The L ady K ill ers
Bonnie Burton speaks up for female bounty hunters
For as long as there have been fugitives there have been bounty hunters. Bad guys don’t stand a chance of making a clean getaway if a talented man or woman can track their every move, sling a pair of handcuffs on them and bring them in to face justice. Bounty hunters seem to have made their mark even more profoundly in our favourite books, comics, videogames and movies than they have in the real world. In fact, some of the most beloved characters in sci- fi happen to be criminal chasers for hire. But for some reason, bounty hunters always seem to be remembered as men, when there are actually some very impressive women in sci- fi who can bring in the bounty just as well as the lads. Personally, I’ve always had a special appreciation for women who can become successful in a career dominated by men. And being a bounty hunter definitely qualifies as a gig full of guys.
My first glimpse of what a job as a female bounty hunter must be like is when I saw Jinx in the ’ 80s cartoon series GI Joe. She discovered she had family ties to a secret group of ninjas called Arashikage Clan that took her in and trained her in deadly martial arts. She’s later recruited into the GI Joe team and from there goes on covert operations to keep America safe from the evil Cobra. After the team dismantles, she’s a free agent bounty hunter.
I always admired Jinx because she never let anyone treat her like she was second- rate compared to the men on her team. She was an equal, and quite frankly had better martial arts fighting skills than all of the guys put together. You don’t mess with a lady who knows how to administer a move like “Eye That Pierces”.
Up next is Samus Aran from the 1986 Nintendo videogame Metroid. As with many heroes, her backstory is tragic. She’s orphaned at a young age, but instead of playing the victim decides to take her destiny into her own hands and train as a warrior. Samus doesn’t always follow the rules but she isn’t afraid to fight the enemy, now matter how dangerous.
Samus becomes an almost indestructible killer after being infused with Chozo DNA. She’s also equipped with a deadly arm- cannon and exoskeleton armour called the Power Suit. As a former Federation Police officer, she now makes a living as a freelance bounty hunter, tracking space pirates and parasite Metroids.
Not all female bounty hunters are working for the good guys, though. One of the coolest Star Wars characters, Asajj Ventress, happens to be working for the Dark Side. She may have started out with the Nightsisters – a group of women with mysterious powers – but she was trained in the ways of the Force and has a hatred for the Jedi Order. This leads to becoming a bounty hunter and assassin for Count Dooku all throughout the Clone Wars where she has been tasked with hunting down Obi- Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.
These are only a few of the amazing female bounty hunters who have made a deep impression on those of us who want more than just a boys’ club in sci- fi. Hopefully, they’ll inspire the next wave of filmmakers, comic book writers, novelists, game designers and storytellers to create even more female bounty hunters who might just make us want to grab a lightsaber or arm cannon, and chase after criminals on the run.
“there are women in SF who bring in the bounty just as well as the lads”