The Ink-Stained Amazon Wants to Know: Who are your favorite Action Heroines?

on June 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

Hello Readers! I’m working on a project and am curious to know who your favorite action heroines are and why.

Though it’s hard to narrow it down, (I mean, come on, I wrote a whole book about them!) here are but five of mine . . .

The Princess of Spy-fi

Modesty Blaise is likely the most complex, sophisticated, skilled, and intelligent of all action heroines. As lovely as she is deadly, Modesty can be either a great friend or a shrewd adversary.

Buffy Summers

Buffy Summers is another complex action heroine, and in being rooted in previous female heroes and a feminist agenda, she evolved the archetype of the female hero.

Amazon Princess

Wonder Woman’s grace, strength, and compassion taught me about the kind of heroic woman I wanted to grow up to be.

Special Agent

Sydney Bristow is another multi-dimensional female character. She could kick your ass, and do it backwards and in high heels.

Mrs. Emma Peel

Two words: Gravity boots.

Others: Dr. Catherine Gale, Lt. Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, Xena, Beatrix Kiddo, Cleopatra Jones, Flowerchild “Coffy” Coffin, Zoe Washburne, Valeria, The Birds of Prey, Hit-Girl, Max Guevara, Pvt. Vasquez and so many more!

8 Responses to “The Ink-Stained Amazon Wants to Know: Who are your favorite Action Heroines?”

  1. Ryan says:

    Cate Archer, action heroine from Monolith’s 2000 game, The Operative: No One Lives Forever. Great game, great music, but an even greater player character.

  2. Sharon says:

    Hall of Fame:

    Calamity Jane
    Wonder Woman
    Ellen Ripley
    The Women of Buffy (okay, except Dawn)
    Dana Scully


    Renee Montoya (“Gotham Central,” “52”)
    Kate Kane/Batwoman
    Kate Spencer/Manhunter
    The Women of “Birds of Prey”
    Tara Chace (“Queen and Country” comics & novels)
    Scandal Savage (“Secret Six”)

  3. These are great – thanks for sharing! All your Hall of Famers are included in my presentation for Comic Con (including Calamity Jane – love that Mary Woronov!) and a co-panelist will be talking about action heroines in comics. Though I LOVE the Birds of Prey and Tara Chace is one of my favorites – more Queen and Country please!

    People seem to really like Renee Montoya – is there an arc I should start with if I want to know more about her?

  4. Sharon says:

    Important Renee Montoya arcs:

    “Gotham Central” (think NYPD Blue meets Batman): All of it, but “Half a Life,” “Corrigan,” and “Corrigan 2” with “Keystone Kops” adding some nuance between the latter two stories, are the most important ones. Everything but “Corrigan 2” is collected in the three hardcover volumes of GC with volume 4– issues 33-40– due out in February. “Corrigan 2” is also available in the “52” companion volume.

    “52”: set during DC’s “Year without Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman. It can be a heckuva slog if you’re not familiar with the DCU, but Renee’s story, while not being a stand alone can be cherry-picked and read fairly easily. That’s what I did the first time around, and then found myself getting sucked into the larger story as a whole. I can now tell you more about Booster Gold than I ever wanted to know.

    “The Question: Five Books of Blood”: Quite possibly my favorite mini-series ever. Renee has taken up the mantle of The Question (her mentor from 52) and is continuing her quest to eliminate the Religion of Crime at no small cost to herself. The lessons she learns are: Deceit, Lust, Greed, Murder and the Parable of the Faceless

    “Final Crisis: Revelations”: Another mini-series. This one stemming from the “Final Crisis” arc that spread over all the DCU, but Revelations is pretty self-contained. Confronts some loose ends from “Corrigan 2,” meditates on Renee’s faith (she’s a lapsed Catholic) and she hangs with Huntress in a church being beseiged by essentially zombies.

    She also had a second feature run in “Detective Comics” this year, but it’s not really essential. And the art made me crackers.

    All of these were written, not so coincidentally by Greg Rucka. He’s talked extensively about the character– there are some great interviews with him at and a couple of podcasts at Word Balloon, I think. Her future is somewhere up in the air at the moment because Rucka has left DC, and he’s always been her spear carrier.

    Renee’s a fascinating character on a number of levels. She’s one of the four corners of my never-ending research project about female agency in the Bat-universe. One day it will see the light of day– I hope.

    Hope that helps (albeit somewhat long-windedly).

  5. Thank you so much for these suggestions! I’m definitely going to have to check these out. I read a few of the issues featuring Renee right after the introduction of Batwoman.

    And Rucka, wow. Can he write great women or what? Have you read “Elektra & Wolverine: The Redeemer” or “Whiteout”? Both are incredible.

  6. Sharon says:

    I *heart* Greg Rucka. It’s rare enough to find a man that can write female characters well, but one who can write gay female characters– he’s the only one I know.

    I’ve read and love Whiteout, along with his new creator-owned comic “Stumptown” (although the wait for issue #4 is getting tiresome). I haven’t read any of his Marvel stuff because for me, DC and Marvel are like Coke and Pepsi, and I’m a Coke woman.

    I hope your friend doing the comic heroines on your panel includes Agent 355 from “Y: the Last Man” which not only is a great comic but raises and explores all sorts of issues about gender and seuxality– some new, some old.

    I’d also add that if the only Batwoman you’ve read is fro m “52” give “Batwoman: Elegy” a shot. It covers Rucka’s 2nd run on Detective Comics (issues 854-860). He basically chucks everything from “52” except the Religion of Crime and Kate & Renee’s past together and gives Batwoman an origin story that certain rivals Batman’s in terms of its mythos.

  7. Candace West says:

    Oh, I’m sad I didn’t get to this post in time to suggest my email namesake, Elisa Maza – NYPD Detective and friend to Gargoyles! Yes, it’s a cartoon, and has it’s goofier moments, but it’s also smart, literate, and full of serious female butt-kickers. In addition to Elisa, Demona is, in my opinion, one of the more interesting villains I’ve seen.

  8. […] And I actually wrote a blog post recently that answered this very question! […]

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