Just as deadly as their male counterparts, female comic book villains often have to overachieve to garner the same amount of attention as the bad guys. But make no mistake about it, some of the ladies of crime are cold, calculating, and drop-dead evil.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the five greatest female super villains:
Catwoman truly marches to the beat of her own drummer. Obsessed with the acquisition of material wealth by any means necessary, she also has a deeply-ingrained sense of ethics and will occasionally fight on the side of good. The whip-wielding anti-hero/villainess is also an on again-off again love interest of Batman, the one man who seems to be her equal in terms of ability and complexity of character.
If Poison Ivy’s powers stopped at her ability to control plant life, she would still be a formidable foe for any super hero. However, her greatest asset in crime is the ability to emit a pheromone that makes her target fall in love with her. One of Batman’s deadliest and most memorable foes, she has been able to turn Robin against Batman and even Superman against Batman during her pursuit of conquest.
This shape-shifting mutant and archenemy of the X-Men is a deep and complex personality trapped in the form of a ruthless enemy of humanity. Mystique has fine-tuned her powers over the course of a century-long lifespan and has also become a master at hand to hand combat, weaponry, and espionage. Apart from being one of the deadliest mutants to ever bump heads with Professor X’s pupils, she is also the mother of Nightcrawler and foster mother to Rogue.
Possessing infinite strength and a dark, ruthless heart, the Dark Phoenix is one of the deadliest villains in all of comic book history. When this evil life force seized control of the X-Men’s Jean Grey, it set into motion one of the greatest comic book stories of all-time as the X-Men teamed with heroes across the universe to defeat the Dark Phoenix before she could continue her rampage of pure interstellar genocide.
There’s something about Batman that just seems to inspire female villains. In this case, Harley Quinn actually began as a county-appointed psychologist sent to treat The Joker. Instead of treating the Batman arch-villain, she fell in love with him, fell under his control, and became his sidekick in the battle to bring down the Caped Crusader.