Marvel has long been accused of not allowing people of color to shine, especially when their film franchise took off. Many fans were wondering when some of the more well-known characters of color would not only make an appearance but have a storyline that wasn’t wasteful. Thanks to Black Panther fans are seeing a turn in the franchise. Before we had Black Panther there was War Machine who made a majority of his appearances in the Iron Man film franchise. He wasn’t an integral character even though they gave him a few big responsibilities. Many fans of the films don’t realize that the comics actually highlight a decent amount of POC superheroes. They don’t get the hype they deserve but maybe the franchise is finally moving into that.
10 Luke Cage
It may be safe to say that Luke Cage is one of the more popular Marvel characters that is a person of color. He had his own show on Netflix for 2 seasons that for the most part was pretty popular. It really brought Luke Cage to the forefront for people who were not necessarily into reading comic books.
However, the first Luke Cage comic surfaced in June of 1972. It featured a young man from Harlem, NY who was on the wrong path. He becomes a science experiment for Dr. Noah Burstein who injects Luke with a serum that is meant to alter his physical strength. The doctor was on a mission to create a super soldier. The serum is a success even beyond what the doctor expected.
Born and raised in Vietnam, Karma is part of the New Mutants. Her ability is to possess people’s minds and take control of their body. Karma’s twin brother has the same power, however, he used his power for evil along with their uncle. Karma first appeared in Marvel Team Up #100 in 1972. Some of her major story arcs include her battling her evil twin brother, and becoming the first New Mutant when it was believed that the X-Men died in space. Of course, we also have to mention when she was on the “Asgardian Diet” thanks to The Enchantress and Loki. Sadly, Karma didn’t make an appearance in the New Mutants TV show The Gifted.
Shuri, the younger sister of the Black Panther T’Challa, has a few powers of her own. In the film, she is portrayed as the super smart, technologically savvy sister whose inventions have helped keep Wakanda and its residents safe.
However, she too comes into powers of her own and even has a stint as the Black Panther, and uses her status and power to protect her country, friends, and family. Believe it or not, she was only created in 2002 and so has not had a lot of opportunity for crossovers. That does not mean that we won’t see her full potential on the big screen as the Black Panther movie series continues.
7 War Machine
Also famously known as “Rhodey”, James Rhodes is most famously known as Tony Stark’s friend/sidekick. In the Iron Man films, he is played by Don Cheadle, but he made his first comic book debut in 1979. Initially a pilot and close confidant of Tony Stark, he became War Machine when Tony relapsed back into alcoholism and the world needed a superhero. War Machine became the go-to for a while, all while keeping his loyalty to Tony. War Machine has had some pretty amazing storylines that are certainly worth a read. He traveled back in time to World War II, and he was one of the head trainers at Camp Hammond where he was able to show off some of his unique techniques.
Blade has had a lot of exposure but it’s funny that many people still don’t know that he is a part of the Marvel universe. He has a standalone story and had his own series of films that weren’t marketed based on his Marvel connection.
However, if you follow the comics you know that Blade has put his time in with the crew. He focuses more on the occult side of things seeing as he is half-vampire. He debuted in 1973 and the crew he normally ran with included Doctor Strange, Frank Drake, and Hannibal King. For the most part, though, he has battled alone which is true to his nature.
The last time fans saw Jubilee was when she was a background character in X-Men Apocalypse. She didn’t do much there, but the creators certainly wanted fans to know that she was in the movie, as they dressed her in the distinctive Jubilee outfit; bright yellow jacket, gloves, and pink sunglasses. But let’s be real, Jubilee has been around for a very long time, and she is one of the few Chinese-American characters in this comic universe. She was turned into a vampire and she even became an adoptive mother at one point, which would be great to see on the big screen.
4 Cecilia Reyes
A woman of color, and a doctor, and a mutant. How awesome would it be to see Cecilia Reyes on the big screen? Cecilia made her first appearance in 1997. She was a poor girl of Puerto Rican descent who grew up kind of rough. The comic emphasized how hard she had to work for everything and because she worked so hard she wanted to stay in her profession.
However, she did use her power to help out the X-Men for a time. She could generate a force field around herself and others. Her time with the X-Men showed her how to control her power and what it meant to have a family. She even had a little bit of a fling with Beast. They probably had a lot in common seeing as they are both doctors.
3 Black Panther
The recent Marvel movie has certainly increased the popularity of Black Panther. However, the character has actually been around since 1966. Black Panther defeated the Fantastic Four as one of his first tasks and he quickly teamed up with The Avengers afterward. His techno-jungle powers fascinated the Avengers and he eventually carried on helping them with missions. However, he always returned home to Wakanda to protect his people and the country.
This Native-American superhero was born in Colorado. She developed her powers during puberty meaning she has the exciting “X gene” that Professor Xavier is so obsessed with. She is telepathic and has the ability to create illusions of her enemies worst fears. As she got older her powers developed and she also acquired new powers, including super-strength and telepathy (and her telepathy was developed enough to include psionic arrows and bullets). She started off with the New Mutants and eventually joined the X-Men. To this day she is still one of the very few Native-American superheroes.
1 Alex Wilder
Part of the Runaways, Alex Wilder and his group of childhood friends find out that their parents are part of a secret society that is kind of evil. His parents are superhuman mob bosses but he develops absolutely no powers. However, some people dispute this because Alex is a child prodigy and extremely smart. He essentially becomes the brains of the group. Alex takes on things behind the scenes and is the one who masterminds the big escape from the evil parents. He even helps Karolina and Molly discover their own powers, and proves superheroes don't have to be literally 'super'.