Women are getting more and more into comics these days, whether it be as comic book readers or by enjoying superhero movies and video games. Marvel in particular is finding itself with an explosively growing female fan base in part because it remembers to make comics both dramatic and fun, and in part because of the great female superheroes who grace Marvel’s lineup. Here are my top picks for Marvel’s most kickass female superheroes – check them out and post your faves in the comments!
10. Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan)
Kamala Khan is an up-and-coming superhero and a great role model for young women. Since her debut last year, she’s been coming to terms with her role as an Inhuman as well as dealing with the very human issues she encounters growing up in her Muslim-American family. After being a fangirl of The Avengers throughout her youth, this new Ms. Marvel is about to become an Avenger herself. I imagine it’s time for her to kick some major ass now that’s she’s in the big leagues.
9. Black Widow (Natasha Romanov)
Black Widow Natasha Romanov is a villain-turned-hero. Originally part of a secret KGB program in which young girls were brainwashed to be deadly spies and combatants, Romanov was able to break free of her conditioning, defect from the Soviet Union, and become a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and Avenger. Black Widow’s story is one of redemption, and her heartbreak is that no matter how much good she does, she never feels like she’s made up for her days as a cold-blooded killer. Nonetheless, her many skills make her an invaluable agent and her heroic actions speak for themselves.
8. Captain Marvel (Carol Danverse)
Formerly Ms. Marvel, ace pilot and superhero Carol Danverse has now donned the mantle of Captain Marvel. She’s probably the most traditional superhero on this list, with her super-strength and ability to fly at mach speed. Captain Marvel’s military prowess, can-do attitude, and zest for exploration that leads her to the stars also hearken back to the World War II era of comics, and I think that’s just dandy.
Hey, nobody said there couldn’t be villains on this list. In the comics, Nebula is a pirate. In the Cinematic Universe, she’s a cyborg. Cyborg pirate. Excellent. I frankly thought Nebula was a more interesting character than her sister Gamora in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and I especially like the badass scene where she rips off her own cybernetic arm in order to live to fight another day. I can’t wait to see how she’s further developed in Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
I love a good anti-hero, and it feels like there aren’t many out there of the female variety. Elektra certainly counts, skirting the line between good and evil as she learns that sometimes love just isn’t enough. She just can’t force herself to be the person she’d have to become in order to stay with Daredevil Matt Murdock, so instead she works as a trained assassin and the leader of her very own squad of death ninjas. You better believe you’re in trouble if Elektra tells you to talk to the Hand.
Rogue is one of the most popular X-Men for a reason. Cursed with the deadly and uncontrollable ability to absorb the essence and power of others, Rogue has overcome countless trials with determination and panache. Although dangerous, her powers are practically limitless, but she doesn’t let that get to her head. Instead, she carefully chooses her side in the many Marvel Universe conflicts, driven by a strong personal sense of morality.
4. She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters)
Brains and brawn combine in one spectacularly kickass package with She-Hulk. Unlike He-Hulk Bruce Banner, She-Hulk retains control of her personality and intellect when transformed. She’s also a practicing lawyer who has learned to appreciate what she has to offer as both superhero and attorney. Whether stomping supervillain butt or kicking ass in the courtroom as a specialist in Superhuman Law, She-Hulk can’t be beat.
X-Man Storm is one of our most enduring comic heroes. She’s one of the most powerful mutants in existence, with her weather-manipulating powers limited only by the limits of her body and her imagination – and over the years, Storm has been very imaginative. She’s not only a powerful combatant, she’s a strong leader and a compassionate mentor. Storm seeks to protect others over all else, and without her, Earth’s mutants might have been wiped out many times.
2. Peggy Carter
Peggy Carter has no superpowers. Peggy Carter doesn’t need any superpowers. She, in her Marvel Cinematic Universe version, is a trained fighter, a charismatic leader, a super-spy, and a founder of S.H.I.E.L.D. She’s capable of unraveling complex Hydra plots, taking out bad guys by dropping on their heads Assassin’s Creed-style, leading the Howling Commandos, and rocking a super-sweet hat. What can’t Peggy do?
1. Squirrel Girl
Go ahead, try to claim that Squirrel Girl isn’t the most kickass Marvel character. I will fight you.
Doreen Green, the perky, optimistic Squirrel Girl, has beaten more Marvel villains than just about anyone. She’s bested Dr. Doom, Maelstrom, M.O.D.O.K., Thanos, Fin Fang Foom, Bi-Beast, and Deadpool, to name a few. She’s even stopped Galactus from destroying the Earth using the power of friendship.
How does Squirrel Girl manage to kick so much ass? Creativity and taking advantage of the enemy’s overconfidence. Managing to take the world’s greatest villains down a notch with nothing but a plucky attitude and squirrel-themed powers? Now that’s the definition of kickass.