The List: Top 10 Marvel Superheroines

So, this poll was an interesting one. There were a lot of good inclusions, some questionable ones (whoever was trying to get all the DC superheroines on the list, you get a sarcastic round of applause for being so amusing) and some very unexpected results.

Considering that Marvel doesn't have a lot of solo superheroines in the same sort of league as those DC has (with most of the entries on the list being most famous for their work in various teams) you would expect the vote to be somewhat close, right? Well...

Honourable Mentions: Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel), Emma Frost, Elektra

10. Gwen Stacy (Spider-Gwen)

Now, I can't say I really understand why this one is on the list, and that's coming from someone who loves the series and has a Spider-Gwen statuette at home. Considering how new this version of the character is (and we should only be taking into account this version of the character, as the original Gwen did not have any superpowers) when compared to some of the characters that didn't make the poll, it is quite surprising she got into the top 10 and even tied on votes with our number 9. However, having said that, the character is fantastic and so is her series. Considering she was only meant to have a cameo role in the Spider-Verse, she became so popular that Marvel gave her a spin-off series, which is currently on its second volume after the All New-All Marvel numbering reset. Giving a modern take on classic characters in an all new continuity and strong characterisation throughout, I'd definitely recommend checking out the series if you are a fan of Spider-Man and would like to get away from the main-series BS. Oh and the costume is great too.

9. Janet Van Dyne (The Wasp)

A founding member of The Avengers, Marvel's Mightiest super-team, and their first female leader, as well as being the one who gave the team their name, Wasp is quite an important character in Marvel continuity. Growing from the weak link of the original team to being its second longest tenured leader and one of the teams best operatives, Janet has also had to overcome a lot more than most in her super-hero career, including her fathers murder, spousal abuse, her husband being framed for a crime he didn't commit and the usual amount of death, near-death and resurrection. Plus, being a fashion designer, she always has a new costume design for every season, whether they are all good or not is debatable.

8. Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman)

Ok, so welcome to the most convoluted and confusing origin story in all of comics. Jessica Drew was originally a spider mutated to human form by a scientist, but was actually a human who had memories of being a spider implanted into her brain by HYDRA (for reasons), but was actually a human who was born to a woman suffering from uranium exposure and was injected with a serum based on irradiated spider blood and placed in a genetic accelerator to cure her, but was actually a human who was born with spider-powers after her mother was hit with a laser containing the DNA traits of many different spiders whilst she was pregnant. Peter was lucky to just get away with being bitten by a radioactive spider if you ask me. Either way, despite all of the terrible retconned origins, Jessica Drew has managed to become a mainstay of the Marvel Universe, being on multiple Avengers teams, becoming a mentor figure to numerous other Spider-powered superheroes, including Spider-Gwen and Mattie Franklin, and was even considered important enough to have her identity stolen by the Empress of the Skrulls during their invasion of Earth. That's quite a CV really.

7. Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch)

Possibly the most powerful character on this list, Wanda has the power to manipulate reality and can control chaos magic. Originally a member of the Brotherhood of Mutants, where she and her brother Quicksilver were reluctant adversaries of the X-Men, she would later join the Avengers and become a long tenured member of the team, marrying team-mate Vision and eventually going mad, disassembling the team and warping reality so mutants were the majority rather than humans. Luckily she's a bit less insane now, although the same can't be said for Marvel, who decided to retcon the fact that Magneto was her father back in 2014, because swerve.

6. Sue Richards (Invisible Woman)

I think this is probably the most in-just placement on our list, surely 6th is too low for the Invisible Woman? Although Marvel had numerous superheroines back in the Golden Age (Namora, Golden Girl and the original Black Widow to name a few), Invisible Woman was their first really memorable superheroine and the first that made much of an impact. As a member of the Fantastic Four, Sue was a big part of the superhero renaissance at Marvel during the early 60's. Although she spent most of the first decade of the team as the useless damsel in distress, she became a powerful figure in her own right during the 70's, becoming a mother and gaining new powers, and she is now probably the strongest member of the team, strong enough to destroy a Celestial if she has to. Plus she's beautiful enough to enamour the King of the Seas, and whilst we can question Namor's taste in fashion, it's hard to question his taste in women.

5. Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow)

As we covered on last weeks list, Black Widow started off as a villain before very quickly becoming a superhero, making hero somewhat unique for the time as a Russian character who wasn't evil. One of Marvels iconic red heads (alongside Mary Jane Watson and the Red Skull), she is one of the few non-powered characters who can hold their own amongst the Gods and Super-Soldiers that make up The Avengers. Primarily a team player, that doesn't mean she hasn't put her spying skills to good use when flying solo, having 4 limited series and four graphic novels to her name. And she was the only female superhero to make it into the first Avengers film, which is something when you look at how many of the lovely ladies on this list have been in the Avengers. Now if only they'd get around to announcing her solo film.

4. Jennifer Walters (She Hulk)

Cousin of The Hulk, Bruce Banner, Jen gained the same powers as her cousin (though on a lesser scale) after a blood transfusion from him when she was critically injured during a mob hit, which is a pretty good origin story all in all. Clear, concise and not anything like Jessica Drew's. Her real-life origins are even more fascinating, as she was created when Marvel got worried that CBS may try to spin-off a female Hulk character from the Incredible Hulk tv series, a character which CBS would own the rights to, similar to the situation with The Bionic Woman and the Six-Million Dollar Man. Either way, I think we can agree the character was a success. Whether acting as a fourth wall breaking solo hero, a super-lawyer for super-humans or a member of literally every team you can think of that isn't called Guardians of the Galaxy (her resume contains tenures on the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the Defenders, Heroes for Hire and some work at S.H.I.E.L.D, so a spell with the Guardians wouldn't be a surprise), She-Hulk has smashed her way to the top half of the list.

3. Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel/ Ms. Marvel/ Binary/ Warbird)

A character who has gone through what can only be described as a career renaissance in recent years, for a long time Carol Danvers was the also-ran of Marvels pantheon. She was always a C-grade player who had the potential to be Marvel's answer to Wonder Woman, their top tier female superhero. She could hold her own comic down for a good amount of time, she was always a good pick to have on an Avengers team and she had the powers to really take it to the big boys of the Marvel Universe, but they never really got behind her. She's had more name changes than a serial divorcee, had some really bad storylines (such as the one we covered on What Were They Thinking a few weeks ago) and her title was cancelled after only 2 years in publication, despite it being very progressive for the time. However, since 2012 things have changed for the character. Marvel have had her take up the mantel of Captain marvel, something she should have done when the original died and gave her her solo comic back. She's become a leading figure in the Avengers and an important figure in the Marvel universe, so much so that she was the figure head of one side in the second Civil War storyline, taking the Captain America role in opposition to Iron Man. And to cap it all of, she is scheduled to be Marvels first superheroine to get her own solo film in the MCU, in a move that has even eclipsed Spider-Mans MCU debut in terms of anticipation. Not bad for a C-grade player.

2. Jean Grey

The original X-Woman and the character recognised by most as the most powerful mutant in the Marvel Universe (the first of only 9 Omega Level Mutants identified), Jean Grey is important for a number of reasons. Not including the aforementioned facts, she was also the focal point for what is often considered Marvel's magnum opus in terms of story-telling, The Dark Phoenix Saga and she is the only character for whom death and resurrection is even slightly acceptable. Much like Sue Richards and Carol Danvers, jean started out as the weak link of the team, having only very basic telekinesis and telepathy skills. However, as time went on, her abilities grew exponentially, aided by her connection to the Phoenix Force. One of the few characters in the universe who can control and contain the Force of Rebirth, it gives her power that is really only matched by the reality warping powers of the Scarlet Witch. Plus, though he might have fallen from grace in a way that would make Lucifer jealous since her death, her romance with Cyclops is still one of the best Marvel have ever done and no amount of Wolverine can ever change that.

1. Ororo Munroe (Storm)

There are some very powerful women on this list, but only one can actually claim to have been worshipped as a Goddess. And let's get this out of the way first, Storm won the poll by a large margin, neither Jean nor Carol got close. Going from homeless orphan to leader of the X-Men, Storm stands out as one of the most recognisable members of a team that is full of recognisable characters, as well as being one of the most powerful, which again is something. The character that is often deferred to for leadership of the team when Cyclops is unable to lead them, she was one of the first black superheroes in Marvel history and the first black female superhero ever (actually, she was the first black female character of any significance in the entire comics industry, which is saying something considering she debuted in 1975). She's been a member of not only the X-Men, but the Avengers and the Fantastic Four and even rocked a punk look for a time, although there is still debate as to whether or not that was a good idea, but hey, it was popular enough to come back in the latest X-Men film. She has also been the Queen of Wakanda, which is something no-one else on this list can claim. But even ignoring all of that, Storm can claim this spot simply because out of all the characters on this list, she has had the most consistently strong characterisation. She was rarely the damsel in distress, even in her early days, she was never played for comedy and she has been consistently in the spotlight since her debut, rarely, if ever, left out of an X-Men story. She was and always has been a strong leader and a fantastic character.

So, that's the list. What do you guys think? Who should have been on here that wasn't? Who had the wrong placement? Let us know in the comments below.

And with that

JR out.

About JR19759

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9 Responses to The List: Top 10 Marvel Superheroines

  1. The Atomic Punk says:

    Surprised that Invisible Girl didn’t crack the Top 3 and She-Hulk ranks higher.

    Unless I missed a reference or an Easter egg, but the MCU never mentions The Wasp as a founding member of The Avengers. It was one thing to retcon the team for the big screen. Somewhere, anywhere, Joss Whedon could have name-dropped Janet Van Dyne (and Hank Pym). Please correct me if I’m wrong. Really, please!

  2. Anarchangel says:

    I agree completely with the top 3 but I’d probably shift around a couple of the others.

    I don’t agree that the Invisible Woman should have been top 3 though. Being around for a long time doesn’t necessarily make her better than the others.

  3. Lordgrimm01 says:

    The Atomic Punk:
    Unless I missed a reference or an Easter egg, but the MCU never mentions The Wasp as a founding member of The Avengers.It was one thing to retcon the team for the big screen.Somewhere, anywhere, Joss Whedon could have name-dropped Janet Van Dyne (and Hank Pym).Please correct me if I’m wrong.Really, please!

    She was a founding member of the Avengers in the comic books, the Ant-Man Movie tells her Marvel Movie universe story

  4. TOOL says:

    Well hello out there. It has been a while there my fellow machiners. How has everyone been?

  5. Brons says:

    Despite her short career, it’s a shame that Kamala Khan didn’t make the top 10. She is an outstanding character. On the other hand, it is hard to say who she should bump to get that slot. Given the mess of her retconned story line, my candidate would be Jessica Drew, but…

    On the whole it is interesting that there are at least 13 strong candidates for the top 10 list, each very much an individual with a distinct character and story line. “At least” because beyond the 3 honorable mentions, Kitty Pride, Jubilee and Psylocke are long-standing characters you might expect on the list, and Daisy/Quake is making a real impact on TV. Elderfingolfin has a list of 67 Marvel superheroines, many of whom are very solid and individual characters rather than cookie-cutter fill-ins.

    In any event, an interesting list.

  6. Arioch says:

    I only have one thing to say.

    Storm <3

  7. William A. Peterson says:

    Anarchangel, I have to disagree…
    As I said on the Poll post, not only has she been around ‘a long time’ (as in, Founding Member of the Fantastic Four), she has had one of the most consistent characters for all that time (by Comic Book standards, of course), and she has grown quite a bit from “Run away and hide Girl” to someone who can threaten Doctor Doom, and survive the experience. Her control over her Force Fields rivals Hal Jordan’s ability with his ring constructs. She can project her invisibility on other objects to give her something better than X-Ray vision. She has turned her Force Field into a Supersonic Glider capable of landing the whole team from orbit. She can put a bubble around the Hulk’s head, and asphxyiate him until he passes out. And she has never seen a massive Retcon of the sort that either She-Hulk or Spider Woman (amongst many others) have seen. Oh, AND, she has borne at least one child by her actual husband, and not by her time-travelling son impregnating her with the sperm of the child she was about to give birth to in a few hours… 😀

  8. The Atomic Punk says:

    @Lordgrimm01: Thanks! This is how far behind I am on the MCU. I haven’t seen Ant-Man yet! However, it still would have been more squee to mention Van Dyne and Pym when Nick Fury brought up The Avengers Initiative.

  9. The Atomic Punk says:

    Well hello out there.It has been a while there my fellow machiners.How has everyone been?

    Hey, TOOL! Sorry I didn’t notice you yesterday. I’m really pressed for time and usually post from work. Glad to see you around.