Why Marvel Women are Better than DC Women

Name a DC comics heroine.  Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, maybe even Cat Woman? Now a Marvel heroine.  The Invisible Woman, Jean Grey, Storm, Black Widow.  Granted there are many more interesting characters in both universes, but these are the best known, the characters most fully represented in movies.

So let’s explore them.  Batgirl (or her newest morph of Oracle), Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Cat Woman. The first three are noteworthy for their brains (the second because Athena has blessed her people with her knowledge and the third because she is from a superior species), the last three are noteworthy for their physical abilities.  Wonder Woman is generally considered the third most powerful hero in the universe (behind Superman and Batman of course).  So far so good.  Now, name one of their husbands.  Boyfriends?  In the DC universe, a woman can be strong and, given an otherworldy excuse, intelligent, but being either seems to make her unappealing.  This is because of DC’s older heritage; the characters have never been modernized to adapt to our more realistic views of women.

Now for Marvel.  The Invisible Woman, Jean Grey, Storm, and Black Widow.  Storm and Black Widow are outstanding fighters and though none of them are considered brilliant, the Invisible Woman is smart enough to be of use to the Fantastic Four with her science and her social skills and Black Widow is outstanding at her job of intelligence work.  As far as powers, the former two are possibly the strongest in the Marvel universe.  All four are human, with no godly gifts or extraterrestrial heritage.

And romantically?  The Invisible Woman is with the smartest person in the Marvel universe.  Jean Grey is with the field commander of the X-Men.  Storm has married according to her tribe’s customs.  Black Widow has had a host of relationships.  It seems that in the DC universe women very rarely can be considered genii, but they cannot have relationships if they are to be in any way considered men’s equals.  Marvel human women can be more powerful.  They may not have an intellectual equal to the Oracle, but they regularly associated with men, and for the most part those men who are equals.

I suppose that means that both comics have some work to do, but Marvel has far less.  It would be neat to see phase 2 of the current Marvel run become a platform for that update.




About Cian Beirdd

I live with my kitty, and encourage his tuna and catnip addictions. I have a website as well; https://cianbeirdd.wordpress.com/cian-beirdd/
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3 Responses to Why Marvel Women are Better than DC Women

  1. Loki says:

    Name Wonder Woman’s boyfriend? Steve Trevor. Also, in the New 52 I believe she’s been paired with Superman, though I might have heard wrong about that. Oh, and there was a fairly heavily hinted at romance between her and Batman throughout the DCAU’s “Justice League” show.

    As for Batgirl, the original one (Barbara Gordon) has been paired romantically with Robin/Nightwing fairly often, hasn’t she? And while I’m falling a bit behind, I believe she’s dating a cop in the current comics.

    Supergirl I’ll admit having no idea about. Catwoman’s obviously romantically linked to Batman — they infamously even explicitly have rooftop-sex in the New 52. And before the reboot they seemed even more cosy with each other, her having known his identity for years of continuity at that point.

    Your focus on films makes it understandable, but I feel you’re leaving out one fairly high profile female DC superhero – Black Canary. And she was married to Green Arrow for a long time before the reboot.

    In any case, I’m not sure if the argument that DC female heroes cannot be part of a relationship stands very well. Especially considering half of these characters (excepting Wonder Woman and Black Canary) are basically spin-off characters of an established male “superior” character (Batman->Batgirl/Catwoman, Superman->Supergirl). At least Marvel’s female characters are original concepts — though this might be related to Marvel’s general lack of the “sidekick” character trope in the first place rather than any particular trend in portraying women.

    All that said, I definitely agree that both companies could use a lot more female characters. They’re trying, though. Batwoman seems to be back to stay. I liked what DC did with Renee Montoya in the original “52” mini, making her into the new The Question, and how they turned Mary Marvel all dark in the same comics. I’m a huge fan of the second (? maybe I’ve lost count) Batgirl, Cassandra Cain. Really hope they’ll bring her back soon.

    I’ve not really had time to read much Marvel in the past few years, but I seem to recall sticking with the Iron Man title under Fraction’s run for long enough to appreciate what he was doing with Pepper Potts. And Kitty Pryde was delightful in Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men. That’s really about it as far as goes my relevant and pseudo-recent Marvel Comics exposure, though, unfortunately. I should really find time to read more comics again.

    • Cian Beirdd says:

      Hmm, I clearly am not up on comics. I generally assume that the general public does not know what is not in movies or t.v. shows ( and I loved the Wonder Woman/Batman thing in JL). Even with all the pairings you mentioned DC is behind Marvel in sexual equality, which is my basic point.

      • Loki says:

        That’s my general impression too, though I don’t feel like I really read enough of either to back it up with fact. ;D

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