Q&A 44 What comic book heroine would you like to see in her own solo adventures?

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.

What comic book heroine would you like to see in her own solo adventures?



Except not the comic book version. The one from the animated adventures of the Justice League. Shayera is easily in my top ten favorite superheroes, male or female, of all time. Probably top five. She is multi-faceted and while her character arc in the series has a lot of depth, I find myself wanting more. In her own series, we could see her on Thanagar, meet the Hro she loved, before he became so jaded he’s willing to blow up a planet. We could watch her watching the Justice League those five years under cover. What about the time in between leaving and returning to the League, when she’s living with Aquaman (I mean, seriously, don’t you want to know that story)? And Shayera has interesting relationships with everyone — her sisterly bond with Wally is adorable. Her rivalry with and respect for Diana is beautifully complicated. Why does Clark trust her? Why does she know Bruce is Batman before Wally and John do? And there is a lot more to be told in the story with John if their son ends up fighting alongside Terry McGinnis.

So, since there are zero boundaries on my answer: Shayera Hol. And she should mentor the animated Teen Titans‘ Terra.

THAT would be an awesome comic.


I’ve recently read comments to the effect that Natasha Romanova, aka the Black Widow, is becoming Marvel’s female answer to Wolverine. She’s shown up as a character in the Iron Man and New Avengers comics, as well as Thunderbolts. She’s also the current Captain America’s girlfriend and partner in espionage hijinks. Even more important in achieving status as a ‘big name’ character, she’s going to be played by Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2.


The one thing Natasha doesn’t have? A starring role. She’s had a few solo miniseries over the years, but for the most part this talented superspy, who’s been kicking around the Marvel Universe since 1964, has been a supporting cast member and free-range love interest. (Hawkeye? Check. Daredevil? Check. Bucky Barnes? Check. Tony Stark? Ch — well, okay, who hasn’t?) Whether in a comic, a movie, or a weekly TV series, there’s plenty of opportunity for the Widow at the center of her own spy story.


While my instinct is to express my desire for a She-Hulk relaunch, I’ll save those thoughts for an upcoming She-Hulk-centric post. So in this case, I’m going to go with my other favorite female character, who’s never even gotten a miniseries to herself: Jean Grey.

Oh, sure, there have been Jean-related minis and story arcs. There was The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix… which was mainly about Cable. There was Phoenix: Endsong… which was mostly about Scott and Emma’s angst. There was Phoenix: Warsong — oh, wait, she wasn’t even in that one. And then there was the Dark Phoenix Saga, where she was possessed by an evil entity, mentally manipulated, and driven to suicide. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Jean Grey is a fantastic character. She’s one of the first women of the Marvel Universe, the first of Xavier’s students, the first female X-Man, and, at certain points in her history, the most powerful mutant in the world. And when she (inevitably) returns from the land of the dead, I want to see a book that’s actually about her. A book where she’s the lead, where she is corporeal and in full control of her senses and makes her own decisions. She can have the Phoenix powers — heck, I’d be happy to see the “Phoenix Corps” book my friends have discussed so frequently — but in the end, I’d want it to be Jean’s story. She’s earned it.


Agent Abigail Brand.

Now, I’m given to understand that Kieron Gillen’s S.W.O.R.D. comic is going to give me some of that. More of Agent Brand, at least, though in an ensemble. (But what an ensemble! I can’t wait.) But I haven’t yet seen too much of Brand. Her brief appearance in the new Spider-Woman comic filled me with intense glee. Her snappish repartee with Hank McCoy in Astonishing X-Men — both the Whedon and the Ellis runs — makes me cackle with delight.

But none of that is why I think she’d make a good ongoing series. Agent Brand would make for a good ongoing series the way Sydney Bristow did in the television show Alias. She works for an unscrupulous agency, she’s a loner by circumstance who clearly relishes close relationships, she’s incredibly intelligent, committed, willful — and has an utterly hopeless job. Moreover, Brand has completely and totally failed at said job in very recent memory. She’s depressed, vindictive, and willing to take crazy chances to prove to herself that she’s not worthless.

What is there not to like?

What comic book heroine would you like to see in her own solo adventures?

  • stuclach

    I would buy Hawkgirl for my daughters in a heartbeat. They need some strong female role models.

  • Caroline

    This is a great set of answers. Sigrid, I’m hoping that SWORD will be something like the Brand book you want. Jen. . .I don’t know about Jean, but Bendis has even said that getting her away from the X-Men for a while would be good for the character. And the Hawkgirl idea is fantastic — like Stuclach said, you could do a great all-ages comic based on toon-Hawkgirl. She’s totally the kind of character who would have excited me when I was a kid/young teen.

  • stuclach

    I also genuinely enjoyed the Supergirl strip in Wednesday comics. It showed Supergirl as a fairly capable, but realistically behaved young woman. I plan on reading it to my girls.

    I think Zatanna (in a redesigned costume) could also be very interesting. She is markedly more powerful than she gets credit for.

    (Sorry for the DC slant. That is all I read.)

  • Good choices – but look for our new comic featuring Lady Action (first seen in Captain Action #3) this December. It’s a one-shot, but we’d like to develop it into an ongoing series.
    This over-sized issue will have two covers – A Paul Gulacy cover and a brilliant photo cover with our model!

    PS- I’d love to see a Hawkgirl series too.

  • I’d like to see a Tallulah Black get her on feature. She is currently in Jonah Hex and is basically the female version of Hex except more hotheaded and impulsive. She is willing to risk her life to get what she wants and that makes her bad ass.

  • Hawkgirl series! Oh man, Shayera is made of win! I also love the idea of a Jean book, and the Agent Brand book. And Natasha! She should have her own series. If she is Marvel’s female Wolverine, then she should get her own book, since Wolverine has like 7.

    *ponders* As for which book I want… most of the characters I love have either had their own books or mini-series. Babs had Birds, and now she has Batgirl, and she did have that horrible mini. Even Jubilee has had a mini-series. (Maybe two? I’m not sure.) And really, a lot of the books I want are team books.

    I think what I want is a Cissie King-Jones mini-series. She’s an ex-hero! Her friends have all forgotten she existed! Her dad is totally secretly Green Arrow! I want her to get mixed up in something and try to solve it on her own without going back to super-heroics. Maybe she can end up working for Checkmate at the end, as long as she is awesome.

    Plus, she totally yelled at Superman once. She’s that awesome.

  • Dan

    All great choices. However, I must confess that I’m not really a fan of the Hawks. Maybe it’s because I’ve been around long enough to have seen several of the attempts to retcon or simplify their history. Or, maybe I just don’t like them.

    I’d love to see solo adventures of Magik and Wolfsbane (preferably from the Excalibur years). They could travel the world fighting demons and other paranormal threats.

    Or a Rachel Grey series.

    Or She-Who-Needs-Not-Be-Named.

    I’ll second the Zatanna series, as well.

    Oh, and remember when Catwoman had her own series? Yeah…that was pretty cool.

  • stuclach

    Speaking of Checkmate, an Amanda Waller story told from the right perspective could make her seem rather heroic in a morally and ethically interesting way.

    I’m not sure who could write a book that is that psychologically complex without driving it into some sort of murky, bogged down discussion of morality and/or turning Waller into something she isn’t. However, if someone with the right tool set writes it, I will buy it.

  • Anika

    @Stulach My daughters do, too! And there is just so much possibility for Hawkgirl.

    And @Stulach and Dan, I love Zatanna and the attempt to give her a run was awful. I’ll get behind that.

    @Margot Cissie Series WIN! Because it could be a superhero comic about not being a superhero. Which would be awesome!! It would make up for her brief-and-out-of-character appearance in Cassie’s mini.

  • @Anika My new favorite Marvel/DC team-up would be Cissie and Jessica Jones. I want Jessica to try to mentor her and Cissie to roll her eyes a lot, and they can both talk about how you can never really escape this life as much as you may want to, and Jessica does her best to make sure that Cissie is less screwed up than she is.

    I was so excited that Cissie showed up in the mini that I forgave the OOCness. People remembered she exists! And that she’s supposedly Cassie’s BFF! (But what did they do to her HAIR?!)

    @stuclach I would read an Amanda Waller book. I would also like for Babs Gordon to be a supporting character in that book.

  • Selena

    Naturally, I’m voting for Abigail Brand as well, and am so glad she was an official suggestion! I so can’t wait for SWORD.

    And oh yes, a genuine Black Widow solo series would be nifty. I can dream of comics allowing Natasha to age a bit and be drawn to look like Lena Olin, can’t I?

  • stuclach

    Barbara Gordon is one of my favorite characters. I would love to see her in just about any book, but I’m not sure she can carry one as a solo title. Unfortunately, due to her handicap, it would obviously lack in action and probably sell poorly. Birds of Prey worked quite well, though, because she was matched with action magnets.

  • Caroline

    @stuclach Thanks for all your thoughts — if you look at the wording of the question, we specifically don’t say, “What book about a heroine do you think a lot of people would want to buy?” What we’re asking for is what *our readers* would be interested in. This is kind of an important distinction to me, because it seems that conversation about characters who aren’t ‘big stars’ — particularly characters who are women or non-white — tends to get cut off with ‘but nobody would buy that book so why are we talking about it? Q & A’s are all fantasy anyway; I don’t think any of us expect executive editors to look at our posts when making their business decisions. So it’s completely and totally about what our readers like!

    @Selena — In the sad but true category, the reason I went with the photograph of ScarJo instead of a comics art picture of Widow is that the only ones I could find with Google images looked like they began life as pornography. (I should hasten to say, this isn’t what all art of her looks like, it’s just interesting that this is what the Internet had to offer, mostly as promotional images.) Crawling Scarlett there actually looks empowered by comparison!

  • stuclach

    @Caroline – Then I will certainly state that I want a Barbara Gordon book. Action free is fine with me.

  • @stuclach Babs still manages to get in a fair amount of fights. And she usually wins. 😀

  • Selena

    Caroline – I have no problem with ScarJo as Natasha in the next movie, and agree she looks good (and as compared to your usual female character comics art, empowered). It’s just that allowing a female character to age physically and show she’s no less, only more awesome for it is one of my “it will never happen, but I so wish it would!” dream scenarios for comics, plus the Lena model is kind of obvious. :)

  • I agree w/ @stuclach. I desperately want a “good” Zantanna book. I love the idea of DC focusing on an occult threat that only she can deal with.

  • Caroline

    @Selena Oh, I agree completely. When I heard she was going to be in the movie (actually, when I guessed she was going to be in the movie, which was before I heard), I hoped they’d go with an actress closer to Downey’s age, and also European. She’s a character who would make much more sense and be more interesting as a mature woman. And yeah, shades of Irina Derevko certainly wouldn’t hurt!

    @Mandy I think it was Nunzio DeFillipis & Christina Weir who talked in an interview about a ‘Zatanna Year One’ they’d pitched; it sounded great but didn’t happen.

  • xenokattz

    @Sigrid: I heartily agree with a Brand comic. I’m going to have to put SWORD on my pull-out list; hopefully it’s everything you outlined.

    And just because I’m a raving fangirl, I’d like another Lois Lane mini. Either something where metahuman activity is incidental (eg. See Lois investigate!) or something that deals with the effects of metahuman activities on “normal” humans. Lois has a front seat to all of that and her POV as a journalist would be awesomesauce.

  • handyhunter

    I take it “Agent of Sword” (the motion comic with Spider-woman) is different from SWORD? I tried asking my comicstore people about it and only succeeded in confusing both of us.

    Anyway. I’d read a Brand series! And Jessica Jones already got her own series, but I’d read more of it, if it continued in the original tone and not like The Pulse.

  • Caroline

    This is the SWORD book. It’s different than the Bendis/Maleev motion comic, which I think is officially called Spider-Woman.

  • Twyst

    A thousand times Agent Brand, for sure. I want to know about her tattoos, and everything about her. She fascinates me. MOAR.

  • Hawkgirl! Woot! I’ve missed most of the JL cartoon due to bad timezone synchronicity, but I’ve always enjoyed the stories with her in it. She had a brief tie-in in Birds of Prey which was good. But the JL version… I’d read that.

    And I too have a weakness for Agent Brand.

  • aaron

    Okay, here’s a dumb idea I had a long time ago. Back in the 90’s, Mystique was basically partners with this old lady, Destiny, who could see the long-term future. As I recall (its been awhile) Destiny didn’t seem like much of a bad guy at all, she was just facilitating the unfolding of history (from her perspective). So here’s the thing, she’s in her 70’s or so, and she’s been a precognitive mutant her whole life. Imagine all the stuff through history she could be responsible for. You could go back to any point in history since Marvel comics were published, and she’d be there. Can you see her behind the scenes through the decades, selectively moving history around for the better (or not, she could be insane)? Maybe she tweaked things at NASA to send 4 astronouts into cosmic radiation because she knew Galactus was coming? Etc, etc. SHe’d be like the X-files smoking man of the Marvel universe.

    Anyway, this is a marginal character I always found interesting. I’d buy it.

  • erin

    I’d enjoy seeing a backstory mini about Mina Murray (of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen fame), showing her beginnings as a secret agent.

    I think a solo mini-adventure for one of the girl Runaways would be awesome too (especially Molly).