A couple of weeks ago Thea talked about Unexpected Superheroes, and I have been thinking about it for a while. I’ve been reading a lot of comics too and I am slightly stunned with the amount of awesome, unexpected superheroines I’ve found lately. So here is my own list of unusual comics and heroines with a difference.
Faith by Jody Houser, Francis Portela, and Marguerite Sauvage
I just started reading Valiant Comic’s Faith (written by Orphan Black’s comic writer Jody Houser), and I am completely in love with it. Faith Herbert aka Zephyr, is a psiot with flight ability and with (thus far limited) telekinetic powers who was originally part of the superhero team Renegades, though is now flying solo. Faith was launched with a four-part miniseries, followed by a currently ongoing series. The miniseries follows Faith as she establishes herself as a solo superheroine in LA, complete with secret identity and everything, just as an evil plot to take over the world starts rolling. Faith is an optimist badass, a super cool – and geeky – superhero who genuinely fights for the good guys. Her weight (let’s just say she’s not stick thin) is a complete non-issue within the comic – it’s not commented on, it doesn’t play any role whatsoever in her powers, or self-identity and empowerment, and she has plenty of cool awesome guys totally wanting to date her. This type of body-positive representation and utter optimism are sorely missing from our sources of entertainment so Faith is a breath of fresh air on both accounts. I’ve read the first issue of the new run and it ends on an impossibly awesome cliff-hanger. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
Speaking of optimism and happy comics, Squirrel Girl gives me life. Doreen Green is a superhero with the power of both squirrel and girl and she is hands down the most powerful superhero you will ever know. Hence, unbeatable. With her sidekick Tippy-toe and best friend Nancy, Doreen is an optimist, uplifting heroine who often talks villains into stopping their villainy—that’s how she defeated Galactus by the way, by befriending him. But when talking won’t sort it, punching will do it too. This comic is hilarious and welcoming and the experience of reading it is like spending time with best friends, eating your favourite foods, and generally having a good time.
Also a reboot, the new series started in 2015 and it’s still going strong with several fun-filled trades already out.
Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
A dark Fantasy comic, with incredibly fleshed-out and rich world-building, Monstress follows a war survivor named Maika who is desperately trying to find out the secrets her mother kept from her and which might hold the explanation to why Maika happens to have a monster living inside her. With a story that tackles heavy issues like oppression and slavery, Monstress is also about the flip side: freedom and equality. Maika also has just one hand and most characters are people of colour and women. You walk into this beautiful, gorgeously created world and you never want to leave because there is a purpose behind everything. Plus, cute, talking cats.
Plutona by Jeff Lemire and Emi Lenox
Plutona is Stand by Me with superheroes. A group of kids stumble on a body in the woods and things get pretty dark pretty soon. A character-driven, coming-of-age piece, the focus lies on the friendships and relationships between the teenagers as well as how harmful it is to have a world where some people have superpowers and others… don’t. How far would you go to become powerful?
Plutona herself is a super-powerful, indestructible heroine who is a single-mother working as a waitress at a dinner during the day so she can make ends meet in order to feed her little kid.
The trade collection has 5 issues and it looks pretty self-contained to me – although I’d love to see more of it.
I want to see more of all of these. Everywhere.