The 10 best female action heroes – in pictures

04/23/2012 11:30 am ET | Updated Apr 23, 2012

Two fistfuls of badass ladies precede Scarlett Johansson, whose Black Widow takes to the screen in Avengers Assemble next week

Claire Bennet

Before the US drama Heroes turned into a confusing, meandering mess (cancelled in 2010), it was for one series brilliant TV. In this tale of handsome global citizens who discover they've got special abilities, 16-year-old Claire (Hayden Panettiere, above) was the best character. Early on we saw her mangle a hand in a rubbish shredder and watch, with perfect teenage impassivity, as her body magically healed itself. She went on to use her power exactly as any 21st-century kid would: she videoed herself jumping off an 80ft-high building. Later, she employed her talents more benevolently, saving a civilian from a fire

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