As of late, Marvel has being doing satisfyingly excellent job of introducing diversity into their comic lines. As alwaysm there as room for improvement and presently that is the fault of no one but history, but I feel that more than ever the LGBT community, women, and people of color are beginning to be more often and more accurately depicted in Marvel’s lineup. What I want to focus on now, as it is what I most closely identify with, is the increase of blackness in comics. From Ms. Marvel to Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur there are so many books that are portraying strong heroes of color. Here are 5 with excellent and creative stories that I think are worthy to be read.
1. The Ultimates
First up are the Ultimates, which are basically the Black Avengers! With a cast featuring Blue Marvel, Black Panther, Spectrum, Miss America, and Ms. Marvel we are looking at a cosmic team with a focus on preventing crises before they occur. This is the first time I’ve seen a team, dominated by PoC, with only one character lacking as much melanin as the others! If you like heavy hitting powerhouses like Galactus and Thanos, then this is the book for you. The Ultimates is written by Al Ewing.
2. Black Panther
In Black Panther we take a trip back to the motherland, in Wakanda, where King T’Challa fights to unite his people once again. While he seeks to find the root cause of a wave a madness that seems to be spreading throughout the land, two Dora Milaje geared up in the highly advanced Midnight Angel Armor decide to take the fight for Wakanda into their own hands. Written by novelist Ta-nehisi Coates.
3. Power Man and Iron Fist
Power Man and Iron Fist are back together, and their first order of business is paying the old Heroes for Hire manager back a debt after she’s been released from jail. Luke Cage leads the title with of course Danny Rand, and the art isn’t shy with with the use of black folks to capture the writing’s tone and move the plot along. It’s refreshing to see PoC on nearly every page, even without Luke’s presence. Written by David Walker.
Miles Morales has entered the main Marvel universe after the events of Secret Wars and has picked up the mantle of Spider-Man. Not Ultimate Spider-Man, not Spectacular Spider-Man. He is the bonafide, adjectiveless Spider-Man. Swinging into the pages, not only is Miles himself Black/Hispanic, but his delightful story features diversity page after page with his school seeming to be the ultimate mix of race and culture. Not to mention quickly jumping into major story arc action! I mean c’mon page one starts with a destroyed city block of defeated Avengers and Miles facing down Blackheart! Another excellent work in the hands of Brian Michael Bendis.
5. Sam Wilson: Captain America
Sam Wilson is Captain America, and if he isn’t black enough for you, his partner is Misty Knight. Together they create an unstoppable dynamic duo, adding their blackness and culture to the Avenger’s roster. Sam’s story ties into the recent Pleasant Hill and Steve Rogers: Captain America story directly, and is a must read. Follow him and Misty as he serves as the country’s symbol and banner and carries the role of Captain America, as he feels it is meant to be carried. Written by Nick Spence.
Bonus: Infinity Gauntlet
Our Bonus is a miniseries, and thus not a flagship ongoing, from the Secret Wars crossover in 2015. I feel like I need to mention this 5 issue series because this was my first hint of Marvel making big diversity changes, and the family introduced here is beautiful. I have never- and I mean never, seen a Marvel story arc focus on a new black family with as much depth as they do in Secret Wars: Infinity Gauntlet. The art is so accurate that I couldn’t help but read through multiple times just to admire the accuracy of the depiction of nuanced features such as attire and hair. Written by Dustin Weaver, this follows a family living outside the wall, at the mercy of hordes of the Annihilation Wave, and come upon an Infinity Stone. And with an Infinity Stone, you know who follows close behind…
There are many other current books that have other PoC as leads, supporting characters, and just in the “extras” of comic book panels. One of my personal favorites is Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel, but since I already wrote about her, I decided to give some shine to other books. If you get a chance, please stop by your local comic book store orshop online and check these stories out!