Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, and Beyond: 12 female superheroes worth knowing about
Girls around the world celebrate! Captain Marvel is finally here, and we’re very excited to see the growing number of extraordinary female superheroes on the big screen.
But why stop there? We’ve collected a list of female superheroes from TV, comics, and graphic novels that kick butt just as well as Captain Marvel.
Faith Herbert aka Zephyr (from the Valiant Universe)
Faith is a superhero for comic book nerds, because she is a comic book nerd herself. Which is why she’s one of the only heroes among her friends in the series to adopt a secret identity. This plus-sized superhero is jubilant, kind, relatable, and a giant fan of Doctor Who. Can you say crossover material? She’s got the ability to fly and can create force fields that she uses to do things like telekinesis, and is definitely an original and refreshing character worth looking up to.
America Chavez aka Miss America
“She’s beauty, she’s grace, she’ll punch you in the face.” Born to two superhero moms (who died tragically when she was young) Miss America wandered the Multiverse until she came into her own as a superhero. From then on, she was just about unstoppable. She’s been a member of the Teen Brigade, Young Avengers, and the Ultimates, and on top of that is quick witted and has some amazing one-liners. She’s been described as a “nearly indestructible superwoman”, and with her recent costume upgrade, she’s the ultimate cosplay-able Latina superhero.
Move over Hawkeye, Mockingbird is our new no-powers fave. She was once an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and was even married to Hawkeye for a short period of time. But this superhero can stand alongside the likes of the Avengers, and it’s said her unarmed combat can rival that of Captain America’s. She’s fought ghosts, been raised from the dead, was pitted against the Avenger’s by the Grim Reaper, and made a heroic comeback to join the fight for the good guys once more. With a story arc like this, you’ll never run out of reading material.
This one’s for the teens. And her name does not disappoint. Big Barda has awe-inspiring height and power, and the sass to match. She’s a reversal of the stereotype, as she is much more powerful than and protective over her husband, and is not afraid to use her full force in a fight. She’s helped out the Justice League, and was the heavy-hitter in Birds of Prey (look for that film coming out next year!), and strikes a fair bit of envy with the way she adorns herself. Matching breast plate and horned helmet? Count us in.
Adrienne Ashe aka Princeless
And this one is for the tweens! Save herself- that’s what Adrienne decided to do when her parents locked her away in a tower guarded by a dragon so she could wait for a knight in shining armour to come rescue her. But she wasn’t going to sit around and wait for a handsome prince to show up, she leapt from the tower and took the action into her own hands! This is an awesome short series of graphic novels that flies in the face of princess tropes and encourages young girls to get out there and be their own heroes.
Thor: Goddess of Thunder
The long haired Chris Hemsworth Thor we know and love has fallen, and he is no longer worthy to wield his hammer Mjolnir. But Asgard is under attack, and someone has to save them. Enter: Thor aka Jane Foster. That’s right, the girl Thor fell for on Earth. But she’s got a complex path from here on out: she’s dying of cancer, Thor is trying to take back his hammer, S.H.I.E.L.D. is claiming she’s a double agent, and she’s on the run from Odin. This well-known character revival is definitely worth your time.
Believe it or not, this superhero is the most powerful character in the Marvel Universe. She’s got squirrel-related superpowers, a big bushy tail, and a squirrel army that helped her defeat Doctor Doom, Thanos, and many other uber-powerful supervillains. So don’t scoff, because her unbeatable awesomeness earned her her own Avengers team, The West Coast Avengers. She’s no-nonsense about being half squirrel, is geeky and unique, and gets bonus points for her comics including one of the few transgender superheroes: Koi Boi.
Ayo and Aneka
They started out as members of Blank Panther’s royal bodyguard, but quickly fell in love and formed a feminist uprising. While these two aren’t technically portrayed as superheroes, the duo are certainly not supervillains. They’re more like vigilante heroes. This queer couple’s story line is complex and refreshing: they are poised in a time of political upheaval and must rely on each other to make it through. This is definitely a Wakanda storyline worth the deep dive.
In the past 10 years of the Superhero Blockbuster era, Jubilee has only had one brief appearance in the X-Men Universe: played by Lana Condor (of To All The Boys I Loved Before) in X-Men:Apocalypse. But she’s well deserving of her own movie. Born to Chinese immigrants, she can harness electricity to create explosions. Despite her delinquent upbringing, she’s kind and welcoming, and was chosen as the face of Professor X’s school. If this sounds like the hero for you, fret not: she may only be a minor character in the movie but is much more prevalent in the comic books. Bonus fact: The Empire Strikes Back is her favourite Star Wars movie.
She’s already got her own TV series, and is slowly becoming a household name, and is definitely not one to overlook. Oh yes, she’s from Krypton just like Superman, but she isn’t the same charming well mannered superhero he is. She came to earth as a teen, and is all attitude and rebellion as she’s been thrust into this world she is now forced to protect. She also has a red Power Ring that is charged by rage – something she has a lot of and isn’t entirely able to control. Supergirl is a much more complex female character than meets the eye, which we’re very much here for.
When Tony Stark can no-longer wear the Iron Man suit, Riri Williams takes over. She’s ultra-smart and talented, and managed to build her own suit with the help of an AI version of Tony Stark all at the age of 15. She’s been known to team with some of the Avengers and Marvel characters who stood alongside Tony Stark, and is able to hold her own against many of Iron Man’s villains. This young black teen is a refreshing revamp for the character who started it all for the Marvel films franchise.
HONORABLE MENTION: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
So she’s not a superhero, per se. But this teenage Vampire Slayer kicked butt way before any of the Marvel movies. She took on the biggest, baddest vampires all while making it through high school exams and securing a spot on the cheer team. And even though she had some classic teenage problems, she didn’t fall into the classic teen girl tropes. She could stand strong on her own or with the help of her friends and librarian/vampire-fighting-mentor. If you’re up for a nostalgia trip, this is the top of the list without a doubt.
By Olivia Latta