After 10 years and nearly 20 movies, the female-led MCU film Captain Marvel hits theaters today, on International Women’s Day. It is easy to rank which of Carol Danvers’ predecessors are the most physically powerful (with Captain Marvel being one of the most powerful beings in the MCU to date, according to Kevin Feige), but today, we take a closer look at some of the ladies within the Marvel universe who display their power in a different way. Below are some of the fiercest ladies who don’t have any super-abilities, because you don’t need to be part alien, mutated, or exposed to radioactivity to be a force to be reckoned with!
It may as well take superpowers to deal with Tony Stark for as long as Pepper Potts has. Starting out as Tony’s assistant, then becoming the CEO of Stark Industries, as well as his girlfriend and fiancée, Potts certainly has had her work cut out for her. The Iron Man suit has come in handy for Potts in certain instances, but her real power lies in business management, fantastic anxiety control, and of course, forgiveness, because anyone who dates Iron Man must learn to forgive a lot.
The first female Avenger (in the movies) is so skilled and strong herself that she doesn’t need superpowers. In fact, in Natasha Romanoff’s many fights as Black Widow, she doesn’t often have to rely on her suit or weapon enhancements like some of her other male counterparts (and many villains that she faces). Her life as a covert operative has trained her to be deadly, but she is also fiercely loyal to her friends. The best part about Black Widow is that we’ll soon be seeing more of Romanoff in all her glory when her solo film comes to theaters.
Before getting involved with Thor and his Asgardian concerns, Jane Foster’s priorities were the heavens. In the films, Foster is a brilliant astrophysicist who discovered the secrets of the cosmic aspects of the MCU long before her male counterparts did. In the comicbooks, she has had several different storylines, and in many of those she is a nurse and doctor. Although plots in both the films and comicbooks see her eventually gain some kind of superpower (she’s imbued with the power of the Reality Stone in the movies and takes up the hammer of Thor in the comics), she is a scientist at her core, and that simply takes devotion and intelligence, not an alien weapon of any kind.
Even though the bionic arm that Misty Knight wields does give her some heightened strength, it would mean nothing if she wasn’t already well-trained in how to utilize it! Before having a bionic arm, Knight was a top detective and nearly unstoppable fighter. She may be a part-time love interest of Luke Cage and Iron Fist (in the comicbooks only), but she’s a full-time leader and force to be reckoned with— especially when she teams up with another powerful woman, Colleen Wing, to form the Daughters of the Dragon. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of justice when Knight is around, with or without her bionic arm.
Shuri may be young, but she has already been hailed as possibly being smarter than both Bruce Banner and Tony Stark. If she can out-science the MCU’s Science Bros, that is quite an achievement! Thanks to Shuri’s inventions and quick thinking, the Princess of Wakanda also doubles as the brains behind the entire operation. She eventually matches her mental capabilities with her combat skills, thanks to the Vibranium-powered weapons she’s created for herself in both film and comicbook iterations. The comicbooks have Shuri take up the mantle of Black Panther, and although seeing that onscreen would be awesome, we wonder if she even needs a super suit to exert her powers!
We have seen many on-screen and off-screen versions of Aunt May. Although the actresses that have portrayed her are often different, some things remain consistent, including her devotion to her family and her strength as the matriarch of the Parker household, especially after the deaths of Peter’s parents and her husband, Ben. It’s always a rollercoaster ride raising a teenage boy without powers, let alone one with Spidey senses. Although Peter struggles from time to time in seeing the good in difficult situations, his love for Aunt May and her love for him always keeps Spider-Man on the right track.
There would be no S.H.I.E.L.D. without Agent Peggy Carter. For several decades within the Marvel Comics universe, Carter has been a prime example of a woman who uses her training and intelligence to fight for justice all around the world. She has also been a love interest of Captain America, so she must be pretty righteous to get along with him!
Karen Page began as a secretary for Nelson and Murdock, but eventually went on to work as a successful reporter. She continues to assist the on-the-books and off-the-books crime fighting of Foggy, Daredevil, and even the Punisher. Regardless of her personal challenges, Page always manages to carve out a successful story for herself, with or without the help of her vigilante friends.