Some teenage girls face bigger questions than whether to sit in the front or back seat — like whether to end you with their incredible superpowers.
Hanna, opening tomorrow, is about a young girl who takes human life the way the rest of us go through potato chips. But there are lots of other lethal teenagers out there. Here's our list of teenage girls who can slaughter you without a second thought. Warning: They're stone-cold killers.
Note: We didn't include teenage girls who could kill if they wanted to — just ones who are actual murderers.
The female counterpart to Captain Marvel was a total goody-two-shoes — until she got turned evil during the Countdown comics. She took on the powers of Black Adam, the evil counterpart of Captain Marvel, and turned a bunch of soldiers into stone, effectively murdering them. You can tell she's evil in the photo at left, because her lightning bolt has cleavage in it.
Xena's stalwart sidekick and soul mate fought alongside her for six seasons, after starting out as a farm girl and slave to the warlord Draco. Unfortunately, Gabrielle does take human life — including the wrong person's, in the case of the episode "Legacy," where Gabrielle mistakenly slaughters an innocent person and is sentenced to death by croquet mallet.
Rebecca Buck is a tank pilot and bounty hunter, working for a mysterious organization — until she becomes an outlaw after shooting a heavily decorated officer she had mistaken for her father, and failing to deliver a parcel of colostomy bags to an incontinent Australian Head of State, leading to a humiliating international trade conference. Tank Girl owns the largest collection of novelty pencil sharpeners in the world and has a mutant kangaroo for a boyfriend. She can also outrun any ice cream van.
She's a 16-year-old race car and motocross driver, who's regarded as the toughest Sailor Scout in our solar system. Under the influence of Galaxia, she turned traitor and killed Sailor Saturn and Sailor Pluto, by removing their star seeds, the source of their power. Then she, in turn, rebelled against Galaxia and was killed — only to be brought back later after Sailor Moon defeated Galaxia.
She's sort of the Bizarro distaff twin of Wolverine, created from a faulty version of Logan's genes. And she's a super-assassin who takes out dozens of opponents in one encounter. She is sent to kill Dr. Martin Sutter and his wife, and kills them without hesitation — but spares their young son. She even kills puppies!
The "heroine" of the brutal manga series Elfen Lied is a teenage mutant who's been persecuted and experimented on humans — so she has no problem with slaughtering people in droves with her mental abilities. Sometimes, she tortures people before she kills them. Although she develops a childlike, gentle alternate personality named "Nyu."
She was raised as an assassin, and had her first kill when she was still quite young — but then Batman and Oracle redeemed her and made her the new Batgirl. Until, of course, she turned evil again and becomes a neck-snapping murder-junkie. Although she seems to have been redeemed again, as of late. Thanks omgwtflolbbqbye!
Buffy's foil and fellow vampire slayer accidentally kills a human — and apparently feels no remorse over it. She goes on to use her Slayer powers to kill other humans at the behest of the Mayor of Sunnydale, before finally reforming a bit.
After her brother is murdered, and her hand is cut off by the Yakuza, high school student Ami Hyuga replaces it with a machine gun and embarks on a violent quest for revenge. There are also other teenage "heroines" of recent Japanese gore movies, such as Vampire Girl in Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl.
The heroine of the Hunger Games is really good with a bow and arrow, but she's also a stone-cold tactician, who survives the brutal gladitorial combat by outthinking her more privileged opponents — and on occasion, murdering them with a well-placed death trap. In the third book, Mockingjay, she finally cuts loose and starts gunning people down right and left.
We're not really sure if Kill Bill's heightened reality qualifies it as science fiction or fantasy, but it's worth mentioning this lethal school girl. Also, her spiritual cousin, Takako Chigusa, from Battle Royale.
The teenage vampire from The Vampire Diaries has taken several lives in her early rampages, including that of the cute sound-system boy that her friend Bonnie was macking. See also: Harmony from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and various other teen vampire girls.
The teen werewolf in Ginger Snaps isn't just interested in playing basketball or lacrosse — she's a deadly monster, who kills her sister's boyfriend in front of her and is happy to kill anyone else who gets in her way.
The main character of Stephen King's Carrie does not appreciate having people play pranks on her at the high school prom — and her reaction to it is electrifying.
I'm not sure if she kills any humans, but the heroine of Friday the 13th VII: The New Blood uses her telekinesis to electrocute, immolate and hang Jason Voorhees.
One of the main characters in the comic book series Body Bags, Panda is a fourteen-year old bounty hunter and professional assassin.
The heroine of Hack/Slash is dedicated to killing serial killers and monsters — including her own reincarnated mother. Teaming up with Vlad the Meatman, she goes on the road and takes out anyone who preys on young girls.
Sarah Bailey and friends
The teen witches in The Craft are happy to use their superpowers to engineer deadly car accidents and toss Skeet Ulrich out a third-storey window, among other things.
In the movie Deadly Friend, Kristy Swanson is the girl next door — until she's badly injured and has a robot's AI chip implanted into her brain, giving her superhuman strength, and sending her on a violent kill spree. Until finally robot arms burst out of her body at the end and snap her best friend's neck.
The heroine of James Cameron's Dark Angel is a genetically engineered warrior with a bar code on the back of her neck. She's such an effective killer, she made it onto UGO's list of television's best assassins.
Mara Jade Skywalker
She becomes one of Emperor Palpatine's hand-picked assassins, taking out all of his enemies with cold-blooded ease. But later, she came over to Luke Skywalker's side and took out an entire Imperial squadron single-handed.
She's apparently still a teenager when she wastes some Stormtroopers in the original Star Wars. Her mom, Padme Amidala, is also pretty good at the slaughter when circumstances require it.
She doesn't really have superpowers, other than amazing training and some superb hardware. But she's able to kill a ton of people without blinking, and she cusses up a storm at the same time. And she really, really loves her knife.
You knew we had to end here, right? It's not just the presence of River Tam guarantees total victory in any io9 poll — it's also that, yes, she can kill you with her brain. And in one episode, River suddenly develops amazing sharp-shooter powers and kills a bunch of thugs at one go. And then she takes down like a whole army of Reavers armed with a couple of axe thingies.
Additional reporting by Gordon M. Jackson.