Top 10 Female Marvel Characters

Female Marvel characters

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It’s telling that most of the female characters who were introduced as secondary members for teams like the X-Men and Avengers have become standalone phenomenons—some now with their own comic book storylines and feature films. With the debut of the Invisible Woman in 1961, Marvel has been leading the helm in creating iconic female superheroes. So we’re highlighting our favorites with a list of the top female Marvel characters.

It was not easy to whittle down ten of the best from the several hundred Marvel has in its roster. It’s harder to find a female superhero that isn’t impressive. But even with that in mind, we feel these particular names are head and shoulders above the rest.

10. Squirrel Girl

Squirrel Girl, one of the most interesting female Marvel characters
Image: Marvel

Squirrel Girl is not on the radar of most casual Marvel fans, but that’s part of what makes her such an interesting character. She’s an oddball who was created by Will Murray and Steve Ditko in an effort to break up the seriousness of Marvel origin stories and give fans something lighter and sillier. Squirrel Girl, as you can ascertain from the name, fits the bill perfectly.

The character splits her time between crime-fighting and college, but unlike Spider-Man, her outwardly dorky abilities and self-effacing sense of humor make her about as relatable and charming as a superhero can get. She hasn’t debuted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet, but we get the sense it’s only a matter of time.

9. Invisible Woman

Invisible Woman, one of the most versatile female Marvel characters
Image: Marvel

The first lady of Marvel had to be included among the best female Marvel characters. The Invisible Woman (aka Susan Storm) was the first female superhero to grace the pages of a Marvel comic book, and therefore, the reason the other characters on this list exist.

Invisible Woman wasn’t an especially distinct character when she debuted in Fantastic Four #1, but she’s grown exponentially over time, and her role as the peacemaker of the team has evolved for the better. Her powers—which include invisibility, levitation, invisible shields, and energy blasts—make her one of the most versatile female superheroes in all of Marvel.

8. Mystique

Mystique, among the most dangerous female Marvel characters
Image: Marvel

Mystique is a shapeshifter who has the ability to mimic anybody, which makes her a particularly dangerous foe for the X-Men. She shares a lot of the same beliefs as her partner-in-crime, Magneto, but Mystique’s personal connections to the rest of the Marvel universe makes her an arguably more intriguing character. She’s the longtime friend of Professor X, the mother of the villain Graydon Creed, and the adoptive mother of one of the other female Marvel characters on this list: Rogue.

Mystique has also benefited greatly from her depictions onscreen. Her relevance to the plot of films like X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past have made her even more popular. It helps, of course, that those are two of the best X-Men films to date.

7. Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel
Image: Marvel

Captain Marvel (aka Carol Danvers) is bad news for anybody who gets in her way. She’s one of the strongest characters in all of Marvel, which is a trait that’s also carried over to the MCU, as evidenced by her depiction in films like Avengers: Endgame and The Marvels. In the case of the former, she’s one of the few Avengers who is able to go toe-to-toe with Thanos and live to tell the tale! In the latter, she’s powerful enough to literally reignite a sun.

Carol Danvers may not be the first person to go by the Captain Marvel moniker, but her friendship with Mar-Vell, the title’s originator, have led to her contemplating fascinating questions about identity and heroism in the comic books. She’s got the power to leave an impression with the depth to keep us invested.

6. Rogue

Marvel Rogue
Image: Marvel

Rogue has gone through lots of different iterations over the years. In the 1980s, she was a breakout addition to the X-Men comics, in the 1990s she was a stalwart on the X-Men animated series, and in the 2000s she was a centerpiece in the X-Men cinematic universe. 

It’s worth noting that the adult, outgoing, and charismatic version of the character found in the comics and animated series is wildly different from the tortured and teenaged version found in the films. That both caught on with fans is a testament to Rogue’s appeal and her unique powers. There aren’t many superheroes who can do what she does (absorb the powers of others).

5. She-Hulk

Image: Marvel

Deadpool gets a lot of credit for being wise-cracking superhero, but She-Hulk put her own spin on the fourth-wall-breaking routine when she was overhauled as a comic book character in 1997. She went from being a blatant spin-off of her cousin, the Hulk, to a scene-stealer with her own MCU television series, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

She’s just as powerful as The Hulk, but her ability to balance incredible strength with cunning is what’s allowed her to triumph in comic book storylines like Immortal She-Hulk, where she artfully escapes the Marvel equivalent of Hell.

4. Storm

Marvel Storm
Image: Marvel

Storm is arguably the coolest Marvel character. Her ability to command the elements and use the weather to defeat her enemies makes her as menacing as she is powerful. Plus, some of the most underrated X-Men comic books feature her at the center, like Uncanny X-Men #201, where she challenges Cyclops for leadership of the team.

Storm is perhaps less memorable in the X-Men films (Halle Berry never did quite figure out what to do with the character’s accent), but the fact that she remains untouchable in the comic book space speaks to her effect on readers. Plus, her brief marriage to Black Panther made her part of the definitive Marvel power couple.

3. Black Widow

Marvel Black Widow
Image: Marvel

Black Widow gets a lot of points for being the only female superhero on the list to not have any powers. She’s such a skilled spy that she is able to go into battle with some of the most powerful characters in the galaxy and come out on top. That has to be recognized, and rewarded. 

Cinematically speaking, Black Widow has usurped Captain Marvel and effectively become the first lady of the MCU, being one of the main characters in the hallowed Infinity Stone saga. The Black Widow film may have been underwhelming, but the fact that she was the first of the female Marvel characters to get a standalone film speaks to her generation-spanning impact.

2. Wanda Maximoff

Wanda Maximoff
Image: Marvel

Wanda Maximoff (aka Scarlet Witch), has one of the most fascinating backstories in all of Marvel. Her family tree is littered with superheroes and supervillains, including her brother Quicksilver and her father Magneto (though recent comics have undone the latter). 

Scarlet Witch also boasts one of the most impressive lists of superpowers, as she can teleport, fly, control peoples’ minds, and access pretty much any form of witchcraft in the known universe. She even once wiped out all of mutantkind in the comic book House of M, so you know she’s not to be messed with! Elizabeth Olsen’s portrayal of the character in the MCU only boosted her profile, and we couldn’t be happier.

1. Jean Grey

Jean Grey
Image: Marvel

It’s worth noting upfront that Jean Grey has suffered tremendously as a film character. She’s been the focus of two of the most reviled films in the entire X-Men canon: X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Dark Phoenix . These releases fail miserably at capturing who we believe to be the most fascinating and tragic female superhero in Marvel history.

Jean Grey was introduced as Marvel Girl, a powerful albeit sweet member of the X-Men, in 1963. As time wore on, however, her powers grew stronger, and she eventually turned into Phoenix, an Omega-level mutant (aka don’t mess with her, ever). Terrifyingly, she transformed yet again into one of the most powerful Marvel villains, Dark Phoenix, a self-destructive, galaxy-threatening force that overpowered the woman we once knew.

The Dark Phoenix saga, a series of X-Men comics that were released during the 1970s and early 80s, rank among the greatest Marvel stories ever told. Its success wouldn’t have been possible without the gripping narrative and attachment to Jean Grey.

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