The Yurt’s UNDER of 2013: Underrated Superwomen

The Over Under FINAL 2

That’s right, the Over/Under is back! Tis the season for year-end round-ups and ‘best of” lists, but here at the Yurt we do it the fun way – instead of the usual suspects (i.e. favorite reads), we asked some of our favorite book peeps to share their favorite, well, anything, really. So let the fun begin!

And to start you off, we give you Bookyurt’s Over/Under of 2013!

The Underrated: Lady Superheroes

superhero silhouette

So, another year, another superhero movie/TV deluge – but sadly 2013 delivered only lady superheroes of the standard, place-holding, token female variety (i.e. Wolverine’s Yukio and Thor’s Sif), who were at most perhaps briefly allowed a cool fight sequence or two. Meanwhile Arrow’s abs got more screen time than the Black Canary, and while Wonder Woman did finally get a movie berth, she was suborned into a sidekick role – and with Black Widow’s sidekick tally set to reach four next year, I can’t help but wonder, will a DC/Marvel type lady superhero ever save the world on-screen?

(And can I just take a second to point out how wildly successful the Underworld franchise was when it let a woman do just that? Though I grant you, they cashed out after the first two films, as spin-offs and sequels are wont to do.)

But just because Hollywood is blatantly ignoring the many ridiculously awesome super femmes out there, there’s no earthly reason we have to do the same – and in fact, among that particular pile of bad-assery there are many under-appreciated gems to to discover, names you might not have come across of late, or might not be familiar with at all. And so I give you my favorite underrated superwomen:

Batigirl/Oracle (DC)

Batgirl Oracle DUO

Batgirl. Oracle. The next Police Commissioner Gordon. Librarian. Barbara Gordon is a force to be reckoned with, in all her guises and iterations – and her story arc, as she goes from street-fighting vigilante to wheelchair bound intelligencer, is one of my ALL TIME favorite arcs. Seriously, this girl puts the hero back in superhero – and she does it with her smarts.

Harley Quinn (DC)

Harley Quinn

And of course, there are no superheroes without supervillains – and as far as villains go, Harley is one of a kind. Ten pounds of crazy in a six pound sack, Harley is funny, cunning, ditzy, and scary – but don’t let that costume fool you; this girl may be nuts, but she’s no fool. Harley, putting the fun back in evil since 1992.

Psylocke (Marvel)


And speaking of evil, how can you not love a hero who goes a little evil herself? Such is the case with Betsy Braddock AKA Psylocke AKA Lady Mandarin (in her evil guise) – the X-Lady with a telekinetic dagger, ninja skills, and a bit of a thing for Cyclops. So while you may only know the likes of Jean Grey, Rogue and Storm, Psylocke is very much an integral part of team X – so can we please move her to the head of the class?

Clare (from Claymore)

Claymore Clare

And then there’s Clare, the half human/half monster who has dedicated her life to destroying the monsters who ruined her life, the Yoma – but with every step she takes towards her goal, she gets ever closer to losing control of her Yoma half, and becoming the very thing she lives to destroy. Now admittedly, I only know the anime (I haven’t read the manga), but watching Clare balance on a knife’s edge, with only her will to keep her from falling over, was utterly mesmerizing. This show is a bloody maelstrom, with Clare its steely core – and I could not look away.

Katara (from Avatar: The Last Airbender)

Katara DUO

And last but definitely not least, we come to Katara. Smart, capable, kind, and a seriously powerful water-bender, Katara is an absolutely crucial part of Team Avatar – but even when Katara saves the day, and saves Aang’s life, she doesn’t need the credit, she doesn’t want the fame. Katara stands with and by the Avatar, without being threatened by his shadow – and that, that is totally, utterly, and completely badass. (Not to mention, I’m pretty sure she could kick Korra’s tail any day of the week.)

So there you have it, five under-appreciated, thoroughly badass ladies. And for the record, if someone does want to take one of these girls to the big screen, please, do us all a favor – make a movie that gives a fig about the character it’s based on, because as Elektra and Catwoman have clearly demonstrated, it sure ain’t pretty when you don’t.