Yesterday, we unveiled a list of some DC Comics women who we believe have potential that should really be explored. Now we’re looking at ladies of the Marvel Comics universe. Obviously, there are already some powerful female superheroes such as Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel and several members of the Avengers and X-teams. But there are still other women, good and evil, who seem to be stuck on the sidelines and really shouldn’t be.
Check out the list after the break…
FIRST APPEARANCE: Uncanny X-Men vol. 1 #366 (1999)
CREATED BY: Alan Davis
This lady is still largely a mystery. Introduced in the late 1990’s, readers were told that she was actually Magneto’s first soldier and recruit in his war against humanity. While Nightcrawler can usually only teleport a few miles at a time, the woman called Astra can transport herself across interstellar distances. With this incredible mutant power, she visited alien worlds and stole advanced technology, using it to arm herself and Magneto. But she didn’t stick around because she didn’t really care about mutant domination. She just wanted wealth.
Astra has shown up a few times since her first appearance and was then imprisoned. But recently, we saw that she escaped her cell and is now at large. Astra’s lack of remorse and her ability to teleport would make her a fun and frustrating baddie. She could conceivably pop into Iron Man’s armory, Dr. Doom’s lab and the vaults of Asgard and just take whatever she wants to make herself into a one woman army. If the heroes came close to beating her, she could pop away to another planet and just lay low for a while. The fact that she wants riches rather than world domination would also make her entertaining and different from a lot of super-villain powerhouses and X-Men enemies.
FIRST APPEARANCE: Daredevil vol. 2 #9 (1999)
CREATED BY: David Mack and Joe Quesada
Willie “Wild Horse” Lincoln was a criminal working with Wilson Fisk AKA the Kingpin of Crime in NYC. The Kingpin had Lincoln killed and then took in his daughter Maya Lopez. Deaf and introverted, Maya was mistakenly believed to have a mental disability until she proved that she was actually a prodigy gifted with “photographic reflexes.” If she sees an expert pianist play, watches a ballerina or studies a martial arts display, she can almost perfectly duplicate those abilities (there’s some give and take depending on how Maya’s strength, weight and mass differ). As an adult, Maya was told by the Kingpin that Daredevil had killed her father and she went after him, nearly defeating him in combat. She later learned the truth and became Daredevil’s ally.
Echo was a really interesting character and a great move for representation. She had a disability but still kicked ass alongside people like Spider-Man and Captain America. Rather than stick with the Avengers though, she became the love interest character in the series Moon Knight and was then killed during a battle with the villain Count Nefaria. Lame! What a waste of potential that was barely explored. We gain nothing interesting from her death and could gain a lot from her life. What’s more, Echo may have a role in the upcoming Netflix Daredevil series for all we know. So let’s bring her back to the Marvel Universe already and see what she can do!
FIRST APPEARANCE: Captain America vol. 1 #431 (1994)
CREATED BY: Mark Gruenwald and Dave Hoover
Cathy Webster was a grad student who unwittingly became the test subject of an experiment by the villain Superia. Thanks to mutagenic radiation, Cathy’s body was altered so that she became a modern day version of Steve Rogers AKA Captain America, her strength, speed, agility and resistance to injury all pushed to peak efficiency (And wow, there’s a lot of 90’s in that costume).
Let’s think about this for a second. In Marvel Comics, there have been various attempts to replicate Operation: Rebirth, which turned Steve Rogers into a star-spangled super-soldier, but the results have always been a bit off. The person’s mind deteriorates or their body mutates in bad ways. No one has perfectly matched Captain America’s results . . . except for Cathy! As “Free Spirit,” she got some moderate combat training with Captain America before they parted company. Since then, she’s barely been seen. But what if she intensified her training and got herself a new costume? This lady could seriously rock out as a super-soldier for a new generation!
FIRST APPEARANCE: New Mutants vol. 2 #1 (2003)
CREATED BY: Nunzio DeFillipis, Christina Weir and Keron Grant
Sofia Mantegna grew up cheerful and confident in Caracas, Venezuela. Then her mother died and she was sent to a father she didn’t really know and an American high school where her optimism and accent made her a target. At Xavier’s school, she became co-leader of the New Mutants team, rocking out her ability to manipulate air and wind in a variety of ways, lifting her into the sky or slicing through metal with compressed currents.
During M-Day, a couple hundred mutants on Earth lost their X-gene powers. Wind Dancer was one of them and left the school. But her confidence and character flaws (sometimes she bottles things up rather than talk about them) ensured she wasn’t forgotten. Donning some high-tech weapons, she worked with the New Warriors for a while before that version of the team disbanded. Whether you restore her powers or let her continue as a high-tech warrior dealing with the loss of her abilities, Wind Dancer could still have a place in the Marvel Universe as a hero lots of readers can relate to.
FIRST APPEARANCE: New Warriors #28 (1992)
CREATED BY: Evan Skolnick, Dwight Coye and James Brock
So Marvel had this comic for a while featuring a spaceknight named Rom. He fought evil shape-shifting aliens called Dire Wraith who at one point tried to counter his tech by creating a suit of armor. This armor was then used by Brock Jones, who became the hero called Torpedo. He later died in action. Some time after that, the armor was found by young Mike Jeffries. He and his friend Mickey Musashi took turns using the suit to be a superhero called “Turbo.” Sadly, Mike later died in action and Mickey, who had initially been reluctant to fight crime and risk her life, dedicated herself to being the kind of hero that would make him proud.
Mickey has shown up from time to time as Turbo since Mike’s death. She became a journalist and led a support group for retired teen heroes. She also joined the Avengers Academy for a while. But Mickey’s interesting enough to stand on her own. You could have her continue to be a hero, wrestling with trying to live up to the example of veteran heroes while also guiding some younger folks. Or you could have her find a new person who may be more of a natural fit for the role, another young woman whom Mickey could mentor so she doesn’t make the same mistakes.
FIRST APPEARANCE: Amazing Fantasy vol. 2 #1 (2004)
CREATED BY: Fiona Avery and Mark Brooks
Call her Araña. Call her Spider-Girl. Either way, she is freaking adorable. Based on ideas from writer J. Michael Straczynksi, Anya was introduced as a high school freshman who was recruited to be the “Hunter” avatar of the Spider Society, a group of mystics. Branded by their spider emblem, Anya gained powers and armor. Inspired by heroes such as Spider-Man, Anya went off to be the superhero Araña. Later, she lost her powers, but decided that was no excuse to stop helping people. She got a new costume, called herself Spider-Girl, and continued her heroism while tweeting about her escapades for anyone interested.
It wasn’t all fun and games for Anya, though. She suffered real loss following her decision to risk her life for others. But that hasn’t weakened her resolve or darkened her idealism. That’s a great character to see, a mature and fun-loving teen hero who can experience darkness but not let it take her down. Since her series was cancelled, Anya has continued to make appearances in various other comics, working with the Avengers, Spider-Man and Young Allies. But that’s not enough for this Spider-Girl fan. The lady deserves another chance to swing on her own in a solo series.
FIRST APPEARANCE: Avengers Academy #20 (2011)
CREATED BY: Christos Gage and Tom Raney
Sister of the original hero called White Tiger, Ava Ayala is a teen dedicated to acting as a heroic example to the Hispanic community. thanks to the mystical tiger amulet she inherited, she’s a martial artist with enhanced physical traits. Ava takes the legacy of the White Tiger seriously and is constantly looking to improve herself through further training.
Along with being a student in the Avengers Academy, Ava was recently seen with the Heroes for Hire group. She’s been getting attention as a cast member of the cartoon series Ultimate Spider-Man, so maybe it’s time to let her stand on her own in a mini or ongoing series. We’ve had a lot of teen heroes who are jokesters or slackers and have to learn to step up and take responsibility. It might be a nice change of pace to see a teen girl who takes her studies seriously and struggles to balance her school work with a superhero life and her self-imposed obligations as a role model.
FIRST APPEARANCE: Tales of Suspense #75 (1966)
CREATED BY: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers
S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carter is the niece of Captain America’s World War II ally Peggy Carter (originally she was supposed to be Peggy’s younger sister, but sometimes comics change timelines so characters don’t age too much). As “Agent 13,” Sharon worked alongside Steve on several missions and helped him save the world. This led to a romantic relationship, but then she was killed in action. Years later, writer Mark Waid realized hey, that’s dumb, Sharon rocks. He revealed she’d never died, leading Sharon to become a bigger, more bad-ass force for justice and counter-terrorism in the Marvel Universe. For a time, she succeeded Nick Fury as Executive Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and she also served as a member of the black ops team Secret Avengers.
But recently she died again. I know, I know, it was a heroic sacrifice to protect the Earth. Don’t care. Killing her is dumb. Sharon was one of just a few characters who made S.H.I.E.L.D. seem really formidable rather than just a clean-up crew for superheroes. Now that she’s also appeared in the film Captain America: The Winter Soldier and could wind up in future films, why would we remove her from the Marvel Universe? Let’s reveal she didn’t die (again) because she was teleported away or time travel or because the Infinity Gauntlet grants wishes and get Sharon back into the field already.