Strong Female Characters: Five Marvel Women Who Need Their Own Movies
Written By GeekGirlCon Copy Writer Jess Downs
As anyone who even vaguely pays attention to comics news has surely heard, Marvel Comics is continuing to broaden the diversity of their universe by spotlighting female characters in their own solo titles–and by making key characters Thor and Captain America a white woman and a black man respectively. Two of the new female solo titles of 2014–Storm and Ms. Marvel–feature women of color. It’s also arguable that the recent Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie run of Young Avengers gave us the first all-queer superhero team in comics history.
Whether you think these developments are part of an ongoing commitment to diversity, or that they don’t go far enough, it’s true that the comics universe is leaps and bounds ahead of the Marvel cinematic universe in terms of representation.
Marvel Studios have been teasing us for a while now with the idea of a Black Widow film that’s supposedly “in development,” and Captain America: The Winter Soldier had a good-guy team backing up Cap that consisted of Black Widow, Maria Hill, Falcon, and Nick Fury (two white women and two black men). But Cap was still in charge, and so far, despite much pleading from the fanbase, there has been no definitive news of a female-fronted film.
So if you’re listening, Marvel Studios, here are my five top picks for women to head up their own movies.
Jubilation Lee, a.k.a. Jubilee: former Olympic-qualifying gymnast, former homeless teen, current member of the X-Men. Her mutant powers include the creation of energy globules that she calls “fireworks.” (In the current mainstream comics universe, she doesn’t have her mutant powers, and has vampire powers instead, but for a movie I think she’d be best–and most recognizable–in her classic mutant form.)
Remember the first Spider-Man movie? No, not that one; this one. The 2002 one. As a former nerdy outcast, a part of me was thrilled to see Spidey come into his powers and get his revenge on the bullies. What’s more cathartic and empowering than that? Being a mutant who knows how petty all this is in the scheme of things. Jubes has been homeless. She’s Chinese-American and she’s a mutant. Her old school got blown up. She has much bigger things to worry about than the vagaries of high school cliques.
Her solo title back in 2004 shows her heading back to LA to live with her aunt and attend a regular human school. She immediately strikes up a friendship with nerdy Meg, who cares way too much about her status at school. That changes once she gets sucked into Jubilee’s action-packed adventures.
Lots of superhero stories come across as power fantasies geared toward geeky boys and men who never quite got over feeling lonely and rejected at high school. It would be nice for a change to see a fantasy aimed at women and other marginalized groups that’s not about getting their own back, but about overcoming.
What’s a single, professional woman in New York to do? Rent is high, clients at your law office are few, and it’s expensive to keep replacing all your stuff every time it’s destroyed by a supervillain.
I love so many things about Jennifer Walters (alias She-Hulk). She fights evildoers in the courtroom as often as on the streets. She’s allowed to be–literally and figuratively–strong, without having to be masculine. She has muscles and dresses femme. She forms meaningful friendships with other women, such as Patsy Walker (Hellcat) and her paranormal paralegal Angie Huang.
She’s been on several teams, including the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, but in my opinion she’s more than capable of heading up her own movie, just as she does her new solo title.
3. Miss America Chavez
America Chavez was raised in a dimension outside of time, and is thus the only America Chavez in the multiverse. Her powers involve kicking through star-shaped portals into other dimensions, punching things really hard, and taking no crap from anyone. Especially not Loki.
Oh yeah, and she’s a queer Latina woman who was raised by two moms.
She’s awesome, is what I’m getting at.
Imagine a dimension-hopping adventure with her solid presence at the center to ground it. Some of her Young Avengers teammates could make an appearance as she bounces through their dimensions. (Kate Bishop, I’m looking at you. It would be cool to introduce the female Hawkeye into the cinematic universe for future cameos alongside her hapless mentor, Clint Barton/Hawkguy.)
2. Abigail Brand
Abigail Brand, as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s extraterrestrial monitoring branch S.W.O.R.D., commands The Peak, a ship in constant Earth orbit as the first line of defence against alien attack. Of course, that also often means being the first point of contact for new alien species, and figuring out when to use diplomacy and when to use a big plasma pistol is one of her most challenging tasks.
A 2009 S.W.O.R.D. series (collected into a book called No Time to Breathe) demonstrated how vulnerable Earth can be when several of these threats arrive at once, and showed Brand scrambling to deal with them, armed with her wits, her leadership skills, and the loyalty of those she commands.
A movie starring Brand, given what’s happened so far in the cinematic universe, would probably be about the formation of S.W.O.R.D. in the wake of various recent alien incidents. Given the excitement around Guardians of the Galaxy, it seems that comics movie fans are ready to see more of what’s out there in the universe, and what Earth’s role in it will be, and I think Abigail Brand is the perfect character to hang it on.
1. Captain Marvel
How could this list be complete without mention of Carol “Captain Marvel” Danvers? Her 2012 series by Kelly Sue DeConnick was such a breakout success that as soon as it ended they started a new one. Carol fans have organized themselves into a Carol Corps that has its own meetups at conventions and do random acts of kindness for each other.
As a child, Danvers dreamed of being a pilot in the Air Force, and had to fight against all expectations to achieve her dream. Now, having absorbed some of the physiology of an alien species called the Kree, she can fly under her own power, as well as having the super strength and invulnerability to fight villains. She’s an inspiring figure, both in-universe and outside it, and a Captain Marvel movie would make a killing at the box office.
I dream of a buddy movie where Jessica “Spider-Woman” Drew is Carol’s sidekick. Her snarky banter plays off the force of Captain Marvel’s personality perfectly. Theirs is one of the most convincing, funniest, and all-round appealing female friendships in comics today.
What do you think? Which Marvel women do you want to see leading their own movies? Let us know in the comments.