Thursday, January 21, 2016

My Year With Marvel: Super-Awesome Superheroic Women Squad

Ever since the Fantastic Four burst on the scene in late 1961, Marvel has been all about superhero teams. They’ve introduced dozens of them over the years, including infinite permutations of the most popular groups like the Avengers and the X-Men.

Because why have one superhero team under the same banner when you could have twenty-seven?

Team books are fun to read because they sprawl all over the place even as they give beloved characters a bit more page time. I imagine they’re also fun to assemble as they allow writers and artists to explore group dynamics and play around with their own favourite superheroes without the commitment implied by a solo title.

I can never help daydreaming about who I'd put on a superhero team, and over the last few months I’ve drummed up a little something I’m calling the Super-Awesome Superheroic Women Squad. With absolutely no deference to current canon and/or whatever happened in Secret Wars (which I have yet to read) and with no more stringent criteria than, "I love her!", my ideal superteam's starting lineup would include:

Illustration of a blonde white woman in a red, blue, and gold flight suit. She pulls on one red glove as she stares directly at the viewer.
Captain Marvel by David Lopez

Carol Danvers, the current Captain Marvel, has craploads of experience assembling teams and moulding their various members into a coherent whole. She’s also painfully awesome in her own right, as will be evidenced not only by her fabulous technique across the inevitable multi-page fight scenes but also by the strong connections she forges with everyone around her.

Illustration of a black woman with a white Mohawk. She has her back to the viewer, but her head is turned so her face appears in profile. Lightning arcs across the sky behind her.
Storm by Victor Ibanez

Ororo Munroe, or Storm, is a goddess whose own leadership experience will jive well with Carol's as they settle into a co-leaders arrangement that plays to both their strengths. Storm brings her awesome powers to bear against whatever threat the team tackles, but she never loses track of the bystanders who’re affected by her decisions.

Illustration of a brunett white woman wearing a form-fitting yet practical outfit with black arms and legs, a gold belt, and a red bodice. A stylized spider appears over her chest.
Spider-Woman by Kris Anka

Jessica Drew and Carol Danvers are BFFs, so Spider-Woman naturally signs herself up for the squad the moment she learns it exists. Her past as a double agent allows her to blend in anywhere, providing the team with much-needed intel, and her snarkiness is a boon to me in particular.

Four slender panels featuring the same brunette white woman in a variety of purple costumes. From left to right, she wears motorcycle gear, jeans and an open coat, a ballgown, and a superhero costume.
Hawkeye by David Aja

Kate Bishop, aka Hawkeye, is the light in my heart and the breath in my lungs, so there’s no way she can sit on the sidelines when the Super-Awesome Superheroic Women Squad comes together. Kate is the team’s obligatory non-superpowered member, but she makes up for her lack of juice with her amazing fighting skills and her dedication to improving them. She and Jess often snark together, while she and Storm do civilian outreach as they gauge the long term effects of their battles.

Illustration of a chestnut-haired white woman charging straight at the viewer. She wears a brown costume and has a bushy tail like a squirrel. A word bubble reads, 'Let's go nuts.'
Squirrel Girl by Erica Henderson

Doreen Green, codename Squirrel Girl, is the team’s youngest member, and perhaps its fiercest. She and her squirrel sidekick, Tippy-Toe, are always ready to charge into the fray, but once she’s had a good look at the enemy she’s primed to explore solutions that play off of psychology more than fisticuffs.

She's the one who starts calling it the Super-Awesome Superheroic Women Squad. Everyone else furrows their brows and vows to pick another name later, but they never quite get around to it.

A black, grey, and yellow-toned illustration of a dark-haired white woman wearing a formfitting black costume with a yellow strip down the front and yellow accents. A small dragon soars in front of her.
Kitty Pryde by Mahmud Asrar

No Super-Awesome Superheroic Women Squad is complete without the awesomeness that is Kitty Pryde. She refuses to take crap, she finds creative ways for the team to operate, and she unleashes her genius against anyone who stands in her way.

That takes us through the core team established within an issue or two. As the comic roles along, we quickly meet:
Illustration of a muscular, thickset Indian woman wearing formfitting armour. She holds an apple aloft.
Sera (or is it?) by Phil Jimenz

Sera is a badass angel who’s got a story for everything and more than enough snark to keep up with Jess and Kate. She assists the team with an early adventure, and after the fourth or fifth time they consult her expertise they decide she’s simply too awesome to leave off the official roster.

Illustration of a young black woman leaning forward slightly with a dubious expression on her face. She wears a mustard yellow cardigan and holds a small white cat.
Nancy Whitehead by Erica Henderson

Nancy, Doreen’s roomie and BFF, initially participates as an auxiliary member alongside Carol’s civilian friend-group, but her admiration for Doreen's activities takes on new legs when she realizes Kate has as few superpowers as Nancy herself. She swiftly transforms herself into the team’s second non-superpowered badass. Her eventual codename will, of course, reference her beloved Mew.

And from these humble beginnings will grow a legend. Give it three years and the Super-Awesome Superheroic Women Squad will have at least one side team, with six more slated to appear before the decade is out.

It’s how comics roll. And there are an awful lot of awesome women in the Marvel Universe.


  1. There are definitely lots of awesome women. Now if they would make some movies about them...

    1. Or TV shows. I'd perform the happy dance if they announced a Squirrel Girl TV show.

  2. This is a team that needs to happen.

    1. They would have so many awesome adventures together.

  3. Kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate BISHOP! I am hoping that the new Hellcat comic will incorporate Kate Bishop into her team of superheroes-for-hire. Kate Bishop could use the gig! Now that her career as a private eye isn't working out!

    1. That would be awesome. Kate should be in all the things, like Marvel's got a Kate Bishop quota to fill.