This week it was International Women’s Day, but as I live more in the Comic Book world these days (hence my excuse for being late) I thought I would talk about some of my favourite kick-ass comic book women in the comics I am reading right now, some you will know some you may not.
I certainly point my comic readership towards female-led comics, not because I am a woman but because I like powerful women characters, not just in strength but in how they handle themselves and those around them.
How could I start a list of kick-ass comic book women without starting with Wonder Woman. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a massive Wonder Woman fan, and who wouldn’t be?! Created in 1941 as an Immortal Amazonian from Greek mythology and recently rebooted in the ‘New 52’ series she has gone through a lot of transformations. As a Princess of Themyscira and a Demi-God she is not someone you want to mess with at any given time. Without giving spoilers away for the current series, it is hard not to go into more detail.
So why is she my favourite I hear you mumble? Well, firstly she kicks arse, look at her list of ‘powers’ she is super strong, a trained hand to hand warrior (as well as sword, mace and spear), has the Lasso of Truth that I would probably use for silly purposes. She can fly but also has a jet for space travel (although I don’t remember seeing it in the recent comic series and in some series she has earrings that allow her to breathe in space) which I love, but the thing I like most about her is that she has no need for men in her comic books, she does not need a love interest, the character is the pinnacle of feminism. No I don’t hate men/male characters, I just don’t see why every woman has to have a love interest, or be the love interest. I realise there is currently a Superman/Wonder Woman comic book series running right now (which I am enjoying) and originally there was Steve Trevor but it is not essential to her character or in the current New 52 storyline.
Why should you read this comic?
If you like being confused by long names (stupid greek mythology! What’s wrong with names like Bob and Dan?) and working out how they all intertwine then this is the book for you! I joke, but at first it was a bit much, they drop you in it straight away introducing lots of characters with names that took me a while to decide how to pronounce. It introduces the gods up on Olympus and you come to know them as a sort of mob family, nothing is set in stone and allegiances can be bought.
Due to her status of Queen of DC Comics the story line is very serious and there are little jokes, but it does take you on a journey through many worlds. You follow Diana as she comes to grips with new responsibilities and roles and how they fit in with her already busy life.
I really enjoyed the series because it showed more sides to her character than you usually get to see. I still don’t personally understand why she has to wear the pants or why she can’t wear trousers and still be one of the top kick-ass comic book women but hey, I am no fashionista, what do I know.
Ms Marvel (Kamala Khan)
Next up, it’s a fairly new addition to my reading list, Ms. Marvel, for many weeks I passed it on the shelves at my local comic book shop, I had heard from somewhere that it wasn’t as good as the original Ms Marvel but one day I decided to give it a try.
I was pleasantly surprised by the world I had walked into, I didn’t know anything about the character and you quickly learn she is a 15 year-old superhero obsessed girl from a traditional Pakistani-American Muslim family in New Jersey. After sneaking out of her strict family home she attends a party, decides it’s not for her and on her way home is engulfed in a Terrigen Mist that gives her the powers of a polymorph (shape changer).
WHY SHOULD YOU READ THIS COMIC?
I have only read the first collected graphic novel, but it seems to be a comic book that is aimed at a younger generation to get them into the comic book world. It is written by G. Willow Wilson (a Muslim herself), and it feels like it is being written from real life experiences, probably not the superhero aspect, but the human and parental interactions speak many truths.
If you want to read about one of the up and coming kick-ass comic book women then this is the title for you. The series is already showing great heart as well as some good jokes (something I need in a comic book is a laugh now and again!). You can watch Kamala growing into the superhero she wants to be as well as the daughter her parents want her to be. I can relate to her because I think that I would react in the same way she does, watching her fangirl during a hallucination makes her endearing and trying to come to terms with what she has become makes her realistic.
The next one up in our list of kick-ass comic book women is Forever from the Image series ‘Lazarus’. This was suggested to me to read by one of the amazing staff at my local comic book shop, she said that it was ‘crazy good’ and one of her favourites. I will admit, it took me a while to read it, my husband actually read it and then purchased the next 3 graphic novels before I read the first. When I came to read it I also had him prompting me to do so, I picked it up and started reading and was immediately drawn in.
Imagine if the top 5 richest families in the world, ran the world, that is the premise here. Endeavor is the genetically-enhanced daughter of the Carlyle family and each family has a ‘chosen’ Lazarus, these are the members of the family that go out and kick arse and keep everyone else in line. Although possible it is very hard to kill a Lazarus, so they are feared throughout their lands.
WHY SHOULD YOU READ THIS COMIC?
As well as being a ‘Nature vs Nurture’ argument the comic also hits the Sci Fi marks and the ‘Daddy Issues’ button. Watch Eve try to get her Father’s approval, that of her siblings as well as carry on her 9-5 job of keeping the Carlyle’s interests and lands protected.
If you like action type comics this definitely fits that bill, in the first page alone she is shot and thought to be dead (that would make for a very short comic!) but you will soon learn it takes more than that to keep Eve down. You will also learn about the ‘waste’ basically everyone else that is not rich or ‘useful’, the series shows their struggle as well and what they are having to go through whilst possibly introducing some big characters to come.
I couldn’t write a list of kick-ass comic book women with including these ladies! Another recommendation this time from my Twitter friend @SammieKS13 who told me to shift my arse and get reading! Boy, was she right! Think of this comic book as though you and 3 of your friends fell face first into a fantasy novel and fighting, quips and general hilarity ensued.
The series is definitely not for those of a polite disposition, these sassy ladies have mouths that would make most goody goody heroes blush! You have Hannah, an Elvish sorceress who occasionally delves into dark magic, Violet, a red headed Dwarf trying to get away from her family and their traditions, Dee, a necromancer who left a cult and has turned her back on her faith, and Betty, a halfling thief with a penchant for magic mushrooms. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to read this comic after their descriptions alone?
WHY SHOULD YOU READ THIS COMIC?
Because I said so! But also, it is incredibly funny and you watch the girls go up against other groups of mercenaries, have problematic love interests and get up to all sorts of things including drug taking (just say NO, kids!).
Due to some outside issues there has been a few problems with artists which lead to delays in getting the series out on the shelves, but this is an award winning comic for a reason. If they broke the 4th wall like Deadpool then they would probably just swear at you and say ‘I don’t care what you think!’ But after the recommendation to me and after reading them myself, I can only recommend them more to everyone I meet. There are few comic books (or books) that make me laugh out loud but this is one of them, to the point my husband kept asking me what it was that I was laughing at, read them and then try explaining that to a non-reader!
What do you think, have I missed any out that should be on this list and why?