Our Top 10 (or so) Favorite Villainesses

A column article, Top Ten by: Karyn Pinter, Jenna Galvan-Speers , Rosanne Gigante, Dawn Herrera, Holly Scudero

We won't beat around the bush here: the emphasis should be on comic book villainesses, seeing as it's a comic site, but villainy of this magnitude cannot be confined to only one medium, or even to a top ten, which is why there are eleven. Women as bad as these haunt us, and we remember their names because of the foul deeds they've done, from straight up murder to actually destroying a world. The villainesses on this list have been the proverbial thorn in the hero's side, and they have little intention of being anything less. They're deadly, conniving, and not afraid to put people in their rightful place. These ladies are all that is wrong, and sometimes right, about being a bad girl. 

Honorable Mention: 

Scarlett O'Hara Gone With the Wind
Alright, we know. A lot, if not all of you, are saying "But she's not a villainess." We beg to differ. Let's go down the check list: Wealth? Check. There's property from her family, but also money through marriage, one of which ended in her gaining a general store and a lumber empire. Keyword: empire. Well dressed? Check and double check. We all remember how Scarlett rocked those curtains. Deceitful? If marrying your first husband out of spite, and then your younger sister's fiancĂ© in order to advance your status and gain wealth, all while doing your level best to steal your best friend/lacky's husband out from under her for 10-plus years could be considered deceitful, then yes, we think that counts as a check. Manipulative? She's wrapped not just one, but four men around her delicate little finger: her three husbands, Charles Hamilton, Frank Kennedy, Rhett Butler, and then of course poor, dumb Ashley Wilkes, the husband of Melanie. Murder? Yes. She killed a Yankee. Shot him point blank in the face if I remember correctly. 
Scarlett is ruthless, spoiled, self-centered, vain and prone to temper tantrums, but extremely passionate about everything and everyone she considers hers: her home, her money, her best friend's husband. She is so bad it's hard not to be charmed by her. The way she treats those who loved her makes us shout "how can you be so foolish!"

11. Pizazz Jem and the Holograms
She is a Misfit, her songs are better! Not only are her songs better, but she is one incredible mastermind of evil. Okay, yeah, we know Jem and the Holograms isn't exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of evil doers, but the facts are these: Pizazz orchestrates everything from stealing Jericha Benton's prize possession, to almost killing Jem and the Holograms more than once, to her finest moment, burning down Starlight House. Burning down an orphanage? Seriously. She tried to further her career by endangering a house full of orphans and burning down the only home that will ever truly welcome them. Damn, she is hard core. She is manipulative, so much so that she never has any problem convincing her father, a business mogul, to do her bidding. Yeah, she has yuppie parents—super evil. She even convinces an orphan from Starlight House to do her bidding, and in later episodes kidnaps the same orphan to get what she wants from Jericha. There is nothing she won't do to get what she wants, which is total domination of the music world. That's right people. She commits these acts of evil so that her band will dominate the charts. To top it all off, Pizazz follows suit with most of our other villainesses on the list when it comes to fashion sense; she always looks her best, even while stranded on a desert island.

10. Typhoid/Bloody Mary Daredevil
Who doesn't have a soft spot for a deranged, multi-personality wielding girl who likes to set things on fire with her mind? So charming. Like so many comic book villainesses, it seems Mary has a background in prostitution that ends when a bad incident prompts her to decide never to be hurt by a man again. Split between three personalities of varying degrees of evilness, Mary has mental powers that include telekinesis and pyrokinesis, not to mention the ability to create extreme physical pain with her hands, feet, or pointy weapons. Her mental issues make her extremely unstable to say the least, and she has an ongoing love/hate relationship with Matt Murdock/Daredevil, plus various romances with his enemies. Anyone willing to do the deed with the Kingpin has to be a little uneven. Our ultimate pick for her worst moment is definitely the time she lit Matt Murdock on fire. For those of you who may not know, Matt Murdock is Daredevil, and he is blind. She lit a blind man on fire! Who lights a blind man on fire? One bad lady, that's who!

9. Poison Ivy Batman
Shrinking violet? Perhaps once, but like most girls who are seduced by their college professor, then injected with plant toxins and left to die while being slowly driven insane, Poison Ivy found a surge of confidence. Kisses that kill, pale green skin, an outfit made of vegetation—what other weapons would a sexy plant woman need? Well, maybe some intoxicating pheromones that can drive any man (or in some instances any woman) to do her bidding. Ivy even successfully took control over the mind of the Man of Steel. Yup, Superman got a bad case of Poison Ivy. Ivy's brand of eco-terrorism makes those tree climbing hippies at UC Berkeley look like rank amateurs. Perhaps the most brilliant of her shining moments was composting Basil "Clayface" Karlo. Outstanding. Using the $hit like villain of Gotham to fertilize your garden. Or perhaps it was feeding her "guilty pleasure" by feeding her giant carnivore plant with random people and henchmen. But no matter how bad Ivy wants to be, she may be the most maternal of our villainesses. Ivy took in homeless children after the earthquake that destroyed Gotham City instead of feeding them to her plants. She also took in the battered Harley Quinn after the Joker used and abused her. But that doesn't stop her from being a raging psycho hell bent on destroying anyone who staples a flyer to a tree.

8. Jadis aka White Witch Narnia Series
The immortal and immoral White Witch is a true force to be reckoned with. She is seven feet tall and possesses enough physical strength to make even the manliest hero balk, and at the same time her beauty makes her captivating and gives her the ability to enchant most people upon first meeting. Jadis is dressed to the nines, with white being her signature color, and she is usually sheathed in fur, most likely from some innocent creature that crossed her path at the wrong time. So pretty much, she's a supermodel. Jadis is not even native to Narnia, but fled her own homeland rather than submit to the authority of her sister, destroying that world in the process. Her true brutality shows in her penchant for turning animals to stone for disobeying her orders, and in her history of ritual sacrifice in order to increase her own power. In a moment reminiscent of a classic childhood kidnapping horror story, the White Witch slyly convinces the ten-year-old Edmund to climb into her sleigh and betray his siblings for a sugary treat. The too obvious choice would have been stabbing Aslan. We totally acknowledge that stabbing the lion Jesus is truly, irrevocably nasty, but coaxing a child into her sleigh with the promise of tasty delights is decidedly and creepily Pedobear-y. Where in blue blazes was Chris Hansen when the Pevensie siblings needed him?! 

7. The Wicked Witch of the West The Wizard of Oz
Never come between a woman and her shoes. Never mind that they totally would have clashed with her green skin and they just weren't at all practical for riding on a broom. Again, the name says it all: The Wicked Witch of the West. Forget all this new fangled, angst-filled, Broadway musical business; we like our witch green and mean. This one isn't above harassing a village of child-like munchkins, sassing the good witch, Glinda, threatening to burn and/or stuff a mattress with the innards of the Scarecrow, having the Flying Monkeys torment the heroes and tear the Scarecrow to pieces, or stalking, kidnapping, and holding hostage a lost and confused preteen and her little dog too. It would figure that the Wicked Witch could only be destroyed by Dorothy's act of kindness: throwing pure water on the Witch to put out the flames of her burning robes. Giving birth to some of the best and most memorable dialog to grace the silver screen, the Wicked Witch is a villainess for the ages. No one has ever made Technicolor so fearsome, nor ever will again.

6. Annie Wilkes Misery
We're all fans here, but Annie is like the embodiment of every writer's nightmare of a psycho fanatic. I mean, nobody really liked Spider Man: One More Day, but at the same time nobody took a sledgehammer to J. Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada's ankles over it. Annie has got to be one of the best bad ladies out there. She is one of those quiet people that are so full of pent up rage that inevitably it all comes boiling out. In her case, she uses it against her writer of choice when he kills off her favorite character. After her favorite writer is injured in an accident, which she may have caused, she swoops in to save him. She takes care of him and makes him write a new book in which her favorite character lives. She burns his manuscript, the one that would revive his career, which is bad enough, but the worst thing she does to him is cut off his thumbs when he complains about the typewriter keys being messed up. Turns out she is a serial killer and has killed 70 people. And if you thought the thing with the thumbs and cutting off his foot (in the novel) and breaking his ankles (in the movie) was pretty bad, how about killing infants while under the guise of caring for them. Needless to say, all of us writers are just a bit more wary thanks to Annie Wilkes.

5, Dark Phoenix X-Men
Death of Jean Grey, take one! Being brainwashed into thinking you're Jason Wyngrade's Victorian lover? Yeah, I bet that would piss off a lot of girls, but would anyone else take it to the point of having a dark entity inside of her go wild? In her madness, Jean, as Dark Phoenix, attacks her teammates, The X-Men, and does a real number on the Hellfire Club as well. Then she goes on a rampage in space, killing billions of people and aliens by nom-nomming the energy of a star, thus creating a nova that destroys a planet. All this from a woman who (in the cartoon) used to faint at even the tiniest use of her powers. The power of Dark Phoenix and her crimes were so bad that Plan Omega was nearly carried out, which would have destroyed the solar system, but would have happily taken out Dark Phoenix as well. In the end (of this round), Dark Phoenix blasts itself with a laser, disintegrating it's body, except that it's body was Jean's body, and Dark Phoenix did this right in front of Jean's lover Scott. However, perhaps the greatest torture Dark Phoenix ever inflicted on anyone was on us kids back in the 90's when the X-Men cartoon version of the Phoenix saga appeared. WTF? Miss even a single episode and you had no clue what was going on. No wonder we were all glued to our televisions on Saturday mornings.

4. Baroness GI Joe
When thinking about ladies who just want to be bad, Baroness is usually one of the first that comes to mind. Face it, when it comes to sexy leather cat suits and Harry Potter glasses no one rocks the look the way Baroness does. She is Cobra Commander's right hand gal, and maybe the only person who can go toe to toe with Destro, hence their relationship. They complete each other ♥. But she's not averse to playing her boyfriend against her boss for her own personal gain or amusement. We really think the only reason no one capped Cobra Commander early on was because they were too afraid Baroness would shoot them back, not to mention her ruthless leadership. She damn near got Cobra Commander's son Billy to pull the trigger on his old man; she also recovered from third degree burns all over her body and woke up from a coma after being blown up in a HISS tank. That is one hard core lady. From shooting Scarlet in the head while kidnapping her boyfriend, Snake Eyes, from the hospital he's in for reconstructive facial surgery, or torturing Scalpel with his own titular knife leaving him disfigured and dying, everyone can agree Baroness gets the job done quickly, brutally and with style. 

3. Maleficent Sleeping Beauty
No list of evil can truly be called a list of evil unless Maleficent graces it with her presence. We all saw what happened when she wasn't invited to a birthday party. So fearing for our lives, and those of our daughters, we've made sure to leave a place at the head table open for Maleficent. Come on, what isn't to love about the meanest of the mean? Her name just rolls off the tongue as not only evil, but with a majestic quality reserved for the most royal of Disney villainesses. No one knows how to make an entrance like Maleficent. Lightning strikes, there's green fire and glowing eyes—nothing is creepier. You've got to love her castle too, with evil gargoyles, stone fists holding giant chains, all situated on a craggy mountain peak under a constantly stormy sky. And then there are her skin tight robes of black, green and purple, set off by the headdress with the horns of Satan. She's tall, pale, utilizes the powers of Hell (no joke), and is voiced by the same woman who played Cinderella's evil stepmother; Maleficent was made to be the baddest of the bad. Oh, and let's not forget she can turn into a giant dragon when she feels like it. Maleficent runs around calling herself "Mistress of all Evil," but she's also a fairy godmother. I pretty sure there's a choice word we could tack on to the end of godmother, but we'll hold back as the kids might be reading. Her greatest moment of pure nastiness is a clear choice: sauntering into a party uninvited, tossing some sass at the guests, and then cursing a newborn, chubby-cheeked babe to die on her sixteenth birthday. And what did you get Princess Aurora? A Teddy bear? Phht.

2. Callisto Xena Warrior Princess
No one holds a grudge like Callisto. Back when Xena was a villainess herself, she decimated Callisto's childhood village and killed her family. Needless to say, Callisto never really got over it, and she devoted every breathing second of her life to hunting down the Warrior Princess. In a classic cat and mouse game, Callisto isn't out to kill Xena, but does want to make her suffer as much pain as possible. With Callisto, it's sort of a take your pick for her most evil moment: burning a village, breaking Xena's back, killing Gabrielle's husband, getting Gabrielle's daughter to kill Xena's son, poisoning Hercules's family and tricking him into help her become immortal, turning into a demon. The list goes on and on, but really, if we had to pick it would be this: Callisto's moment of pure bitchery would be when she went back in time to attempt to save her family. Sounds noble, eh? As fate would have it, she ends up accidentally killing her father instead. Not only that, but right in front of her mother and her younger self. And, it gets better! Her mother charges at her with the blade she killed her father with, and Callisto is "forced" to fry her mommy. The clincher? After her younger self faints, Callisto whispers to her, "Now you die, too. For the both of us." She's so evil, she would have killed herself as a child. Yeah, it would have spared the world of her wickedness, but still, to commit suicide by killing your younger self, that's really sick. Ultimately, since Callisto's goal was never to kill Xena, but only torment her to her wit's end, she is the villainess that triumphs. She beat her enemy, and to a bloody pulp at that; not just once, but on several occasions.

1. Mystique X-Men
Some chicks lure you in with the promise that they can be anyone you want them to be. This lady actually means it. Mystique has one of those great convoluted backstories that can only occur in comic books, and it leads her to join up with or tangle with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the X-Men, X-Factor—all the major players in the Marvelverse. Mystique has many evil deeds under her belt, some which include stopping an attempt on Adolf Hitler's life, abandoning her first son for not being a mutant, cheating on her husband with Satan, then abandoning her second child, and killing her husband after he discovered her affair and pregnancy. Top this off, of course, with a nice messiah complex and you got yourself one hell of a villainess. But her most vile of moments isn't just one moment, but a role: her role as a mother. In between playing all sides and getting away totally scot-free, Mystique mothered (usually, but not always in the technical sense) Kurt Wagner, Rogue, and the ultimate black sheep of any mutant family, Grayson Creed. Someone needed to call mutant CPS a long time ago. She uses her daughter Rogue in her nefarious criminal activities, including stealing Carol 'Ms. Marvel' Danver's memories and superpowers, abandons the infant Kurt Wagner, literally, to gypsies like a knocked-up teen girl at the senior prom, and poses as Foxx to get between her daughter Rogue and her boyfriend Gambit. No Mother of the Year Award for you, Ms. Darkhölme.

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