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She Has No Head! - 10 Ladies Making A Run For The Title

SIF

Sif was on my short list of potentials on the original list anyway and now that I see her in action in Journey Into Mystery I’m convinced I was on the right track! Valkyrie and Misty Knight have not been so lucky as Fearless Defenders isn’t doing anything for me yet, but there’s plenty of time! Sif, in Kathryn Immonen and Valerie Schiti’s Journey Into Mystery is bold and brave, berserk and burly. She’s also other adjectives that don’t start with B – like fiercely passionate and unyielding in her commitment. She’s a warrior through and through and I just can’t wait to see what she’ll do next. I'm also a sucker for great fish out of water stories and since Sif has just landed in our world, I look forward to more of that hilarity.

Sif is currently starring in Kathryn Immonen and Valerie Schiti’s Journey Into Mystery.

PSYLOCKE

Between what Rick Remender and Jerome Opena did with the character in the brilliant Uncanny X-Force, her recent costume change courtesy of the uber talented Kris Anka, her appearances in Brian Wood and David Lopez’s X-Men her recent appearance in Sam Humphries and Ron Garney’s new Uncanny X-Force and her upcoming role in Brian Wood and Oliver Coipel’s (new) X-Men I am in love with this character in a way I haven’t been since I was 16 (and blissfully unaware of how she came to be in the first place). I’ve always liked this character even though she’s problematic, but her stories for years have been a nightmare (not to mention her visual portrayals) so it’s exciting to see the character getting such a surge of interest by talented creators and thus a true chance at redemption. I'm excited!

You can read more of Psylocke in the new Uncanny X-Force by Sam Humphries and Ron Garney, and in May you should look for her in Brian Wood and Oliver Coipel’s X-Men. In the meantime, I urge you to pick up some of the Uncanny X-Force trades, especially “The Apocalypse Solution”

CAPTAIN MARVEL aka CAROL DANVERS

Of all the shocking ladies to show up on this list, Carol Danvers is perhaps most shocking of all, as the teenaged me fell in love with Rogue instantly and never looked back. And you know how teenage love is, it’s ferociously loyal (to a stupid degree) which means I hated Carol Danvers on Rogue’s behalf (even though Rogue was the bad guy…I know, I know). Even as a more rational adult I still never thought Carol would become a favorite character of mine, even as I read her in Alias and decided I didn’t hate her. However, Kelly Sue DeConnick and her series Captain Marvel is making a liar out of me.  I love DeConnick’s Carol. How could anyone not? She’s powerful and smart, funny and flawed. She’s vulnerable and yet completely heroic, in short, she feels decidedly like a real person, in the best of ways. DeConnick has made me truly care about Carol (enough that she’s making a run for my favorites list) in only a few short issues, and that is a feat indeed.

You can read more about Carol in Kelly Sue DeConnick’s ongoing Captain Marvel series from Marvel. If you can’t afford to start at the beginning, I suggest issue #9 as a great jumping on point. Although if you'd like to see Carol and Monica Rambeau hanging out, I suggest starting at Captain Marvel #7

BLACK WIDOW

Between the movie, the Marjorie Liu mini-series, and a slew of great guest appearances in everything from Warren Ellis’s Secret Avengers run and Ed Brubaker’s Winter Soldier run, to Cullen Bunn and Francesco Francovilla’s Capt. America and Black Widow arc - Black Widow has had a great year. The only thing that could further solidify it would be a stand alone book with a top notch creative team. I know it was tried in 2010 and didn’t quite work, but with the new push on female characters at Marvel of late AND the movie popularity, I figure now’s as good a time as any to see Natasha give her own book another good try. For a creative team – and assuming I don’t want to take anyone off of books I already love (i.e. Phil Noto would be a great artist for it, but he’s on Ghost, same with Daniel Acuna who did the Liu series, but he’s on Uncanny Avengers it seems). So I humbly suggest Jesus Saiz, who draws powerful beautiful women well and has a clean unfettered style that would fit practical Natasha nicely. If the book was to take a darker tone, Francesco Francavilla would be a nice fit. For a writer…well, I thought Marjorie Liu captured her perfectly but if Marvel doesn’t want to repeat themselves so soon after trying that pairing, I would love to see Greg Rucka brought back to write her. I’d love to see what Rucka can do with the current version of Natasha.

You can read more about Natasha in a variety of books where she guest stars – most notably the recent books listed above. But I definitely urge you to check out Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuna’s excellent trade “The Name Of The Rose” as well.

STORM and JUBILEE (TIE)

So interesting for these two to be on the list together. I’ve always liked Storm, but she’s never quite made the jump to favorites. Under Brian Wood and David Lopez’s direction in X-Men (short but wonderful) she became the character I guess I always believed she could be.  Now with her co-starring in the new Uncanny X-Force and poised to be written by Brian Wood again in the new X-Men series coming in May, I think Storm has a real chance of solidifying herself as a mainstay on my favorites list.  Jubilee on the other hand I was never that fond of. And if you’ve told me I would come to really enjoy her after she lost her mutant powers and became * sigh * a vampire, I would have called you a liar. But thanks to a fantastic mini-series – Wolverine & Jubilee by Kathryn Immonen and Phil Noto, I find myself interested in Jubilee like never before. Since she is another character that's going to be written by Brian Wood in the upcoming X-Men, and as a result I think she’s got a solid shot, just like Storm, of making herself comfortable on my favorites list. It’s amazing what a few great stories by a few great creators, can do.

You can read Storm now in Uncanny X-Force (and ultimate Storm in Brian Wood’s Ultimate Comics X-Men), Jubilee is mostly absent until Brian Wood and Oliver Coipel’s X-Men, which will debut at the end of May and which stars both ladies.  But I urge you to pick up the Wolverine & Jubilee mini-series so you can see how far the character has come in recent years.

An Honorable Mention goes to GLORY. I can’t really add her to the list since her series is ending and thus it makes it harder if not impossible for her to continue crawling into the Top 20, but I have been mightily impressed with what Ross Campbell and Joe Keatinge have done with her, especially visually. And that last issue (#33) man, what a gut punch. Glory as imagined by Ross Campbell and Joe Keatinge deserves kudos, if only because never in a million years would I have dreamed the original Glory could come anywhere NEAR a top 20 list of mine…unless it was a Top 20 worsts. That kind of re-imagining is deserving of something shiny! The first trade is out now.

Looking over this list, there are two things that bum me out about it:

#1 - the diversity seems seriously lacking. Fortunately my original list has a pretty good range…but still, the lack of diversity seems to speak volumes about the lack of push we’ve still got for non-white female characters.

#2 – There’s not a single DC character on the list. The original list had an incredibly dominant 9 ladies – and they took the top 3 spots, but the fact that in the last two plus years and with a reboot in the mix they haven’t got anyone on the new list is a really bad sign. The only two characters I even considered adding were Duane Swierczysnki's Starling and Scott Snyder’s Harper Row.  In the case of Starling, I’m hesitant about her future (and if there is one?) since Swierczynski has left the Birds of Prey title, so I left her off. In the case of Harper Row, I don’t think I’ve seen quite enough yet to know whether she belongs here and I’m not sure where her future lies (though if it’s decidedly Robin-ish then she’s got a pretty good chance in the right writer’s hands of making the grade!)

So, those are the ladies that are gunning for the coveted title of my 20 Favorite Fictional Comics Females. What about you? Who’s making a run for your list these days?

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