Happy International Woman’s Day! It’s a day that I usually wouldn’t think much about, but we’re living in the 2020s and if that has taught me anything, it’s to appreciate any events that come our way. So while taking today to celebrate all the strong women in my own life, I thought I would shine a light on some fictional badasses as well.
One of the biggest misconceptions about comics that’s existed from my childhood days and that many people still believe today is that comics are a form of entertainment reserved exclusively for men, painting women as weak characters only fit for rescuing, something that couldn’t be further from the truth.
So if you’re looking for some comics with fantastic art, great stories, and entertaining setups that will debunk the comic equivalent of fake news. Here is our list of comics with powerful female leads to read on International Women’s Day.
Comics to Read This International Women’s Day
Gunned down and left for dead on a New York rooftop, Alex Underwood’s life should have ended there, but instead, at the moment of death, she became host to the Witchblade, a mystical artefact that grants the woman wielding it extraordinary powers.
But the power comes with a high cost, and Alex finds herself thrust into the centre of an unseen battle raging on the snowy streets of NYC. Demons are real and walking among humans, and every one of them is intent on taking out the Witchblade’s newest host before she becomes too strong to kill. But the artefact chose Alex for a reason, and she’s not going down without a fight.
Lady Killer tells the story Josie Schuller. Josie is the picture-perfect homemaker, wife and mother. But that’s not all she is, she is also a ruthless contract killer. Josie masterfully balances cheerful cheerful domestic bliss with coldly efficient assassinations.
From the World’s Fair in Seattle to the beaches of Florida, Josie tries to keep her perfect family alive in a bloodstained new vision of the American Dream, but when that dream, and her family are threatened? Josie does what she does best and fights back.
Something Is Killing The Children
The children in Archer’s Peak, a small, quiet little town, start to go missing at an alarming rate. Most of these children never seem to be found but the ones that are, are dead. Brutally killed by something. There are a few lucky ones who manage to survive whatever is out there. However, when they go to tell the adults about their stories of things that go bump in the night and hunt from the shadows, they are dismissed and ignored.
One day a mysterious girl shows up in town, Erica Slaughter, who, like the children can actually see the monsters, so she hunts and kills them. Will she be able to find and rescue the missing children before they turn up dead? Where does she even come from? More importantly, why is she the only adult who can see the monsters?
Read our full review here
11 TPs written and with art by Adam Warren (Black Panther and the Agents of Wakanda; Deadpool; Fantastic Four)
Who said empowerment couldn’t be sexy? Empowered is a steamy cape-and tights comedy that follows the misadventures of Elissa Megan Powers, a superheroine with a reputation for always being captured. Elissa is someone with many self-esteem issues and some rather severe body issues. After witnessing her father’s death when she was younger, she decided to become a superhero.
Elissa is best known for her unique “hypermembrane” super suit, which, while being powerful, is also very revealing and unreliable. While the suit provides Elissa with multiple powers such as super strength and energy blasts, it’s also extremely fragile. If it becomes too damaged, it no longer works. However, even with everything against her, Elissa still manages to triumph, time and time again.
In the early hours of the morning after Halloween, four twelve-year-old newspaper delivery girls from the year 1988 uncover the most important story of all time. Paper Girls tells the story of four, somewhat typical, 12-year-old paper delivery girls.
One seemingly normal morning, they are out on their bikes, delivering papers, when they find themselves unwittingly plunged headfirst into a mysterious, sci-fi adventure caught in the middle of a war between time travellers.
Read our full review here
Monstress doesn’t just tell the story of a strong female lead, it’s also one of the few comics created exclusively by a full female team. Maika Haldwolf lives in a world gripped by war. As she struggles to overcome the trauma of violence and regain knowledge of her past, she becomes inextricably linked to an eldritch monster of tremendous power. This link will transform them both, and place them in the crosshairs of deadly powers both human and otherworldly.
Monstress screams Steampunk meets Kaiju, as young Maika risks everything to control her psychic link with the monster, placing her in the centre of the devastating war between human and otherworldly forces.
Crowded tells a story set exactly ten minutes in the future. The world runs on an economy of job shares and apps-like Reaper, a platform for legal assassination. When the apparently average Charlie Ellison wakes up one day to find out she’s the target of a million-dollar Reapr campaign, and with pretty much all of L.A. out to kill her to claim the bounty for themselves, Charlie finds herself desperately trying to survive until the end of the month when the hit expires.
To help her chance of survival, Charlie uses another app called Dfend to hire herself a bodyguard. However, the only bodyguard she can afford also happens to be the lowest-rated on the app. It also doesn’t help that Charlie has her mind on more than just surviving, she also wants revenge.
Read our full review here
5 Issues written by Saladin Ahmed (Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales; Mary Jane & Black Cat: Beyond; Ms. Marvel) and with art by Sami Kivela (No Angel; Everfrost; Beautiful Canvas)
In Abbot, we have a story about a journalist fighting for her place and the truth in a world that would rather sweep both under the rug. Elena Abbott is a badass, chain-smoking, unapologetically hardworking and honest journalist who believes in sharing the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. The story takes place in Detroit in the 1970s. We follow Abbott, who has just written a piece calling out and exposing the police for brutality. Abbott does this not only as one of the only female journalists of the time but also as one of the only black women in that position.
When Abbott starts investigating a series of troubling and grisly crimes that begin with a mutilated police horse and soon turn into multiple unknown mutilated black men, the police turn a blind eye, and Abbott realizes that getting to the bottom of this is up to her, and her alone. This investigation soon takes a dark and supernatural turn. Before even Abbott knows what’s happening, she finds herself in the middle of a dark occult web that is being controlled by some of Detroit’s most notable and powerful figures.
Read our full review here
Faith follows the story of Faith Herbert, a psionically gifted “psiot” who was orphaned at a young age before being discovered by the Harbinger Foundation. Faith has always aspired to greatness, but now she is taking control of her destiny and becoming the hard-hitting hero she has always known herself to be, complete with a secret identity, unsuspecting colleagues and a day job.
During the day, Faith is typing up listicles about cat videos, but at night she is patrolling as the City of Angels’ superhero, the sky-soaring Zephyr. However, Faith soon realises flying solo is tougher than she ever could have imagined when she finds herself over her head in the middle of a deep-rooted alien conspiracy that has her trying to stave off a full-blown invasion.
Regardless of if you’re new to comics or a die-hard collector, the comics listed above are filled with so many strong and powerful women and offer enough genre variety that you’re sure to find a new favourite among them. Also, what better way to spend International Women’s Day than by curling up with a new comic.
If any of the comics on this list managed to catch your eye, remember to head over to Critters and Comics and add them to your collection. And while you’re at it, why not let us know which female-led comics are your favourites in the comment section below.