It’s Women’s History Month and if we’ve seen anything these past five years, it’s that the future is decidedly female. So, if you find yourself in the mood for stories of hope, perseverance and inspiration featuring your favorite DC heroines, know that there are plenty of them out there. From longtime favorites like Wonder Woman and Lois Lane to relatively newer characters like Jessica Cruz and Naomi McDuffie, DC has a strong legacy of mighty women. Still, it helps to have a place to start, so here are six of our favorite stories of female empowerment.
Oracle: Year One
Barbara Gordon once soared over the rooftops of Gotham as Batgirl, but a bullet from the Joker left her confined to a wheelchair. With her former life seemingly gone forever, Barbara searches for a new path forward. Her days as Batgirl may be over, but a new persona will rise from the ashes of her tragedy.
Where to Read It: The Batman Chronicles #5
Why We Find It Inspiring: "Oracle: Year One" is a story of hope and perseverance. After her attack at the hands of the Joker, it’s hard for Barbara Gordon not to see herself as a victim, but she doesn’t let despair control her. This is a comeback story that will pull at your heart strings, as Barbara retakes her life, proving that she’s one of the strongest characters in the DC Universe.
The Female Furies are the mightiest warriors on Apokolips. Led by the ruthless Granny Goodness, they’re the best fighters in Darkseid’s army, yet they’re treated as second-class citizens due to their gender. Tired of being overlooked, Granny and her Furies decide it’s time to take matters into their own hands and prove to Apokolips that the future is female!
Why We Find It Inspiring: This unforgettable limited series will change the way you look at Jack Kirby’s Fourth World characters. It turns out that fighting the patriarchy isn’t just an Earth problem and you’ll find yourself cheering as the Female Furies take the feminist revolution to Apokolips. If you stan a strong female character, then this story will capture your heart before you finish the first act.
A Day in the Life
As a Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz has fought cosmic threats, so why is getting out of bed in the morning such a struggle? For Jessica, depression and anxiety are more threatening than Darkseid. Step inside her head as she fights a hidden battle inside her mind.
Where to Read It: Green Lanterns #15
Why We Find It Inspiring: Most people can’t relate to fighting space aliens or soaring through the galaxy, but many of us know what it’s like to overcome psychological hardships. Jessica Cruz has the deck stacked against her as she struggles to overcome a devastating anxiety disorder, but she never stops fighting. This inspirational single-issue story is a defining tale for Jessica that also offers some greatly needed representation for the 18% of our population that suffers from anxiety.
Gods of Gotham
Ares sets his sights on Gotham and has his offspring take control of Batman’s greatest enemies. Wonder Woman helps the Bat-Family fight them off, but the situation takes a turn for the worse when the Dark Knight is put under the God of War’s control.
Where to Read It: 2000’s Wonder Woman #164-167
Why We Find It Inspiring: We’ve always known Diana is one of the greatest warriors in the DC Universe, but you’ve never seen anything like her confrontation with Batman in this story’s final chapter. Wonder Woman is able to resolve the conflict without using her lasso and without drawing any blood. Just when it looks like Ares has the upper hand, Wonder Woman uses strength and diplomacy to save the Dark Knight and end the conflict in Gotham.
When it Rains, God is Crying
For Lois Lane, nothing is more important than getting her story. Emotions don’t factor into it…usually. But when Lois uncovers a child abduction ring, she finds herself putting everything she has into exposing the horrors around her and recovering the missing children.
Where to Read It: 1986’s Lois Lane #1-2
Why We Find It Inspiring: This overlooked limited series gets to the heart of who Lois Lane is and her never-ending quest to find the truth. Her well-known husband is largely absent from this story, proving that Lois can kick butt all by herself. As a bonus, this limited series was written by Mindy Newell, who broke new ground for female writers in the comic book industry at the time.
After witnessing a fight between Superman and Mongul, Naomi McDuffie learns that her small town was visited by a super-powered individual once before, right around the time she was born. As she seeks to uncover all she can about this incident, a curious question emerges. Naomi’s always wondered about her birth parents. Could this mysterious figure have been one of them?
Why We Find it Inspiring: Young women deserve to feel empowered too, and it’s hard not to be inspired, moved and delighted by Naomi’s surprising story. Facing a supportive, but dull, life in a quiet Northwestern community, Naomi dreams of more, but it’s her drive and determination to seek out the truth about an event that everyone seems determined to bury that we find truly worthy of admiration.
What's your favorite female empowerment story? Which female DC Super Hero do you find most inspiring? Let us know your thoughts over in the DC Community!
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.