So I haven’t posted in a while, but with this week’s contest I couldn’t resist. I just got into the world of comics late last year, and I love it. I’ve read quite a few collections, and I have a couple current series I’m following. There’s a lot more out there, so I’m sure I’ll find plenty of characters to love, but for now, here’s my 5 favorite comic book characters.
5. Phil Coulson - Agents of SHIELD
The newest SHIELD comic only has three issues out, but it’s already spectacular. It follows Coulson and a few other agents as they deal with superhero problems, helping out or getting help from supers along the way. Number One had Coulson stopping an apocalyptic demonic Bifrost malfunction, Two had Coulson and Simmons (another agent based off the TV show) enter Ms. Marvel’s high school, and Three put Coulson in Dr. Strange’s mansion with Spider-man, and Four will involve Sue Storm. Coulson is a great character, and while my love for him may start in the movies/show, the comic gives a lot more to his character. He is, of course, a human that loves superheroes, with an encyclopedic knowledge of them. He fights evil the best he can, and he does it without the powers or specific skill of the Avengers or X-men. When he is in trouble, he thinks of his heroes for strength (something I can relate to) and keeps fighting. I’m excited as to where they take him next, and apparently we’ll be getting a more connected story in future issues rather than the one-off format so far.
4. Carol Danvers-Captain Marvel
Carol Danvers is just straight up amazing. She’s a badass, feminist superhero, more powerful than nearly anyone else in the Marvel Universe. She grew up with a father that valued her brother’s football more than her academic pursuits, and she had to fight her way to the rank of Colonel in the Air Force to fulfil her dream of flying. She ended up in an explosion with the original Captain Marvel, and his DNA melded with hers to give her powers. From the 1970’s until 2012, she went by Ms. Marvel until Captain Marvel’s death led to her taking the title. I haven’t read as much of this comic as I would like to, but I unfortunately came in late on this one. Still, her time-travel story in the first few issues was great, and I hope they use this for the movie coming in 2018. Her amnesia storyline is a great example of how female characters can still be strong even when they are physically or mentally weak. Carol is fantastic, and Kelly Sue DeConnick (part of the greatest comic writing couple ever with husband Matt Fraction) has done a great job with her.
3. Kate Bishop - Young Avengers, Hawkeye
This Hawkeye is the younger, female version of Hawkeye. She fights with the Young Avengers, with Clint Barton, and by herself. And all without superpowers. Her origin story is heartbreaking but inspiring. She was attacked and raped in Central Park, and decided from then on to try to make the world a safer place. She trained in archery, martial arts, and swordplay, and all this as a teenager. Kate is a badass woman that, instead of shutting down in fear after such a traumatic event, became stronger and better. And she’s hilarious, always positive and making jokes (often at Clint’s expense). She has her own place in Matt Fraction’s recent Hawkeye series, often saving Clint’s ass when he gets into trouble. And when he continues to mope around and rebukes her attempts to help, she chooses for herself to leave (with Pizza Dog) for Los Angeles to have her own adventures as a superhero for hire. Kate Bishop is a great hero who takes no crap, and is just trying to make the world safer and have a little fun at the same time.
2. Clint Barton-Hawkeye
Clint is nearly tied with Kate for #2, but I’ll give him the edge for now. Clint Barton fights all the same crazy evils that all the Avengers do, and he only uses a bow and arrow. When he’s off duty from The Avengers, however, he becomes all the more interesting. All he wants to do is pet dogs and sleep, but he can never resist helping someone in need, no matter the annoyance it causes. He buys a whole apartment building so the poor tenants can stay rent free, drives through hurricane-wrecked New Jersey to help a friend save his house, and protects a woman he barely knows (but just slept with. Boy does he know how to pick ‘em…..) from gun wielding Tracksuits.
Clint definitely has a lot of faults though. His relationships with women are tricky, and he often pushes them away, having a hard time getting close to anyone without screwing stuff up (he enjoys working with Kate because she’s young enough that they won’t have sex and make it weird). His attempts to do the right thing often get him in over his head, with no ideas how to get out of it. Matt Fraction’s brilliant Hawkeye comic has him in war he can’t win against Brooklyn Tracksuit Bro Mobsters. While that series isn’t done yet (seriously, Marvel, where’s #22????), I hope it ends with Clint getting a nap, because he sorely needs and deserves it. (Also, check out the hilarious Hawkeye vs. Deadpool from last year, where Clint and Kate team-up with Deadpool to save NYC).
1. Kamala Khan-Ms. Marvel
My profile picture may make it obvious, but my all time favorite superhero (and character in general) is Kamala Khan, the newest Ms. Marvel. Kamala is a 16 year old Pakistani-American Muslim living in Jersey City. She’s a superhero fangirl, writing fanfics online and always wearing t-shirts of her favorite Avenger, Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel. When the Terrigen Mist descends upon her town, she gains shapeshifting powers and takes her hero’s former name, Ms. Marvel. Kamala is a great character in every way. She’s an obsessive superhero fan, just like me and anyone who would click on a “My Favorite Comic Characters” article. She struggles with finding a place to belong, as being brown-skinned and Muslim in New Jersey makes her an outcast at school, and her superhero obsession and feminist ideas go against her traditionalist Muslim parents. She struggles with balancing superhero duties, school work, family obligations, and friends, all while hiding her secret Inhumanity from all but her friend Bruno. Much of her storyline has dealt with fighting the stereotypes given to modern teenagers (useless, lazy, leeches of society). This in the form of her first big villain, The Inventor, a clone of Thomas Edison who got bird DNA mixed in during the cloning process (don’t call him a bird, or ask him if he wants a cracker), who uses teenagers to volunteer to be power sources for his drones because they think it is the only way they can contribute to society.
Kamala is inspiring in so many ways, since she goes through the same things we teenagers have to go through with school, parents, and, in the most recent issue, a crush! She’s also a beacon of positive representation among a flurry of negative for Muslims. Most of the time, Muslims are stereotyped as terrorists, even though Islam is a peaceful religion. Its not going to change the whole world, but it a great start. And, she’s a hilarious, quirky, teenage girl in a mostly white guy world. Kamala Khan is the coolest hero out today, and she’ll be here to stay, since it has been announced that she’ll be joining the All-New, All-Different Avengers, as well as getting a new solo run, after the end of Secret Wars. Kamala is an inspiration to me, and you are sorely missing out on one of the best of Marvel’s current line-up if you’re not reading Ms. Marvel.
Sorry if I went a bit long here, but I love these characters so much I couldn’t keep it down. Thanks for reading! I hope you check out some of my other posts, and I hope to be posting regularly soon!