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

The 10 best female action heroes – in pictures

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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