Let’s face it– the guys get all the glory
We love our super-men (not to be confused with Superman), they do great work saving the world and all — but sometimes we want a different perspective. The good news is Marvel has recently been creating and promoting a wide cast of amazing female characters in their comics. These women are from all walks of life, and from many different races and backgrounds.
If you watch the MCU (which let’s face it, pretty much all of us do), you might notice a distinct lack of female presence. For a long while we only had Black Widow. That was it. Then they introduced Gamora, Scarlet Witch, and later Valkyrie. Black Panther opened the door to some incredible women, most notably Shuri and Okoye. But, when compared to the endless waves of men that crash into the hero and sidekick scene again and again, it becomes obvious that women have been given side roles to their male counterparts. This seems like a travesty to us, given all the incredible women Marvel has created.
Not to mention the first female-led Marvel movie (Captain Marvel) keeps getting pushed back (which we’ve griped about before, so moving on). We think it’s time to give some love to the women of Marvel who haven’t been getting enough attention as of late. These are the heroes we feel deserve a little more celebration, in no particular order.
Miss America (America Chavez)
America Chavez is pretty much a shoe-in for a lead role. She has super strength, super durability, and can straight up kick holes in reality. What more could you ask for from a superhero? But wait, that wasn’t enough — she can do more. She can move at superhuman speeds and she developed the ability to punch people into stardust. Like literal star fragments. Not to mention she is an LGBT advocate and is only attracted to women. She shared a kiss with a male teammate early on, but when asked about this she dismisses it as experimentation.
She finds her place in the Teen Brigade (which is a bit of a lame duck as far as team names go) and helps them protect the multiverse with her abilities. She has helped stop a myriad of villains and even stopped the Young Masters of Evil (another sort of lackluster team name) from recruiting Kid Loki.
America is often overlooked probably because she doesn’t hold a permanent spot on any major Marvel team (and other reasons). Sure the Teen Brigade is great, but with her powers? We think she deserves a spot on the Avengers. She will be getting a little more recognition in the coming months as Marvel revealed she will be one of the characters featured in their upcoming animated movie, Marvel Rising: Secret Missions. That film will actually feature several of the characters on this list.
Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan)
Kamala was the first Muslim-American lead in a Marvel comic and she does that lofty position justice. She was created with the understanding, readers were sick of the over-sexualization of female leads. Her comics were crafted to appeal to Marvel’s female audiences as well as their male ones, marking a change in the direction of the publisher.
The teenage girl has to navigate being a kid, spending time with her family, school, and being a superhero all at once. And more importantly, the consequences of all of those things at the same time. She, in many ways, mirrors Spider-man: a teen hero who has great powers, thrown into a battle while they struggle to balance the challenges of adolescence. Her stories are of self-discovery and finding your own path. She also struggles to come to terms with the fact the people she idolizes are just people, and not beyond reproach.
She has quickly become a fan favorite for her relatable personality and her awkwardness as she tries to become a hero. Her powers include shapeshifting and increased healing — both of which make her one powerful inhuman. While she is starting to move up the ranks and more into the mainstream (she will also be in Marvel Rising: Secret Missions), we think this groundbreaking hero deserves a lot more attention.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
It says why you should appreciate her right in her name. Even Doctor Doom doesn’t mess with Squirrel Girl. She is one of those characters who was given ridiculous powers and found a way to make it work in her favor. We adore how she works with what she’s got to make the best of bad situations. Time and time again her foes underestimate her, much to their own detriment.
Squirrel Girl is an interesting case because she’s not a mutant — though she thought she was for a long time. Her ability to talk to squirrels and her prehensile tail seems to be caused by something else altogether. She has a knack for befriending others with her excitable and outgoing personality — including Galactus (yes, that Galactus).
Squirrel Girl will be getting her place among, like, half of this list in the upcoming Marvel Rising: Secret Missions, but that’s not enough. This is a character who makes pretty much every major Marvel villain run. She has defeated Mysterion, Thanos, MODOK, and even heroes like Deadpool and Wolverine. She deserves more attention — so here is a little bit to boost her reputation.
Okay, look — she took over Wolverine’s job. You don’t do that if you’re not a BAMF. But let’s move back a bit and look at her for who she is. X-23 is a clone of Wolverine who was created to be the perfect killing machine — and for many years, she was. She worked with a group called the Facility until she escaped. Tragedy after tragedy led her to Wolverine and then the X-Men. There, she blossomed into a member of the X-Force and proved she is just as awesome as the original. Eventually, Wolverine adopted her as his daughter.
X-23 has the same healing factor as Wolverine along with his enhanced senses and reflexes. She has two adamantium covered claws on each hand and one in each foot (way to one-up the old man). Her abuses at the hands of the Facility and the tragedies she suffered after make her as cagy and stubborn as Wolverine himself, but she tries to overcome it.
In recent canon, X-23 has finally begun to receive more recognition. She appeared in the recent INCREDIBLE film Logan as her younger self, and in the comics, she took up the mantle of Wolverine when he passed away. We love seeing more of this heroine in action, and while she has received more than most on this list — we always think there could be more.
Hawkeye (Kate Bishop)
Kate Bishop was just a rich girl, but after a really tragic backstory (Marvel, we don’t condone the use of rape as a plot device, and neither should you), she decides to train herself so she will never be taken advantage of again. When she is trapped as a hostage in a bank heist gone wrong, she ends up getting saved by the Young Avengers. Deciding she wants to know more, she tracks them to the ruins of the ruined Avengers facility and proceeds to stalk Iron Man through it — without being caught. That’s some serious swagger right there.
She goes on to rescue the Young Avengers when the Avengers lock them up (to protect them from themselves, of course). She convinces Young Justice to stay together (even when the Avengers try to break up the band), and uses her privilege as the heiress to a publisher’s fortune to get them new gear and a place to use as their headquarters.
She has no superpowers, just incredible skill with a bow. Clint even admits she’s one of the greatest bowmen to ever live. She is level-headed and focused, making her a huge asset to her team. Honestly, how is no one talking about Kate Bishop? She needs to be everywhere. We love Clint Barton, but make room for Kate.
If you think having one Hulk as a secret weapon is great, how about two? Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk, is Bruce Banner’s cousin. She is a very skilled lawyer and was shot on the job. In order to save her life, she had an emergency transfusion from Bruce — unfortunately, that came with some “minor” side effects. See, Bruce’s irradiated blood brought the Hulk with it — or at least some of the Hulk.
Jennifer got lucky though — unlike the Hulk, she gets to keep her intelligence and emotional control. She just becomes a giant, very strong, very green woman. Eventually, the transformation becomes permanent and she is forced to live her life in green.
She-Hulk has been in just about every major team that Marvel has ever created, and yet she is often forgotten next to the Hulk. She is a far more capable team member as she rarely loses control, and is far better at following orders. Why Marvel hasn’t chosen to catapult her into the MCU we can’t even begin to fathom. We just know that the waiting must be making her angry — and no one wants that.
Moon Girl (and Devil Dinosaur)
Alright, Moon Girl is straight up described as the smartest character in the existing Marvel universe. She’s smarter than Tony Stark and Bruce Banner — and oh yeah, did we mention she’s only nine years old? This little African American girl could probably talk circles around S.H.I.E.L.D.’s top scientists, so if you don’t think she belongs on this list then you are wrong. Not to mention she teams up with a giant red T-rex named Devil Dinosaur.
You don’t often tap a nine-year-old to be on an underrated hero list, but she makes the cut. Her connection with Devil Dino alone would be enough to earn our mad respect, but she goes above and beyond. She is constantly creating gadgets to find her way through situations adults would struggle with. Due to her age, people constantly underestimate her — at least until her backup arrives.
Her comic is awesome and you should check it out right now. Right. Now. In great news, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur are getting a cartoon! We don’t know when it will come out yet, but you can bet we will be watching it.
Misty was an NYPD officer who left the force after she suffered a catastrophic injury preventing a bomb attack that ended in the loss of her arm. She graduated top of her class and is an incredible detective. Eventually, Iron Man gave her a bionic limb to replace the lost appendage that granted her inhuman strength and allowed her to become a superhero.
She was just a woman who was given some tech and uses the skills she already has to better the world around her. She continued the mission she had in the NYPD, to protect the people. She was such a skilled martial artist that Iron Fist fell for her (in love, not on his face). Her arm is also in-freaking-credible. At close range, it can liquefy any known metal — including adamantium. It can also create beams of ice which reduce the durability of items it strikes.
Misty is the sort of woman who works hard to protect people. She understands that just because she suffered a setback doesn’t mean she should give up. She pushes forward through hardships and for that, we think she deserves more attention. We could all use more role models like Misty Knight.
The spiritual successor to Tony Stark. Riri Williams builds her own suit, similar to Iron Man’s, with no outside help. Oh yeah, and she does it at 15 years old. This African American genius is just as stubborn and willful as Tony was — But she’s no cut-rate follow up. Riri is fully her own character, and she stands tall against the threats to her home.
Her suit gained enough attention that Tony Stark himself came to assess her abilities and endorsed her heroic efforts. When he fell into a coma, she developed a better suit under the guidance of a Tony Stark AI (Coolest. Mentor. Ever.) and took up her title of Ironheart.
Ironheart hasn’t been around for too long, but we want her to take off (and not just with the suit). We aren’t sure where the MCU is going — but if it’s going where we think it might be, maybe she could take up the mantle of Iron Man in the current canon.
There are a few things the movies forget when it comes to Sif, and while we were glad to see her on the big screen, we think she doesn’t get enough credit. She is not just one of Thor’s pals. She is a fully fledged Goddess and stands as her own hero. Her brother, in the comics, was was Heimdal — which is pretty freaking awesome. She is considered the strongest woman in Asgard and that is a big deal when you’re talking about gods.
Sif possesses the same strengths of all Asgardians. She has super strength, speed, dexterity, durability, and so on. She also — like her brother — can travel between planes of existence on a whim. She can traverse between Earth and Asgard faster than the speed of thought…which we assume is a little less than the speed of light, but we aren’t entirely sure.
Sif has been kicking butt and taking names almost as long as Thor. She has been at his side through thick and thin until she split off to have her own adventures. She could absolutely star in her own movie, and we would watch the heck out of it.