Take 10

Take 10: Ladies of the Avengers

The members of Earth's Mightiest Heroes who take girl power to the next level!

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Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas.

From the wondrous Wasp at their founding, to newest addition Stature, Earth's Mightiest Heroes have never had any shortage of girl power, with a load of lovely and lethal ladies serving as Avengers over the years.

This week in NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL #3, Mockingbird recruited Ms. Marvel, Spider-Woman and Jessica Jones as her all-femme super-squad to aid in breaking her husband, Ronin, away from Norman Osborn's devious clutches. In order to mark the occasion, the Secret Cabal has ferreted out their favorite females to serve with distinction as Avengers.

For each character you get the quick rundown as well as a special spotlight comic courtesy of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

As always, these picks reflect the personal choices of the Secret Cabal, not the official opinion of Marvel or Marvel.com, and can be considered subjective at best. Enjoy!

 

 
10. ARACHNE
First Appearance: MARVEL SUPER HEROES SECRET WARS #6 (1984)
Joined the Avengers: AVENGERS WEST COAST #74 (1991)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: At a time when the Avengers were mostly welcoming raw rookies like Darkhawk, Rage and Living Lightning into their ranks, Julia Carpenter-at the time the second Spider-Woman-was a mature and professional breath of fresh air. When the West Coast Avengers were disbanded, the East Coast team pleaded with Julia to remain among their ranks, but she ultimately chose to remain loyal to her teammates, joining them in Force Works. Julia once again stood up for what she believed during Civil War, defying registration as Arachne, though it cost her many of her friends and even her United States citizenship.
Spotlight Comic: OMEGA FLIGHT #1-Julia Carpenter heads north of the border to join Omega Flight!

 
9. SPIDER-WOMAN
First Appearance: MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #32 (1977)
Joined the Avengers: NEW AVENGERS #48 (2009)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: Though the world at large has believed her an Avenger for the past several years, the true Spider-Woman has only actually joined the ranks of Earth's Mightiest Heroes very recently. Prior to Secret Invasion, a Skrull imposter assumed the form of Jessica Drew and hung out with Marvel's most prominent champions in order to keep an eye on them. Now the real Jessica has returned to a world that associates her face with tragedy, and thus her quest to redeem her reputation from an unjust beating makes her a particularly compelling Avenger.
Spotlight Comic: GIANT-SIZE SPIDER-WOMAN #1-Four super stories starring Spider-Woman!

 
8. TIGRA
First Appearance: THE CAT #1 (1972)
Joined the Avengers: AVENGERS #211 (1981)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: When mainstays like the Vision, the Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man and the Beast all departed the Avengers en masse, it was a barely distinguished Tigra who stepped forward as their unlikely collective replacement. While Greer Nelson's first term with the main team would be brief, she quickly made the leap to the West Coast branch where she helped found the team and became a valued and consistent part of the fledgling crew.
Spotlight Comic: MS. MARVEL #19 (2007)-Her mind not her own, Tigra goes after Ms. Marvel!

 
7. MONICA RAMBEAU
First Appearance: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #16 (1982)
Joined the Avengers: AVENGERS #227 (1983)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: Monica Rambeau had less than half a dozen adventures as a costumed hero when she was invited to join the Avengers under her Captain Marvel identity. While most rookies would wilt under the dual pressure of training with Captain America while upholding the legacy of one of the universe's greatest heroes, Rambeau not only survived, she thrived, becoming the unanimous choice to lead the team in the aftermath of the Wasp's departure. Since leaving the Avengers, as Photon and Pulsar, Monica has led the unruly NextWave squad, aided the Black Panther in both New Orleans and Wakanda, and continued to earn the respect of her peers time and again.
Spotlight Comic: AVENGERS #16 (1999)-Photon joins the Avengers in battle with the Wrecking Crew!

 
6. SHE-HULK
First Appearance: SAVAGE SHE-HULK #1 (1980)
Joined the Avengers: AVENGERS #221 (1982)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: Jennifer Walters has always used her She-Hulk identity to enjoy a wild lifestyle in between serving up justice in court as a trial lawyer and saving the world with her fellow super heroes, but she's never been too busy or out of control to serve the Avengers with distinction when called upon. The Sensational one provides a unique combination brawn and brains that any team would love to have, which has made her a valued member of the Fantastic Four as well as our favorite Assemblers. The jollier green giant also makes sure to keep her teammates on their toes with smiles on their faces, even when the laughs come at her own expense.
Spotlight Comic: SHE-HULK #4 (2004)-The Jade Giantess teams with the Amazing Spider-Man!

 
5. THE BLACK WIDOW
First Appearance: TALES OF SUSPENSE #52 (1964)
Joined the Avengers: AVENGERS #111 (1973)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: A Soviet spy among the ranks of Earth's most revered team of heroes? Once upon a time it may have seemed like an odd fit, but Natasha Romanoff has always made the Black Widow a perfect fit among the mighty Avengers. Though she makes no qualms about her checkered past and oft-questionable methods, the Widow remains a potent defender of human rights and other noble causes, bringing all her skills and experience to bear when working alongside the likes of Captain America and her former foe Iron Man. Natasha even led the Avengers for a time, her keen strategic mind proving ideal for commanding even gods.
Spotlight Comic: BLACK WIDOW #1 (2004)-Natasha Romanova cuts loose with some espionage action!

 
4. MOCKINGBIRD
First Appearance: ASTONISHING TALES #6 (1971)
Joined the Avengers: WEST COAST AVENGERS #1 (1984)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: Among a group that can lift cars above their heads, toss lightning bolts around like nothing and fly through the air with the greatest of ease, a chick with battle staves and some martial arts training may not seem so impressive, but Mockingbird has been able to hold her own. Founding the West Coast Avengers alongside her similarly under-powered former husband Clint Barton-then Hawkeye, currently Ronin-Bobbi Morse became a valued Avenger through her commitment and grit. No matter the odds or enemy, Mockingbird stood by her teammates and the man she loved. Now returned after spending years as a captive of the sinister Skrulls, Bobbi is more hell-bent than ever to prove her worth among Earth's Mightiest and safeguard those she cares for.
Spotlight Comic: NEW AVENGERS: THE REUNION #1-Back from years of being believed dead, Mockingbird looks to make up for lost time!

 
3. MS. MARVEL
First Appearance: MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #13 (1967)
Joined the Avengers: AVENGERS #183 (1979)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: One of the true alpha females of the Marvel Universe, it only makes sense Carol Danvers would find a place among Earth's Mightiest Heroes, though she has had her ups and downs with the team. Initially, Ms. Marvel only gained entrance to the Avengers due to government standards and ended up leaving the team after they unwittingly allowed the mysterious Marcus make her his romantic thrall. Spending years regaining her confidence and rebuilding her power base, Carol would give Avenging another shot years later, but her second sting was plagued with more personal problems, including a bout with alcoholism. Third time proved the charm for Ms. Marvel, as she overcame the demons of her past to lead the Mighty Avengers and remains an integral force for good to this day.
Spotlight Comic: MIGHTY AVENGERS #1-Ms. Marvel handpicks her own team of Avengers!

 
2. THE SCARLET WITCH
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #4 (1964)
Joined the Avengers: AVENGERS #16 (1965)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: There is perhaps no sadder story in Avengers history than that of Wanda Maximoff, aka the Scarlet Witch, and it is certainly a tale filled with both tragedy and triumph. A reformed villain trying to prove her worth to a world that feared and hated her, Wanda found redemption and recognition beyond what she dreamed as an Avenger and even discovered love in the unlikeliest of places with the android Vision. Sadly, heartbreak would always plague the Witch, from Vision losing his capacity for emotion to her sons being revealed as demonic constructs. Despite this, Wanda fought through her setbacks, remaining a stalwart hero for years, making her ultimate fall from grace and role in the Avengers being disassembled all the more disappointing; we still hold out hope the Scarlet Witch can come back from this as well.
Spotlight Comic: VISION AND THE SCARLET WITCH #4 (1982)-The Scarlet Witch deals with trouble in the family, which with her lineage usually means Magneto!

 
1. THE WASP
First Appearance: TALES TO ASTONISH #44 (1963)
Joined the Avengers: AVENGERS #1 (1963)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: When Thor, Iron Man and the Hulk brought their hands together to first form the Avengers, Ant-Man's weren't the only tiny digits that joined them, as the wondrous Wasp was there from Earth's Mightiest Heroes' very beginning-heck, she named the team! The diminutive Janet Van Dyne continued to float shoulder-to-shoulder with titans like Captain America and Hercules during the Avengers' early years, keeping spirits light and bolstered. Later, in the wake of her own personal tragedy and the dissolution of her marriage to Hank Pym, the Wasp rose to become one of the team's most stalwart leaders, seeing them through a difficult period that included the Masters of Evil laying siege to their beloved mansion. Though Janet has since shuffled off this mortal coil, we remember her not just as one of the Avengers' finest females, but among Earth's Mightiest of any gender.
Spotlight Comic: BEYOND! #1-With an eclectic group of heroes and villains stranded on a strange planet, the Wasp takes command!

 

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Comments

17 comments
BlackSamurai
BlackSamurai

I'm glad that this list supports a true look at Avengers history to derive it, and for that I can't fault any minor order tweaks I'd go with over what they have. I agree with those that mention Sersi. Crystal was definitely one of the more stand-out Avengers ladies during her tenure, just that I can't exactly find where she'd edge out the top ten-she'd be a solid 11 though. Any more than that I would hazard that her F4 days would be padding her rep.Still being 11 does put her past Spider-Woman in my opinion. She's be bumped down to 12 or lower to make room for Sersi making it into the top 10. I'd place her right behind Captain Marvel (Photon/Pulsar/Monica Rambeau) in ranking, or arguably higher. She was extremely personable, and embodied a major passion for being an Avenger that I can see many rating her even above the likes of Bobbi and Natasha. I'm even tempted to, especially with Natasha's more recent showings being kind of mediocre, but I would say they truly represented back in the day and be happy with whatever placement they get.Now, if such a list [i] was[/i] to indeed to include Sersi, I am very sure Spider-Woman would be favored over Arachne, particularly to keep mention of her trials ahead after the Skrull queen made her the face of the Invasion, but as it stands, I am really glad that Carpenter's contribution to Avengers lore was recognized for its worth.

bds197485
bds197485

Personally, I like Black Widow to be before Mockingbird on this poll.

colvink
colvink

Re: #8 TigraInstead of the Cat #1, I'd recommend Giant-Size Creatures #1 (July 1974) as her first appearance. If a new reader were to go read the Cat #1, they'd wonder what it has to do with Tigra?

Cuevo
Cuevo

[quote@The_Greatest_Username I have to disagree with Cuevo, Ms Marvel deserves the #3 spot, but there's no way she should top Wasp or the Scarlet Witch[/quote] You misunderstood, I don't think Carol should top either of those on a list about Avenger women. It seemed as though the editors/writers at Marvel were going to push her into a larger Avengers role, but that has fizzled out. #3 is a good spot on the list imo.

The_Greatest_Username
The_Greatest_Username

I have to disagree with Cuevo, Ms Marvel deserves the #3 spot, but there's no way she should top Wasp or the Scarlet Witch

Not_Your_Friend
Not_Your_Friend

Carol did kill a boatload of Skrulls in SI, but has yet to really come through for the Avengers in their book(s). Even in Mighty, Stark was always undermining the fact that she was supposed to be leader.I think it would be awesome if she stepped up huge in Siege. Unfortunately, she'll be heavily overshadowed by the return of the Trinity.

Cuevo
Cuevo

Nope, no legendary Avengers moment yet - I was hoping something was going to happen in SI or DR...but nada. I just really like Ms Marvel myself, so I tend to rank her higher than she rates :)

Not_Your_Friend
Not_Your_Friend

[quote@Cuevo Carol they seemed to be trying to make the #1 woman in the MU, but when it comes to Avengers, Wasp was the only female founder so having her #1 makes sense here.[/quote] Wasp also got a lot of juice out of leading the Avengers through Under Siege. Carol doesn't really have that legendary Avengers moment on her resume.

Cuevo
Cuevo

Carol they seemed to be trying to make the #1 woman in the MU, but when it comes to Avengers, Wasp was the only female founder so having her #1 makes sense here.

giovedi
giovedi

[quote@Galina Clint also died during Disassembled. So both him and Bobby are widowed. How ever, saying "Tell me where Avengers are hiding and I'll spare your's widow" to a guy currently alive doesnt sounds quet right. And other way around wouldn't sound right ether. So people just aren't sure on how to call them.[/quote] I agree, but Norman said "Ex-wife", so I don't count that. Later in the issue, Bobbi refers to him as "Husband". Yet, she's the one who's told him to take it slow and "let's not get married after knowing each other only 9 days again" during Reunion. I just have a problem with the whole Bobbi situation.I'm kind of surprised Carol didn't make it to #1, considering her name is "Ms. Marvel"....

Galina
Galina

[quote@giovedi Mockingbird spent a lot of The Reunion explaining to Clint they would just take it slow and she'd planned on divorcing him. But every month, NA says they're married, no married, married... just pick one and run with it. Since Bobbi was declared dead, wouldn't Clint legally be a widow and to be "husband and wife" they'd have to get remarried?[/quote] Clint also died during Disassembled. So both him and Bobby are widowed. How ever, saying "Tell me where Avengers are hiding and I'll spare your's widow" to a guy currently alive doesnt sounds quet right. And other way around wouldn't sound right ether. So people just aren't sure on how to call them.

Not_Your_Friend
Not_Your_Friend

I'd have Crystal and Sersi on the list and She-Hulk ought to be #4.

kreemarvel
kreemarvel

[color=seagreen] When I read the topic's title I knew Carol had to be close to the top, but even then I knew who would be number 1.[/color]

giovedi
giovedi

Mockingbird spent a lot of The Reunion explaining to Clint they would just take it slow and she'd planned on divorcing him. But every month, NA says they're married, no married, married... just pick one and run with it. Since Bobbi was declared dead, wouldn't Clint legally be a widow and to be "husband and wife" they'd have to get remarried?

AKexpress
AKexpress

Interesting list.As an Avengers fan, I might tweak the placements here and there on my own list, but it's about right.Spider Woman's reveal as a Skrull is alittle bit of a problem because that means, technically, she's only been running with the New Avengers for a few issues. In that case it might be better to have someone like, er, Jocasta, on the list... (do robotic women count?) She's had an impact on Avengers history and is tied very closely to Janet, Ultron and ::ahem:: Hank.If not her, them perhaps Crystal.