Captain Marvel is hitting theaters nationwide this week and we couldn’t be more excited. Carol Danvers, played by Brie Larson in the sure to be blockbuster film, has a storied history in the Marvel universe. She came onto the scene in 1968 as the first to hold the Ms. Marvel name. (Kamala Khan currently holds the title, long may she reign.) In 2012, she assumed the mantle of Captain Marvel -- a role originally held by Mar-Vell. And we’ve been cheering her on ever since.
To celebrate the release of Captain Marvel, we’re looking back on our favorite female superheroes who’ve taken on the mantel from their male counterparts. Shazam!
Superhero fans worldwide got a taste of Spider-Gwen’s abilities and badass personality in the recent Spider-Man Into the Spiderverse animated movie. Gwen Stacy made her way into the Marvel universe in 2015 and as far as she’s concerned, she’s the only radioactive spider-bitten superhero to ever exist. In Gwen’s world, Peter Parker is her best friend -- one who (spoiler alert!) dies in her arms while she’s dressed as Spider-Woman. The death of Peter Parker sets up Gwen for the entire Spider-Gwen series, becoming a second origin story of sorts.
Thor, the Goddess of Thunder
Jane Foster joined the Marvel universe in 1962 as a supporting character to Thor, but it wasn’t until 2014 that she assumed the mantle of Thor. (Talk about a long road to that promotion, right?) When the superhero formerly known as Thor relinquishes his hammer, Jane Foster intercepts it and defeats Malekith the Accursed, Dario Agger, and the Absorbing Man. The original Thor does attempt to reclaim the hammer, but after he sees Jane’s strength and power, he officially relinquishes and takes on the name Odinson to honor his father. And while the two are fighting crime side by side, we’re still a little angry that Odinson underestimated Jane for so long. She beat cancer. What’s more powerful than that?
Riri Williams has been part of the Marvel universe since May 2016, where she made a cameo appearance in Invincible Iron Man. Riri officially became part of the Iron Man universe later that year, after creating her own Ironheart suit as an engineering student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (Where she has a scholarship, naturally.) Riri’s adventures in the Marvel universe are just getting started and we’re eagerly awaiting every twist and turn in her superhero adventures. While she hasn’t officially taken over as Iron Man, we’re hopeful that the comic eventually takes that direction. In the meantime, she has Tony Stark’s full endorsement -- and has even teamed up with the Tony Stark A.I. in her journey.
Jennifer Walters first appeared in the Marvel universe in 1980 in her own series -- Savage She-Hulk. According to her origin story, Jennifer received a blood transfusion from her cousin Bruce Banner after she suffered a life-threatening injury. Through this transfusion, she acquired a slightly milder set of Hulk conditions, while still retaining her personality. (All this and a personality too? Stan Lee, you’re too generous.) Over the years, She-Hulk has appeared in a myriad of comic series. But our favorite is her appearance in Patsy Walker aka Hellcat, where she runs a law office and works as an attorney.
Looking for more incredible female superheroes to fall in love with? Check out The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen by Hope Nicholson.