the five here that have powers of any sort. Unless you count being really, really psychotic as a super power. Seriously, really psychotic. Of course, the other thing that goes without saying is that they need to be female, but if you haven’t figured that much out by now then I wonder, what have you been doing so far? Did you read the title? Let’s get on with this, shall we?
5. Granny Goodness
My god is this a weird one. The right hand woman to Darkseid, Granny is usually charged with hand picking, training and handing out missions to the legendary Fighting Furies. She frequently comes up with schemes and ploys to take down Earth’s greatest heroes and has earned her place at Darkseid’s side with cunning, guile and sheer brutality. She’s unforgiving, relentless in her quest to please her master and takes no issue with sacrificing what she would consider pawns to achieve her goal. And she has an incredibly ironic name, which I quite like. Granny Goodness is one of those characters that, while not physically intimidating in any way, manages to instill fear in a great many people thanks to her close ties with Darkseid and her general standing on Apokolips. This is a woman you only ever piss off if you’ve got the Justice League backing you, even then I’d still be wary.
One of the best things about Granny, though, is that even considering her age and less than intimidating appearance, she’s immensely strong and an impressive hand to hand combatant, so she’d probably kick your ass herself if she got close enough.
She will torture you, then kill you. All with a smile. Except here.
4. Poison Ivy
A Classic Batman villain, Pamela Isley started out as a talented botanist having always had a love of plants and the natural world. This was amplified massively when she was poisoned in a grim experiment, against her will and which almost killed her several times. This drove Pamela over the edge of sanity, and with the discovery that she was now immune to all poisons and toxins, Poison Ivy was born.
Poison Ivy shows up in Gotham the very same year that the Batman does, and when she attempts to hold the city ransom with poisonous spores, Batman takes her down and shoves her in Arkham Asylum. Little doesn Bats know, this kicks off an obsession for Ivy since he was the only one able to resist her control.
Throughout her career as a supervillain Poison Ivy’s talents have developed, eventually gaining the ability to control plants and secrete various toxins and poisons from her own body, seemingly at will. Still, even with her new found powers and obsession with the Bat, she is still a plant and nature loving eco-terrorist at heart, frequently fighting against things like deforestation and other crimes against nature. This is one of the reasons she’s a favourite of mine, because she is often fighting for something genuinely good, something worth fighting for but she usually does it in the complete wrong way.
Sometimes she plays nice, but more than likely will just kill you.
3. Talia Al Ghul
Well Talia’s father featured in the previous post, so it would be crazy to not talk about his daughter since I think she’s a bigger thorn in the side of Batman than anyone else. A highly trained assassin in her own right, Talia is unmatched by anyone in the League of Assassins with the exception of Ra’s himself. She can go toe to toe with pretty much any street level character and come out on top. Talia is often an interim leader of the League of Assassins, while Ra’s is out of the picture for one reason or another, usually because he’s dead. And you know how it is, a man like Ra’s Al Ghul doesn’t stay dead.
One of the main reasons I think Talia is a bigger problem for Batman than Ra’s is because he holds a great affection for her, a situation Batman doesn’t find himself in with another villain (before you say a word, I don’t consider Catwoman a villain, not really) which means that if it came down to it, I don’t think Batman could properly put her down, he will always let her get away. It’s his one, real great weakness and thanks to that weakness, he ended up with another highly trained assassin problem. Damian. Test tube grown by Talia, he’s the biological son of Talia and Bruce, and is eventually handed over to Bruce by her to be trained by one of the best. It’s an unusal move, and a clever one by Talia, keeping the Detective off balance. She’s a very real threat in every respect, and while she loves Bruce, her loyalties lie with her father and the League so when we turn the tables and put Talia in the position of victory, if it came to it she would kill him. If it had to be done, I really do think she would.
Could kill a room full from this very pose. Seriously.
2. Lyssa Drak
The keeper of the great Book of the Sinestro Corps, Lyssa Drak is a hugely important part of the Corps. She holds all the stories for the greatest members of the Sinestro Corps both in a physical book and memorised in her head. Unbelievably devoted to both Sinestro and his vision for the universe, not even the death or disappearance of Sinestro could sway her faith. She would burn herself out searching for him, all the while regailing tales of his Corps to any and all she could. And that’s where her great ability to instill fear in other comes in, she is a great teller of stories, so the tales she recalls of the deeds of the Sinestro Corps are enough to chill any hardened warrior to the core.
Lyssa was also involved in the training of new Corps members, once the first part of the initiation was completed with Arkillo the new recruit would have to go through the trial of the Fear Lodge, the success or failure of which would be recorded by Lyssa in the Book of Parallax. The updating of the Book of Parallax was Lyssa’s main job, and this is probably where her main devotion went, relentlessy recording every major event that happened to the Corps both for history’s sake and for the ego stroking of Sinestro whenever he wanted to revisit any big victories he and his Corps achieved.
Lyssa is an incredibly interesting character, one it is hinted at as having the ability to sense the feelings and emotions of those around her. This, in theory, would make her an extremely effective agent of fear.
The book itself is chained to her by Sinestro. He’s an avid history lover, you see.
1. Harley Quinn
Who else? This was always going to be my number 1 choice. First introduced in the Batman Animated Series from the nineties, one of the best things, if not the best thing, to come out of the nineties. Harley Quinn was the Joker’s other half, he brought her into the life of crime and subsequently showed her his love with constant physical and verbal abuse. She’s a character I often find myself feeling really sorry for, since her mind was broken by the Joker and she was dragged along with him, she is almost always looking to impress him with various crimes and antics.
Or she was, anyway. Gotham City Sirens really helped bring Harley out of that Joker sized shadow, forming a friendship with Poison Ivy and Catwoman. She still slipped up throughout this period however, the lure of her Puddin’ just being too strong for poor Harley to resist. More recently she’s done pretty well without him. The Joker hasn’t been such a prominent character in the New 52 thankfully (not that I don’t like him, but there can be too much of a good thing) which has left Harley to her own devices. Well, kind of to her own devices since most of her New 52 appearances so far have been with the Suicide Squad, doing various jobs for the government that she wouldn’t normally, looking for a nice reduction in her prison time.
She once again has her own series going, and it’s possibly my favourite DC book running right now. Smart, funny and thoroughly entertaining, it’s brought Harley out completely and evolved her into a truly one of a kind character. She’s still pretty messed up, and hasn’t changed her view of “if you can’t beat ’em, shoot ’em in the face” but you can’t help but root for her. It’s nice to see her in some fairly normal day to day situations in her new book, seeing how someone like Harley would deal with situations like being unable to pay her bills in between taking down hitmen sent to collect on her. Up there as an all time favourite character of any kind or publisher.
Thank you Bruce Timm and Paul Dini.
And that concludes this weeks Top 5 list! Thanks for stopping by, apologies for it being a day late but I suspected something like this might happen this weekend. Going to have a great write up of London Super Comic Con for you on Wednesday and Thursday, would love to do it over one post but there is absolutely no chance of that happening, I got way too much to talk about. So, it’ll be split between all the cool stuff we saw and got up to, and all the comics I walked away with. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all had a great weekend.