n the year 2021, we all need a little pick-me-up. It can be hard to stay positive these days without the proper inspiration, but for all those comic book lovers out there, there are some ladies here to keep you going.
On the screen and straight from the page, there are plenty of female comic book characters swinging into the year with some great content for you to peruse.
A few of these characters might not be so familiar to you if you’re hazy with comics history, but their graphic novels can be a great gateway into the world for you.
Sorry to DC fans, but the champion of 2021 is Marvel, especially with their on-screen counterparts. But hopefully, if you’re interested, these superpowered stories will lead you into other genres and authors as well.
Below is a breakdown of these five iconic female comic-book characters and what they’re up to in 2021.
- Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff)
- Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff)
- Spectrum (Monica Rambeau)
- Agent 13 (Sharon Carter)
- Miss America (America Chavez)
Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff)
2020 was not the best year for the iconic Russian assassin, Natasha Romanoff, at least on the big screen. After years of pitching and development and a frustratingly slow-paced production of the Black Widow movie on Kevin Feige’s part, it was finally set to be released in May of 2020.
However, COVID-19 set back the movie’s release to November, and then it was suspended indefinitely until movie theaters were safe enough for most people to return to with confidence. So as of now, Marvel has a tentative release date for this summer. Who knows what will happen?
But that doesn’t mean we can’t all be excited to finally see Natasha in all of her glory. The movie will come out at some point, and finally being able to see one of the original MCU avengers (with some insight into her backstory as well) is a story worth waiting for.
As for her time in comics this year, the Russian spy has been getting up to a lot recently. Her romance with the Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes, has burned hot with angst and anticipation after Natasha lost her memories of their romance in her “Web of the Black Widow” storyline that stretched out through late 2020.
But she seems to have gotten onto her feet again in the comics world and just in time for the movie’s release. You can get Natasha down, but you can’t keep her that way for long.
- “The Name of the Rose” by Daniel Acuña and Marjorie Liu
- “Deadly Origin” by Paul Cornell
- “Black Widow 2016” by Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Matthew Wilson, and Joe Caramagna
Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff)
Good morning, Wanda Maximoff is the strongest Avenger and no one can tell us differently. To quote one Agatha Harkness from WandaVision: “Your power exceeds that of the Sorcerer Supreme.” Doctor Strange can go take the backseat with this one. Wanda has got this.
Wanda has had this reputation in the comics for a long time, cementing in the X-Men’s “House of M” storyline, in which a grief-stricken Wanda stripped most of the mutants of Earth of their supernatural powers.
Wanda has been through a lot. She is one of the most powerful mutants in comics and by far the most powerful Avenger in the MCUwhere she is played masterfully by Elizabeth Olsen.
And while it is yet to be seen in the movies if her mutant background will be implemented, Kevin Feige has said the mutants will make an appearance soon but it’s hard to judge if Magneto's daughter will come into play, Wanda has made her mark in MCU history at the helm of the Disney + show WandaVision released in March of this year.
If you haven’t seen it yet here is a spoiler-free summary. After the events of Avengers: Endgame, Wanda somehow finds herself in an alternate reality modeled after the sitcoms of the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, and so on with her android husband Vision. But Vision died in Infinity War, so how is he alive and how is he back?
The show is the best thing Marvel has done in years, and with an all-powerful witch wielding red chaos magic at its helm, there’s no better hero to look to for empowerment.
- “House of M” by Brian Michael Bendis
- “Scarlet Witch 2015” by James Robinson, Vanesa Del Rey, Jordie Bellaire & Cory Petit
- “Avengers: The Children’s Crusade” by Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, Mark Morales, Justin Ponsor & Cory Petit
Spectrum (Monica Rambeau)
Another shining star emerging out of Marvel’s repertoire to the general public, Monica Rambeau made her on-screen debut as an adult in Disney+ WandaVision alongside Wanda after being featured briefly as a child in Captain Marvel alongside her mother Monica Rambeau.
Now, Monica is a newfound superhero to the big screen. We see her acquire her powers in the show, and she didn’t have any naturally developing ones as a child. She proves herself quite the force in the show, and while more screen time on her part would have been appreciated, it was a good introduction to the character.
In the comics Monica, a native New Orleanian, known by her superhero name Spectrum to some, gained her superpowers from a criminal scientist that gave her the ability of energy manipulation transforming her body into energy along the electromagnetic spectrum.
She’s served under the mantle of Captain Marvel alongside the Avengers and partnered up with big names like Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Black Panther.
A relative newcomer to the field of comics and the screen, Monica is a superhero to keep an eye out for. She’s already made an impact.
- “Strikeforce 2019” by Tini Howard
- “Captain Marvel 1989” by Dwayne Mcduffie
- “Mighty Avengers 2013” by Al Ewing
Agent 13 (Sharon Carter)
For those fans of the MCU who play more lightly with the movies, Sharon Carter might have slipped your mind. She’s appeared on-screen in the latter two Captain America movies only to disappear from the MCU entirely. Up until now.
Sharon Carter is the grand-niece of Peggy Carter who is most known as the founder of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the MCU as well as being Steve Roger’s primary love interest.
However, Sharon had her brief stint with Steve in Captain America: Civil War that quickly fizzled out. But it was a nod to her more prominent role in his life in the comics where she was even pregnant with his child at one point.
But Sharon isn’t here on the screen for Steve anymore, she’s come back with a vengeance led by the lovely Emily VanCamp in the new Disney+ series Falcon and the Winter Soldier where she’s teaming up with Sam Wilson played by Anthony Mackie and Bucky Barnes played by Sebastian Stan.
It’s a new world for these spies and soldiers and they’re going to need more allies in the face of the enemies Steve left behind after running off to an alternate reality for his happy-ever-after. Everything has its consequences, and it looks like Sharon is here to share in the burden.
- “The Death of Captain America” by Ed Brubaker
- “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” by Ed Brubaker
- “Captain America: Operation Rebirth” by Mark Waid
Miss America (America Chavez)
You might be unfamiliar with America Chavez, she has not yet had an on-screen appearance to the greater masses, though she is planned to appear in the upcoming “Doctor Strange: The Multiverse of Madness,” but in the comics world, she is loud and proud and more than willing to punch you in the mouth if you put a foot wrong in her space.
America Chavez is a member of the Young Avengers, who as you can probably tell by their name, is a sect of the Avengers run by some of the younger superheroes in Marvel’s main 616 universe.
You might recognize some of their heroes from recent MCU projects, Billy Kaplan the superpowered son of Wanda Maximoff, and Kate Bishop the new and improved Hawkeye who will be played by Hailee Steinfeld in the new Disney + series.
America, who was originally raised in another dimension absorbed energy from the dimension’s sentient presence and was thrust into a life of dimension-hopping after the destruction of her own. She wound up planting roots in 616 where she fought with the Young Avengers.
America is an out and proud member of the LGBTQ+ plus community, as she identifies as lesbian and has been seen dating multiple women in the comics. As a queer Puerto Rican Latinx she serves not just as inspiration for comic-book readers but as hope as well for bigger and better representation.
- “America #1 2017” by Gabby Rivera
- “Young Avengers #1 2013” by Kieron Gillen
- “America #5 2017” by Gabby Rivera
Female comic book characters have come a long way. It’s past the time where it was rare to find a superpowered lady with her comics run, and a consistent one at that. All of the ladies on this list have featured in series of their own and played in the universe at large.
Scarlet Witch and Black Widow have become household names and it’s only a matter of time until the other ladies on this list become so as well. Get on the hype train now and check out some of their comics. You will not be disappointed.
Do you have a favorite female comic book character? Be sure to comment, like, and share!
Image courtesy of marvel.com