So I buy a lot of comics. A lot. And since Tumblr likes comics featuring awesome ladies, I figured I should write a list of all the comics currently coming out featuring awesome ladies.
First, let’s start with the superhero stuff:
1. She-Hulk by Charles Soule and Javier Pulido
We’re starting with She-Hulk both because of the recent controversial statements made by David Goyer and because she is one of my favorite superheroes.
The last She-Hulk series ended in 2009, but She-Hulk was always a mainstay of the Marvel Universe - she’s been in plenty of books, including Matt Fraction’s and Mike Allred’s excellent FF - so it was just a matter of time before she got her own book again. And like the last series, this isn’t a simple superhero book - it’s a superhero/lawyer book, with Jennifer Walters quitting a prestigious law firm to go work for herself.
I was a bit wary about Charles Soule, because I hadn’t read anything he had written (and the only thing I knew he had written was Superman/Wonder Woman, a pairing I don’t exactly subscribe to), but his version of She-Hulk turned out to be excellent: she’s strong and sure of herself, but also has a tendency to go off half-cocked and sometimes makes bad or impulsive decisions. And perhaps it’s the fact that Soule himself was a lawyer, but her cases are much more interesting than I’ve seen before.
If you enjoy She-Hulk, if you like comedy and adventure and monkeys, then read this.
What you need to know to read it: Jennifer Walters is a lawyer and also She-Hulk. That’s about it.
2. Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
Even with only three issues (so far), this is the best superhero comic out right now. Why? Because it knows it’s characters, it knows where it’s going, and it knows what it’s doing.
Specifically, it shows us the main character, Kamala Khan, so well that we almost immediately identify with her, even if we don’t share her own life experiences. And the series takes its time in introducing every element of Kamala’s world - it doesn’t force huge superhero battles, hell, Kamala hasn’t even appeared in the costume on the cover yet. It’s allowing everything to build up naturally and yet it never feels slow.
Also, it’s hilarious.
What you need to know to read it: Pretty much nothing.
3. Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez
So a few years ago, Kelly Sue DeConnick was assigned to write the old Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers. She, and Marvel, decided to it was silly to keep calling her “Ms. Marvel” when she had been around for such a long time, so they upgraded her to Captain Marvel. Kelly Sue’s first Captain Marvel series went on for 17 issues and has been collected into three trade paperbacks (Captain Marvel: In Pursuit of Flight, Captain Marvel: Down, and Avengers Assemble: The Enemy Within, which is confusing, I know) and showed Carol Danvers as the kickass superhero she was always meant to be.
The second series involves Captain Marvel journeying to outer space and looks to be an incredibly fun space adventure.
What you need to know to read it: Carol Danvers was a Colonel in the Air Force before getting trapped in an explosion from a Psyche-Magnetron and gaining the powers of the original Captain Marvel and…you know, you don’t really need to know any of that. You just need to know that Carol Danvers is a kickass lady who has superpowers. Also, in the last series, she sort of got amnesia.
Now, let’s get off of the beaten path (meaning “non-superheroes”):
4. Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark
Lazarus is the story of Forever Carlyle, the “Lazarus” of the Family Carlyle, in this dystopian America where the government collapses and corporations took over. What is a Lazarus? Well, Forever has been genetically manipulated to heal from almost all wounds and more. She is the Family’s sword and scalpel, designed to protect them and kill anyone who would harm the Family. But she’s also a human being and finds herself morally conflicted on many aspects of her job.
I’ve always loved Greg Rucka’s writing (the first thing I read of his was Queen & Country and it remains my favorite) and Michael Lark’s artwork is particularly excellent (he always worked by Rucka on Gotham Central, which is another amazing series). Both of them combined to create one amazing, awesome look at the future. And the first trade paperback, Lazarus Vol 1: Family, is out now.
What you need to know to read it: Nothing, it’s self-contained.
5. Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios
What if I told you this was a Western about Death’s daughter named Deathface Ginny? But it’s not told from her perspective. Instead, it’s told by a skeletal bunny named Bones Bunny and a butterfly. And they aren’t just telling her story, but also the story of Sissy and Fox and Big Alice. And the story is about life and death and Death and it’s weird and wonderful and so incredibly smart, you’ll read it and be amazed.
I think I got a bit off-track there, but seriously, this is an amazing book.
Oh, yeah, and right now all the issues have been collected into a trade paperback called Pretty Deadly Vol 1: The Shrike.
What you need to know to read it: Absolutely nothing.
6. Red Sonja by Gail Simone and Walter Geovani
I know what you’re probably thinking: “Red Sonja? You mean the one with the chainmail bikini.” Yes, that one. It’s better than you think. In fact, it’s better and funnier than what you think.
The character of Red Sonja has always stepped on that fine line between kickass female character and…well, not. The problem was that there tended to be a lot of baggage - her origin was…not good (it involved her getting raped and then getting fighting skills by having to swear that she would only lay with a man who could beat her in fair combat).
Gail Simone ejects all that baggage and remakes Red Sonja anew. And it she is all the better for it: she is fun and funny and awesome. She makes jokes and shoots people with arrows and sleeps with whomever she likes. One current running gag is all about how Red Sonja, not having bathed for a few weeks, is really stinky (and thus cannot get laid). It is, in fact, one of the funniest books out there and you, yes you, should read it.
The first volume of Gail Simone’s run, Red Sonja: Queen of Plagues, is out now.
What you need to know to read it: Nothing, since Red Sonja’s new origins are retold.
7. Velvet by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting
From the team that brought you Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes Velvet: a swirling swim through spy fiction, where the main character, Velvet Templeton, starts off as a Ms. Moneypenny type character…and then shows everyone that she is so much more.
I’ve always liked Brubaker’s writing, but it’s Epting’s artwork that makes this book so amazing. Everything is so detailed, it looks like what a spy movie would look like. And Velvet Tempteton is an amazing character, one of the few female characters who is actually in her forties and still kicking ass.
What you need to know to read it: Nothing, it’s all self-contained, baby.
And now for something completely different:
8: Lumberjanes by Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, and Brooke A. Allen
This is slightly cheating since Lumberjanes doesn’t feature one awesome lady: it features tons of awesome ladies.
Let me just quote the description of the first issue: “Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together…and they’re not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way!”
Yes, it is awesome. Yes, it is weird. Yes, you should read it. There are only two issues out now, so you can catch up quickly. Go. Now. What are you waiting for?