The Marvel world may have been full of male characters in the past but that is slowly changing. In the past few decades, we have seen many amazing female characters added to the Marvel universe. From heroes to villains, these characters have interesting powers and backstories.
Let’s dive in…
1. Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Black Widow is a character created by Stan Lee, Don Rico, and Don Heck who first appeared in the comics in January 1964. She is a former Russian spy, trained by the “Red Room.” She has been part of S.H.I.E.L.D and the Avengers on multiple occasions. Not much is known about Romanoff’s past, including the time and place of birth.
In the comics, Black Widow is portrayed as a determined and fierce superhero who “gets the job done no matter what.” Her powers include high strength, speed, durability, and endurance. Aside from her powers, she is also a skilled martial artist, spy, acrobat, and hacker.
In MCU movies, Black Widow is portrayed by Scarlet Johansson.
“You know, if you’re about to tell me to look on the bright side—I’m about to hit you in the head with a peanut butter sandwich.”
2. Ororo Munroe/Storm
Ororo Munroe was created by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum and first appeared in the comics in April 1975. She is a powerful superhero with the ability to manipulate the weather. She was orphaned at a young age and raised by street urchins. Storm was recruited by Charles Xavier for the X-Men and also became the leader of the team for years.
Storm is one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel universe, being a great leader and team player. She is also known for her marriage to Black Panther and served as the queen of Wakanda. Storm is portrayed by Halle Berry in various MCU movies.
“You counter despair with hope. You strive forever for the best you are capable to be – therein lies the victory!”
“We live in an age of darkness: a world full of fear, hate, and intolerance. But in every age, there are those who fight against it.”
3. Raven Darkhölme/Mystique
Mystique was created by Chris Claremont and Jim Mooney and made her first appearance in January 1978. She is a shapeshifting mutant, best known for being Magneto’s right hand. Not much is known about her origins and even her name, Raven Darkhölme, is self-assumed.
Along with the ability to shapeshift at will, Mystique also has enhanced senses, accelerated healing, and can defend herself against telepathic intrusion. She is a skilled martial artist and can speak eleven languages. Mystique is portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence in various MCU movies.
“Just because there’s not a war doesn’t mean there’s peace. You want to teach your kids something, teach them that. Teach them to fight. Otherwise, they might as well live in this house for the rest of their lives.”
“Who am I? That, my dear, is an excellent question. Though not one easily answered.”
4. Jean Grey
Jean Grey was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in the comics in July 1963. She is a mutant with strong telepathic and empathic abilities and a student of Charles Xavier. In her childhood, Jean Grey experienced her best friend’s death, a traumatic event that led to her psychic awakening.
Jean was part of the original X-Men and an avatar of the mystical, abstract force The Phoenix. Often referred to as an Omega Level Mutant, Jean Grey has the power to change reality. However, that does not take away from her being a flawed and emotional character.
In MCU movies, Jean Grey has been portrayed by Famke Janssen and Sophia Turner.
“We come into the world alone and we leave the same way. The time we spend in-between… time spent alive, sharing, learning… together… is all that makes life worth living.”
5. Anna Marie LeBeau/Rogue
Rogue was created by Chris Claremont and Michael Golden and made her first appearance in August 1981. Rogue ran away from home at a young age and became Mystique and Destiny’s adopted child.
Rogue’s uncontrollable ability to absorb others’ abilities, powers, memories, and even personalities with physical touch was activated when she kissed a boy who subsequently went into a coma.
She first became part of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants but sought Xavier after a tragic encounter with Ms. Marvel. She went on to become a loyal member of the X-Men and the Avengers Unity Division.
“What defines us is hope. That’s why we don’t give up. That’s why, no matter the odds… we find a way to win.”
6. Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
Wanda Maximoff was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and made her first appearance in the comics in January 1964. Born to a nomadic Romani witch, Wanda was imbued with chaos magic at an early age. She first joined the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and then the Avengers.
Scarlet Witch is one of the most powerful Marvel characters, with the ability to change reality with “hexes.” After losing her husband and children, she became depressed and dejected. She is also credited with one of the biggest mutant decimations in the comics.
“To some, it’s about trying to find the magic in your life. To others, it’s about standing up and facing your fears. To many, it’s about staying young at heart no matter how old you get. But everyone’s story begins once upon a time…and it’s up to us to cherish the time we’re given to ensure we live happily ever after.”
“Thanks for the lesson…but I don’t need you to tell me who I am.”
“Look, we’ve all been there, right? Letting our fear and anger get the best of us, intentionally expanding the borders of the false world we created.”
7. Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel was created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan and made her first appearance in December 1967. A human-alien hybrid, she acquired the mighty abilities of the Kree people through an accident.
Initially, Danvers was known as Miss Marvel and joined the Avengers. Soon after, she came in contact with Rogue who absorbed her entire persona. Over years, she gained her abilities back and soon became Captain Marvel.
Her abilities include superhuman strength, high endurance, enhanced immunity, immortality, and flight. Aside from being a powerful superhero, Captain Marvel is also a talented journalist and speaks five different languages.
“You wanna be excellent? Really excellent at what you do? Then be excellent every day, in every part of your life. That’s how the great ones do it.”
8. Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel
Kamala Khan or Miss Marvel is a Muslim Pakistani-American superhero who made her first appearance in July 2013. Her ability to stretch in any way possible was first acquired when she was exposed to Terrigen mist. Kamala became part of the Avengers after working with them to defeat the Warbringer.
As a daughter of immigrant parents, Kamala Khan became a comfort for many immigrant children who felt like they did not fit in. Her down-to-earth nature as well as her troubles as a teenage girl made her relatable to many.
The Ms. Marvel miniseries released on 8th June 2022 starring Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel.
“Good is not a thing you are. It is a thing you do.”
9. Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk
She-Hulk was created by Stan Lee and John Buscema and made her first appearance in November 1979. She is the cousin of the Hulk, who she was close to from a young age. After graduating from law school, Walters met Bruce after a long time and discovered he had become the Hulk.
After a tragic accident where Jennifer was seriously wounded, the Hulk gave her a blood transfusion so she could survive.
Although not as strong as her cousin, she could retain her persona during transformations. While fighting crime on the streets, She-Hulk was also putting criminals in jail. She has fought with the Avengers and the Fantastic Four.
10. “Gamora” Zen Whoberi Ben Titan
Gamora was created by Jim Stalin and made her first appearance in March 1975. Raised by Thanos and Mad Titan, she is a skilled assassin and “the most dangerous woman in the galaxy.” Raised by Thanos, Gamora became a master martial artist, skilled strategist, and deadly assassin.
Her body was also mechanically improved and she gained superhuman strength, speed, and durability. Gamora’s most notable characteristics are her determination. She once saved her team by bearing intense heat that charred her body from head to toe.
Nebula was created by Roger Stern and John Buscema and made her first appearance in April 1985. She is the adopted daughter of Thanos and was raised alongside Gamora, who she has a bitter rivalry with.
Nebula’s story arc differs in the comics and movies. While depicted as a villain in the comics, Nebula’s redemption arc in the movies was received positively.
She has several body enhancements including a bionic arm and eye. Her arm doubles as an energy caster, a powerful weapon with the device centered on the palm. She also has superhuman strength, and durability, and is a skilled military strategist.
12. Laura Kinney/X-23
Laura Kinney was created by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost and made her first appearance in December 2003. Kinney was artificially engineered using Wolverine’s DNA. X-23 was bred as a weapon to serve as a private assassin. After giving birth to Kinney, her surrogate mother recognized her as her daughter and helped her escape the facility.
The comics show Kinney as a troubled and traumatized child. She was raised in a brutal environment under her trainer Kimura.
Eventually, Kinney escaped and went on to join the X-Men in-training group and the X-Force. She then rebranded herself as the new Wolverine to honor her father.
13. Janet van Dyne/Wasp
Janet Van Dyne was created by Stan Lee, Ernest Hart, and Jack Kirby and made her first appearance in March 1963. Dyne’s father was murdered by an extradimensional creature, and she became the Wasp to avenge his death.
With the help of Ant-Man (Dr. Pym), she acquired the ability to fly, shrink, and shoot fire strings. She is also the founding member of the famous superhero team, the Avengers.
Dyne’s story is the story of many women. After marrying Dr. Pym, she was subjected to domestic violence. After recovering from this tragic incident, Dyne served as a prominent leader for the Avengers and sacrificed her life to end the war resulting from the Skrull invasion.
“A hundred years from now, when we’re all dead and buried, there will be only two things that we’re remembered for… what we did. And what we looked like.”
“My secret power is that I get things done.”
14. Yuriko Oyama/Lady Deathstrike
Lady Deathstrike was created by Dennis O’Neil and William Johnson and made her first appearance in 1983. Her character resembles Wolverine a lot, owing to the fact that they both endured a similar experiment. It is because her father was the mastermind behind the adamantium-bonding process.
She had siblings but her father was a ruthless gangster on top of being a scientist. He used her siblings as tools for crime and they perished along the way.
Lady Deathstrike would eventually end up killing her own father but would assume Wolverine was responsible for the murder. She’s been at odds with him ever since.
“I will be what you would not. I will be the blade of my own mark and making. I will be the trouble you once were in the world. I look out over this city, with its secrets, with its violence, with its wretchedness and its cruelty, and oh, I know exactly how to begin.”
15. Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman
Jessica Drew was created by Archie Goodwin, Sal Buscema, Jim Mooney, and Marie Severin and first appeared in November 1976. Her father was a geneticist who injected her with an untested serum made with the blood of various spiders to fight uranium poisoning.
The process took decades and when Jessica’s transformation was complete, she was in an entirely different civilization. Lost and confused at the start, she joined Hydra but went on to join S.H.I.E.L.D after defeating Vermis, one of Hydra’s prominent leaders.
Spider-Woman’s powers are similar to Spider-Man and she is known for working alongside Peter Parker and her role in the Spider-Verse.
16. Gwen Stacy/Spider-Gwen
Gwen Stacy was created by Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez and first appeared in September 2014. She was a classmate of Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and his first girlfriend. As a science major, she appreciated Parker’s knowledge, and soon, a romance developed between the two.
Gwen Stacy dies in a battle between the Green Goblin and Spider-Man. However, in an alternate universe, she is bitten by a radioactive spider and develops the same abilities as Spider-Man. We meet Spider-Gwen in the Spider-Verse storyline where we are also introduced to Miles Morales.
17. Emma Grace Frost/White Queen
Emma Frost was created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne and made her first appearance in October 1979. She is one of the most powerful and influential female characters in the Marvel universe, often referred to as the White Queen of the Hellfire Club.
Born into a wealthy family, Frost built an empire for herself and trained young mutants. She had frequent clashes with the X-Men but joined them after losing her team tragically.
White Queen is an Omega Level Telepath and capable of various telepathic skills. She can not only alter others’ thoughts but can also transform her body into a diamond form.
“It’s just…it’s nice to know you’re not alone in the world…to know you have people who will look out for you…no matter what the dangers may be.”
“Some days it just feels like I’m here for the shoes and the eternal hope that I shall be issued minions.”
18. Maya Lopez/Echo
Maya Lopez was created by David Mack and Joe Quesada and made her first appearance in May 1999. She is one of the few Native American female characters in the comics. Although Echo was born deaf, it wasn’t diagnosed until much later since she could read others’ lips very well.
She is best known for being a supporting character for Matt Murdock, with whom she had a complicated romance. Maya is also one of the hosts of the Phoenix Force, which lends her superhuman strength, flight, and immortality.
19. Doreen Green/Squirrel Girl
Doreen Green was created by Will Murray and Steve Ditko and made her first appearance in November 1999. Although born with squirrel-like abilities and a tail, Doreen is not a mutant. She discovered her ability to communicate with squirrels at the age of ten.
In the comics, Doreen has rescued and assisted Iron Man and the Hulk. She joined the Great Lake Avengers and fought crime on the streets of New York City.
Squirrel Girl’s powers include superhuman strength including jaw strength. Her most notable skill in the comics is negotiation and conflict resolution.
“Real strength, not just physical, but like, actual strength of character is to have all the power to bully someone and not use it. It’s when you know that might doesn’t make right, even when, especially when you have all the might in the world. It’s when you choose to be the bigger person.”
“I am a superhero and I am here to tell you that feeling insecure is nothing to be ashamed of. We all have anxieties, but, and this may sound crazy, they’re actually kinda what makes us awesome!… Envy isn’t about the person you’re jealous of: it’s about yourself. It’s your mind telling you exactly what you want…”
20. Jane Foster/Valkyrie
Jane Foster was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and made her first appearance in July 1962. Her mother died when she was little due to cancer, but she had a very supportive father. After finishing med school, Foster was hired by Dr. Donald Blake, which was the god Thor posing as a human.
Foster initially only served as Thor’s love interest but the two did not enter a relationship until much later. After Thor lost his ability to wield his hammer, Jane learned to use the Mjolnir after it sought her out. Despite fighting cancer, Foster participated in several wars and even gave her life to save the people of Asgardia.
21. Katherine Elizabeth Bishop/Hawkeye
Katherine Bishop was created by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung and made her first appearance in 2005. Her origin story shows us how she’s just as capable as her inspiration Hawkeye. She had a rough childhood since her mother passed away at a young age. An incident with her father led her to run away from home.
Soon enough, Katherine learns some self-defense, trains herself, and ends up finding an opportunity to put it to use. After teaming up with the Young Avengers, she became a part of the team. Eventually, her efforts paid off and she was made the new Hawkeye by Captain America himself.
22. Dr. Susan Storm Richards/Invisible Woman
Dr. Susan Storm Richards was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and made her first appearance in August 1961. Unlike other Marvel characters, Sue Storm and her team used their powers to explore space, time, and other dimensions.
In an accident involving a stolen rocket, Sue along with her boyfriend, younger brother, and the pilot were exposed to cosmic radiation and developed superpowers. They formed the Fantastic Four led by Reed Richards.
The radiation imbued Sue with the power to turn herself and other objects invisible as well as manipulate force fields.
“We of the Fantastic Four did not choose to be ‘super-heroes.’ We are just ordinary people who fate selected to be more than human. Unfortunately, or fortunately, we did not lose our human foibles when we gained our powers.”
23. Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos and made her first appearance in September 2001. At an early age, Jones lost her entire family in a car accident and was exposed to radioactive chemicals.
She spent multiple months in a coma, finally awakening around the time the Fantastic Four came into existence. Jones is known for her encounters with the villain Purple Man, who she successfully defeated.
Jessica’s superpowers include superhuman strength, durability, accelerated healing, telepathic resistance, and flight. She is also a great investigator and trained combatant.
“I don’t pretend to be an expert in religion or even “organized religion,” but it seems to me that the entire purpose of a belief system like this, is to give people something so they can be the best kind of person they can figure out how to be. That’s all.”
24. Kitty Pryde
Kitty Pryde was created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne and her first appearance was in October 1979. She is an all-American girl-next-door who can make her body intangible. Her mutant powers let her pass through solid objects and people. She’s able to control it rather well, and that’s why she was so sought after by both Emma Frost and the X-Men.
The encounter didn’t end well, and Kitty decided to betray Emma. She joined the rest of the X-Men and stayed with them for a while at the Charles Xavier’s Institute For Gifted Youngsters. Despite her cheery personality, she didn’t get along well with the others due to her history with Frost.
Kitty left the X-Men and became a founding member of the British superhero team Excalibur. She came back when she was older and found her place on the team again. She eventually ended up leading the X-Men later on in her life.
“Just like a classic fairy tale. We’re all gifted with powers… for which we each pay a price.”
25. Felicia Sara Hardy/Black Cat
Black Cat was created by Marv Wolfman and Keith Pollard and first appeared in April 1979. Felicia’s story begins with a traumatic assault by an ex-boyfriend. She trained to seek revenge but was unable to do so.
Although she initially did not have superpowers, she underwent a process through Kingpin to acquire them. Her superpowers include superhuman strength, heightened agility, balance, and retractable claws.
She is known for her relationship with Spider-Man which had various ups and downs. Although the pair shared a troubled relationship, Hardy eventually became one of Spider-Man’s most trusted allies.
In the comics, Black Cat mostly does “as she wishes.” She has been on both sides of the coin, although predominantly a villain. Her life has been shaped vastly by trauma and loss, which left her feeling jaded and lost.
“Personally, darling I’ll take larceny over virtue every time!”
26. Mercedes Knight/Misty Knight
Mercedes Knight was created by Tony Isabella and Arvell Jones and made her first appearance in December 1971. She grew up in New York City and became a skilled detective.
She had a bright future while working for the NYPD, but lost her arm in an incident. Unable to return to her work as a detective, she was assigned a desk job.
Refusing to settle for a desk job, she started her private investigation venture called Nightwing Restorations, Ltd. Misty is a skilled martial artist and superb detective.
27. Neena Thurman/Domino
Neena Thurman was created by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefield and first appeared in January 1992. Domino was the result of a government program Project Armageddon. Bred to be the perfect weapon, Domino was the only subject to survive various tests.
Domino’s career started as a mercenary, and she joined the Six Pack. She has mainly worked with the X-Force.
Domino’s superpowers give her an edge over her opponents. Since she can manipulate probability, she can cause “bad luck” for her enemies. Aside from this remarkable superpower, Domino also has enhanced agility and reflexes.
“I’ve been asked countless times how my powers work. And the best way I can try to explain it is that life is just charted by impacts and trajectories. A new impact leads to a new trajectory and then another and another. And I, well, I just dance between the impacts.”
28. Monica Rambeau/Spectrum
Monica Rambeau was created by Roger Stern and John Romita Jr. and made her first appearance in August 1982. Rambeau was initially a harbor patrol officer but became Captain Marvel after exposure to extra-dimensional energy and acquiring superpowers.
Two events are notable in Rambeau’s story arc, once when she was severely wounded and lost her powers, and the other when Beyond betrayed her.
Rambeau’s powers returned gradually, and she adopted the alias Spectrum. She has worked with various superhero teams, including the Mighty Avengers, Strikeforce, and the Ultimates.
In a surprising turn of events, Rambeau lost her powers and became human after a battle with the night goddess Nyx.
“The worst thing I can think of has already happened to me and I can’t change it. I can’t undo it. I can’t control this pain anymore. And I don’t think I want to, because it’s my truth.”
“I strongly believe in the importance of each of the cultures that make up our country, and the pride we should each have in them.”
“No one should have to be ashamed of their culture, or who they in large part are.”
29. Crystalia Amaquelin/Crystal
Crystal was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in September 1965. Exposed to Terrigen mist as an infant, Crystal and her elder sister Medusa both acquired mental powers. Learn more about her superpowers here.
Medusa and Crystal fled their city during the war and sought refuge with the Fantastic Four. The two returned to Attilan after the end of the war. A while later, she also served as a substitute member of the Fantastic Four.
Crystal is a clever strategist and served as an Inhuman ambassador. Noble and compassionate, Crystal is also a pacifist despite her warrior heritage.
30. Medusalith Amaquelin-Boltagon/Medusa
Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created Medusa and her first appearance was in 1964. As the Queen of the Inhumans, Medusa is one of the strongest members of her kind.
She’s a strong, benevolent queen who was exposed to the Terrigan Mist as an infant and developed superpowers. She’s capable of telekinesis and can use her hair as an impervious shield or a deadly weapon. She can control every strand of hair on her head.
She has teamed up with superheroes and villains alike, and her exploits have led her to face many foes. Medusa is also Black Bolt’s wife and they live on the grey side of the moon.
“We seek nothing more than to find some small corner of this world to call our own and live out our days there. The same as all of you.”
31. Xochitl Gomez/America Chavez
America Chavez was created by Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta and first appeared in July 2011. At the age of five, America tragically lost her entire family. She first lost her parents and her sister despite attempting to escape with her.
This event left Chavez distraught until the Santana family adopted her. America eventually regained her memories and saw a child psychologist. She rediscovered her powers and fought crime on the streets.
Chavez has worked with numerous superhero teams and fought in the Second Civil War.
32. Lady Death
Lady Death is a character created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, and her first appearance was in 1941. She resides in her own version of reality, the Realm of Death. She has the ability to take up any form but is usually seen depicting herself as a living human female or a woman’s human skeleton.
Thanos the Titan was head-over-heels for Death and would find her company comforting. She attended his school while masquerading as a girl. Thanos was manipulated by Death into murdering his own kind and eventually grew to resent her.
However, that didn’t last long. The Titan stopped at nothing to win her favor. Even after murdering countless innocents, Death was still not impressed.
33. Angelica Jones/Firestar
Angelica Jones was created by John Romita Jr. and Chris Claremont and made her first appearance in May 1985. As a teenager, Jones faced a lot of hurdles, including bullying, the loss of her grandmother, and coping with her newfound powers
Firestar was sought by both Xavier and Frost but enrolled at Frost’s Massachusetts Academy. She is capable of generating immense heat through the manipulation of microwave energy. She is also capable of flight. Firestar was one of the few mutants left after the Scarlet Witch’s mutant decimation.
“Everyone’s got a role for me… Team leader. Cancer survivor. Cover story. Mutant. And I am all those things and then some. But what about how I define myself? What I want my life to be about? And allowing myself the chance to succeed or fail at it.”
34. Jubilation Lee/Jubilee
Jubilation Lee was created by Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri and made her first appearance in January 1989. Jubilee discovered her powers at a young age, only a few years before her parents died in a mysterious car accident. Sent to an orphanage that she tried to escape from, Jubilee was fortunately rescued by the X-Men.
Jubilee’s powers include the ability to generate fireworks and is a skilled gymnast. She is mainly known for her role in the X-Men and Generation X.
“We can do anything. We can be anyone. That’s the definition of being alive. That’s magic. Race you to the bottom!”
35. Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock/Psylocke
Psylocke was created by Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe and made her first appearance in December 1976.
Psylocke is a nuanced character because she has dealt with many different conflicts. Her tactical abilities are on par with her brother Captain Britain’s, whose mantle she’d pick up later for a short while.
She worked with the S.T.R.I.K.E Psi Division as a secret agent for a while before she became the new Captain Britain. After an encounter with an old foe, she was blinded.
Braddocks stepped down, but with a bit of help from the X-Men, she got her vision back and decided to team up with them. Eventually, she became a part of the team and changed her name to Psylocke.
“It isn’t the morality of the mission that frightens me.. it is my elation at the opportunity to repay these devils.”
36. Cindy Moon/Silk
Cindy Moon was created by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos and first appeared in April 2014. Silk is mainly known for her relationship with Spider-Man and her role in the Spider-Verse.
Silk’s story starts when she is bitten by the same radioactive spider as Spider-Man. In the comics, Cindy’s personality is initially described as anxious and withdrawn. However, she eventually makes various friends and copes with her social anxiety in different ways.
In the comics, Silk’s agility and speed give her an edge over Spider-Man. While he is significantly stronger, Silk’s reflexes surpass his. Aside from her powers and physical abilities, Cindy is known for her determination to find her parents.
“Running. That’s pretty much the only thing I’m good at. Running from responsibility. Running from friends.”
“My family… we’ve been through a lot. But the thing is… we always stuck together… no matter what. Even when we couldn’t be. When we’re together, there’s nothing we can’t do!”
37. Cassandra Webb/Madame Web
Madame Web was created by Dennis O’Neil and John Romita Jr. and first appeared in August 1980. She was born blind and suffered from a neurological condition but developed powerful psychic abilities and became a clairvoyant. She discovered Spider-Man’s identity through her powers and helped him on numerous occasions.
Hooked to an intricate life-support system that resembles a web, Madame Web’s physical state is an eerie reflection of her abilities. She can peer into the Web of Life and Destiny and sense danger.
Madame Web is known for her psychic powers in the comics. She can also perform “psychic surgery,” an ancient form of psychic healing, along with telepathy and astral projection.