This year has been a really eventful one for superheroes. We’ve had some rad new shows, real shakeups in the comic book universe and a lot of fresh ideas on the table. Here’s a list of some of my favorite debuts from DC and Marvel we got to see in 2015!
Sam Wilson as Captain America
One new superhero debut has been Sam Wilson as Captain America. He’s taken well to the role and is currently the leader of the Avengers. Sam vowed to be a very socially active and politically involved Captain America and he’s succeeded so far. He even managed to tick off Fox News when he protected illegal immigrants from a racist cult. The fact that Sam is causing a splash with his politics is actually very true to Captain America’s roots. The first Captain America comics had our hero fighting Hitler before America even decided to enter the war. This was so controversial that Joe Simon and Jack Kirby received death threats. So if Sam’s upsetting people by being too far left, he’s doing a bang up job upholding the legacy of Cap.
Jane Foster as Thor
Another new face in an old role was Jane Foster in the role of Thor. When the female Thor debuted, internet message boards rang with complaints about the “political correctness” of a woman picking up the hammer- never mind that Thor has been a weird horse alien and a frog before. Her identity was shrouded in mystery for the first 8 issues, but she was eventually revealed to be an old member of the Thor Mythos, Jane Foster.
The All New, All Different Avengers
All these new Marvel heroes and more were collected in an all-new Avengers after the Secret Wars event. The New Avengers team consists of Jane Foster Thor, Sam Wilson Cap, Ms. Marvel, Miles Morales as Spider-man, Iron Man, Nova and The Vision. It’s not surprising that Ms. Marvel made her way to the Avengers, considering how incredibly popular her series has been. The first issue of the comic got a seventh printing.
Miles Morales joining the team coincides with his official debut in the main Marvel universe. (I really wish the movie universe would take a hint from the comics and give us a movie about Miles instead of the 20 millionth one about Peter). This Avengers shake-up is exciting in a good way- there are a lot of fresh faces, new relationships to develop and new stories to be told.
The Reintroduction of Cassandra Cain and Renee Montoya
Since DC Comics rebooted their continuity, we’ve seen many reintroduction and reinventions of various heroes. But two heroes languished in limbo. Cassandra Cain, the second Batgirl who has a long running and beloved series, was missing from the new DC Universe for five years while every other member of the Batfamily got their debut.
Renee Montoya, tough Gotham city cop who took over for Vic Sage and became the Question, was similarly missing. Her ex-girlfriend Kate Kane, otherwise known as Batwoman, mentioned her offhand and a framed picture of her was seen in the GCPD office, leading many fans to worry she was supposed to be dead in the new universe. Fortunately, this was not the case. Renee was reintroduced in Detective Comics #41. She’s simply a member of the police force and it’s unknown if we’ll see her take up the mantle of Question again, but at least she’s alive and well.
Cassandra Cain also finally made a comeback in Batman and Robin Eternal. She’s much the same as she was when she first made her debut as a character- a total badass who communicates through body language. There have been some rough patches in how the other characters treated her speech disability at the beginning of the title, but now she’s finally making friends with the other heroes and will hopefully become part of the Batfamily again soon.
Marvel's Netflix Series Make a Daring Debut
Marvel’s new Netflix series both show you can do dark and gritty in a good way. The Daredevil series dealt with issues like poverty, religion and moral compromise with aplomb. But my personal favorite was Jessica Jones. This series explored issues of abuse and victim-blaming in a haunting, visceral way while still remaining tasteful (I really appreciate the decision to explore Jessica getting raped without resorting to showing it). It was the first series that really made me deeply feel how horrifying it would be to live in a world where people could do things like control minds. Jessica’s struggle with the abuse she’d endured really hit right in the heart.
Agent Carter Kicks into Action
With the debut of the Agent Carter TV series, we got our first Marvel Cinematic Universe show focusing on a female main character and it was about time. Peggy Carter proved to be a smashing lead and the 1950’s were a very interesting setting for superhero-spy type intrigue. We got to see Peggy navigate the sexism of the era and kick ass while wearing a cute hat and pencil skirt. The series also did a good job exploring Peggy and Howard Stark’s grief over the loss of Captain America. It’s no wonder it got a second season.
Supergirl Hits the Small Screen
DC matched Marvel and came out with its first new female superhero show, Supergirl, and it’s been a lot of fun. I was a little wary when the trailer had Cat Grant giving a sanctimonius lecture about how a grown woman should be okay with being called “girl” (let’s change Superman back to Superboy to match!) but the show has grown well beyond that sort of thing. Kara is a struggling, awkward, relatable hero and watching her find her footing in the biz has been a treat.
The show’s delivered some exciting plot twists and cool new heroes already and I really like how it’s been exploring Kara’s anger and grief over the loss of her planet. The last episode in particular really hit it out of the mark- Melissa’s acting ripped my heart out. I’m definitely psyched for more Girl of Steel!