Marvel’s Year of the Woman

marvel women2      marvel women

As we are coming to the end of 2014, when I think of Marvel many things come to mind. The epic events, Spider-Verse, Original Sin, and Axis will not be forgotten. This year also brought back some characters back to highlight their own series: Ghost Rider, Loki, Magneto, and Iron Fist. And lest we forget, we had the official return of Peter Parker back to the Marvel Universe. However, all those things aside, what strikes me the most was the predominance of strong female characters that attract both male and female readers alike. Marvel was keenly aware of the push for female characters. At both Wonder Con and Comic Con this year, Marvel had panels devoted to the “Women of Marvel,” and not just for recognizing the excellent writers and artists, but to focus on the characters as well. Let’s review.

The Marvels

170px-Cover_of_Captain_Marvel_1_-_2013

Kelly Sue Deconnick’s run on Captain Marvel has been momentous. She has a devoted fan base, the Carol Corps, and the story arcs have been real page turners. With the growing popularity of Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel, it should not have been a real surprise that Captain Marvel will be the first female lead Marvel movie. I am already pretty psyched about the movie. Now let’s hope they cast Katee Sackhoff for the role!

ms marvel khan

This year also brought about a new Ms Marvel, Kamala Khan the first Muslim character in the Marvel Universe. Her reception amongst critics and fans alike has been quite positive. During the Spider-man panel back at Comic-con, Spider-man writer Dan Slott called her the closest thing to classic Peter Parker in terms of how a teenager comes to grips with new found powers. Ms Khan, an Inhuman, who received shape shifting abilities when the terrigen mist was released from Attilan.   Ms. Khan has already teamed-up with the likes of Wolverine and Spider-man and is likely going to be a mainstay in the Marvel Universe.

The Spiders

silk _spiderman

The greatest burgeoning of new and revitalized female characters, hands-down, came from the Spider-Verse. First from Origin Sin, we found out that Peter wasn’t the only one bit by that radioactive active spider. Cindy Moon, aka Silk, also shared a similar fate. However, unlike Peter, Cindy Moon was kept under wraps from the world. Now in Spider-Verse we know why. She has become irresistible bait for Morlun and his fellow Spider Hunters. To date, her story line has been intriguing. As Silk, she is still finding what its like to be a superhero; while, as Cindy her chemistry with Peter is like two teenagers on prom night.

spider-gwen

Perhaps the most talked about and anticipated newcomer in the Spidey fold is Spider Gwen. Fan reaction BEFORE her first appearance in Edge of Spider-Verse already garnered her a book. Her story is unique in that while she too is motivated by guilt and understands the classic Spidey mantra of “with great power, comes great responsibility;” it is the death of Peter Parker she is haunted over. Daunted by perpetual teasing, Peter wants powers of his own and becomes the Lizard. He demise comes at the hands of Spider-Gwen and is now a fugitive from the law. That’s a pretty tough row to hoe, before you consider that her dad Capt. George Stacy is the chief of police. Her series is hotly anticipated by many. In fact, there have been many sightings of Spider-Gwen at various comic conferences this year. Pretty amazing, especially since she hasn’t really even begun to evolve as a character.

 spider-woman

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my favorites, Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman. Featured prominently within the Avenger, Spider-Woman is once again given a chance to shine in the limelight, albeit somewhat disappointingly in her inaugural issue where she was a side-character to Silk with whom she was assign to protect with the Spider-Verse story arc. The Spider-Woman comic also had a rough due to the controversial variant cover by Milo Manara depicting Spider-Woman in an overtly sexual position. Marvel has since removed Manara from doing more covers. Whether you feel this was right or wrong, it was unfortunate because it focused away from Spider-Woman the character. However, that snafu aside, Spider-Woman has an amazing back story and is a kick-ass superhero. Her time in the spotlight to date has yet to be realized, but it is quickly approaching.

spidergirl

Lastly, it is my hope that one of my favorite and most under appreciated characters may once again see the light of day. Tom DeFalco’s Spider-girl, aka May “Mayday” Parker the daughter of Peter and Mary Jane Parker (Earth 982 – MC2 Universe). Spider-girl was first introduced in the 1990’s and had three different runs as “Spider-girl,” “The Amazing Spider-Girl,” and the “Spectacular Spider-Girl.” Mayday is now prominently featured in Spider-Verse where we see her and her infant brother, Benjamin, narrowly escape the Spider-Hunters while Peter and MJ sacrifice themselves to let their children escape. Her return lately has been teased with an image of Peter and MJ and a young Mayday Parker sitting on her daddy’s shoulders, with the title “Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows.” Who knows what’s in store for Mayday Parker, but I hope her return is inevitable.

 

The Goddesses

lady thor

Perhaps the biggest news of all this year was not the announcement that a new Thor #1 issue would be released, but that the new Thor #1 would be a woman. After Original Sin, Thor no longer is able to wield the mighty Mjolnir. Now a new unidentified heroine has taken the helm of the new Thor. While her story evolves, it will be fascinating to see how they develop the character. Thor’s history in the Marvel Universe dates back over 50 years to Journey into Mystery #83 (Aug. 1962). However, one thing that Marvel has shown in recent years is that is wont to chuck the proverbial apple cart when it comes to handling the classic characters with Doc Ock’s all too brief run as the Superior Spider-man and Sam Wilson excellently cast as Steve Rogers’ heir apparent as Captain America.

angela asgards asassin

Another “new” entry into the Marvel Universe is Angela who in Original Sin was revealed to be the daughter of Odin. Angela made her debut into the Marvel Universe with a brief team-up with everyone’s new lovable “losers,” the Guardians of the Galaxy and a role in the Age of Ultron event. But make no mistake, Angela is bad ass. Her origins come from Neil Gaiman and Todd Macfarlane where she was featured in Spawn. After a legal battle over ownership rights, Neil Gaiman won and brought her into the Marvel Universe. Angela now has her own book, Angela Asgard’s Asassin. Can’t wait to see how this character plays out.

 

Movies and TV (and Other Comics)

agent carter

I mentioned earlier the Marvel in its Phase III movie releases, announced Captain Marvel as its first female lead superhero movie. It should also be noted that the role of Black Widow in Captain America: The Winter Soldier really went a long way to further develop Black Widow’s character and entrench her into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Also, as a tie-in to Captain America, Hayley Atwell’s portrayal of SHIELD co-founder is being made into an 8-episode story arc on ABC. Marvel also announced that Scarlet Witch will be making her debut to the MCU in Avengers 2: The Age of Ultron and that Jessica Jones will be made into a Netflix mini-series. And last, but not least, the return of the diminutive but super awesome Squirrel Girl getting her own book this January.

So while this has been a crazy, hectic, and exciting year for Marvel. The increasing prominence of female characters in the Marvel Universe cannot be understated. If you haven’t been reading these books, please do so. It’s worth the read.

Comments

  1. jerichoashackleford says:

    The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comment should’ve been here!

    Like

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