If you're a newer reader to comics, it can be difficult to figure out where to begin with Marvel. There are so many interesting characters and stories, and we're in a renaissance of lady-led titles right now ... so where should you start?
Most of Marvel's female-led titles are good places to dive into the universe, for a simple reason: Marvel brings in fresh creators, and the stories are aimed at people who haven't been reading these comics all their lives. I love reading comics about women, and the company has gotten much better about making sure that there are ladies on the creative teams of these books (no all-male writers and artists on lady books, please).
So, if you're a casual comics reader and would like to dive into some Marvel, check out these titles and see what you think of Marvel's leading ladies.
Ms. Marvel - G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona and Takeshi Miyazawa
If you're only reading one Marvel title, chances are that it's Ms. Marvel. Teen Kamala Khan has captured many hearts in her enthusiasm and earnest geeking out at being a superhero. Kamala's more important than ever right now: As violence and racism against South Asian communities is on the rise in the United States, and the Muslim ban is a thing we're worrying about, Kamala reminds us that we're all much more alike than we are different.
Hulk - Mariko Tamaki, Nico Leon and Jeff Dekal
If you don't know Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk, stop what you're doing and go read Charles Soule and Javier Pullido's run immediately. That series features Jen, a lawyer, quitting her big law job and starting her own small law firm. It's a legal drama cloaked in a superhero's cape, and it ended too soon. Now, we've got a female writer on Jen's book, and She-Hulk's status quo has changed — Jen's got quite the challenge ahead of her.
The Mighty Captain Marvel - Margaret Stohl, Emilio Laiso, Ramon Rosanas and Elizabeth Torque
If you don't know what Marvel's recent event Civil War II did to the much-beloved Captain Marvel, good. Keep yourself in the dark and pick up The Mighty Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel is supposedly going to be the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first female-led movie (with Brie Larson starring), but she'll definitely make her debut in Avengers: Infinity War. That gives you plenty of time to catch up on the story of this incredible fighter.
The Unstoppable Wasp - Jeremy Whitley, Elsa Charretier and Megan Wilson
There's a newfound (and incredibly belated, in my opinion) appreciation for women in science, and that extends to comics in The Unstoppable Wasp. The daughter of Hank Pym (played by Michael Douglas in Ant-Man), Nadia, is a girl genius working with Mockingbird (also a scientist). The series focuses on encouraging girls to show an interest in STEM without being condescending or dry. Add to that cameos from some of your favorite superheroes (Ms Marvel!) and this is a must-read.
Hawkeye - Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, Jordie Bellaire and Julian Totino Tedesco
This is no Jeremy Renner (who I don't love as Hawkeye, but that's a story for a different day). Kate Bishop is also Hawkeye, and she is much better than the other version (again, my opinion). This series sees Kate in Los Angeles working as a private investigator (a storyline from the excellent Matt Fraction, David Aja and Annie Wu Hawkeye, which is well worth the read) taking cases and making a name for herself as THE Hawkeye.
World of Wakanda - Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Yona Harvey, Alitha Martinez and Afua Richardson
At its core, this is a love story between two Ayo and Aneka. But these two women are also members of the Dora Milaje, dedicated to protecting the crown of Wakanda at all costs. It's a touching, thoughtful story, and the art is gorgeous. Black Panther can feel a little confusing if you aren’t familiar with the Marvel Universe, but if you just go with it, it's worth it.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl - Ryan North, Erica Henderson and Rico Renzi
If you like positivity and a sense of humor in your comics, then you really need to be reading The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. North's writing is absolutely hilarious, and Henderson's art portrays a superhero that isn't your typical stick-thin figure. Doreen's enthusiasm is infectious; if dark and dour superheroes bore you, then this is the comic you have to pick up.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur - Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare and Natacha Bustos
The smartest person in the Marvel Universe is a 10-year-old black girl named Lunella Lafayette, who has a giant T-Rex as a pet. Could there be a better premise than that? This is an adorable all-ages comic that you can pair with Ms. Marvel and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Lunella is a great role model, and the representation is incredibly important — and what's more, it's just fun. I challenge you to read this and not have a smile on your face.
Gamora - Nicole Perlman, Marco Checchetto and Esad Ribic
Guardians of the Galaxy was perhaps the biggest surprise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and finally, two years later, we have a Gamora comic. This is an origin story, examining how Gamora became the cold, hard, awesome fighter we know and love. Nicole Perlman co-wrote the script of the Guardians movie, which makes it extra exciting to have her penning the comic (just please, no "whore" jokes. It's not funny.).
America - Gabby Rivera, Joe Quinones, Joe Rivera, Paolo Rivera and Jose Villarrubia
It seems a little premature to wholeheartedly recommend this series, considering there’s only one issue out ... but trust me, you need to read it. This book celebrates America's Latina and queer identities. If you like stories about women, about queer people, about brown people, if you want good stories that are authentic and inclusive and celebrate how we are alike and how we are different, then you need to be reading this book.