HomeOur ObsessionsBlack Lightning: A kickass ranking of the most celebrated superheroes of color

Black Lightning: A kickass ranking of the most celebrated superheroes of color

This week Marvel announced its ever-expanding universe is set to introduce a brand new film in the shape of Muslim superhero Ms. Marvel. In celebration, here’s a ranking of the ten most butt-kicking, badass superheroes of color.

Black Lightning: A kickass ranking of the most celebrated superheroes of color

This week Marvel announced its ever-expanding universe is set to introduce a brand new film in the shape of Muslim superhero Ms. Marvel. We’re absolutely delighted at the news, dropped by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige during a recent interview with the BBC. Plans are apparently “in the works” to introduce the Pakistani American superhero after Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel makes her debut.

“Ms. Marvel, which is another character in the comic books — the Muslim hero who is inspired by Captain Marvel — is definitely sort of in the works. We have plans for that once we introduce Captain Marvel to the world.” Ms. Marvel refers to Kamala Khan – a badass teenage Muslim superhero introduced to Marvel Comics back in 2013. Quite frankly, we’re stoked that Ms. Marvel will eventually be making her on-screen debut and that Marvel is continuing its efforts to diversify its superhero slate. In celebration, here’s a ranking of the ten most butt-kicking, badass superheroes of color.

Seok-hyeon (Psychokinesis)

Seung-ryong Ryu

As the most unlikely superhero on this list, Yeon Sang-ho’s latest film Psychokinesis is your typical tale of parent / child bonding. Only the daughter is an anti-corporate crusader and the dad goes about trying to save her and rekindle their relationship with the help of some unexpected superpowers. He’s clumsy, powerful, and almost always brings the laughs.

Quake (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Chloe Bennet

Orphaned at a young age, Chloe Bennet plays an unfathomably intelligent master hacktivist recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. a year after the Avengers saved New York from Loki’s invasion. She goes from awesome to a force to be reckoned with after discovering her subhuman abilities and adopting the name Quake, mastering her new powers and taking a confident stand with her place in S.H.I.E.L.D.

Vixen (Arrow)

Megalyn Echikunwoke

Mari McCabe a.k.a. Vixen enjoyed a powerful but short-lived role in an episode of Arrow. As a hard-hitting female fighter who can channel the abilities of animals at will, we hope to see Vixen getting more screen time in the years to come.

Storm (X-Men)

Halle Berry

Halle Berry (The Call) starred in the long-awaited X-Men movie as one of the coolest, most iconic boss bitches of the superhero world. The script didn’t do her much justice, but it was still great to see Berry crushing it as the weather-controlling African powerhouse.

Black Lightning (Black Lightning)

Cress Williams

As the TV series based on the DC Comics character of the same name, Black Lightning managed to distinguish itself from other similar shows with a story about a crusading school principal who gets back into action as the original African-American electrical superhero. The show served a lightning bolt of scary villains, smart dialogue, and compelling performances from a strong core cast.

Luke Cage (Luke Cage)

Mike Colter

The hero of Harlem with unbreakable skin was originally created by Marvel to cash-in on the 70s blaxploitation trend. However, the superhero was adapted and updated by Netflix for the small screen, seeing Mike Colter (Million Dollar Baby) fulfill the role in this show that has not shied away from reflecting the black experience. Cage is strong, smart, and has a penchant for The Wu Tang Clan – all the more reason to rate one of Marvel’s “wokest” black superheroes.

Valkyrie (Thor: Ragnarok)

Tessa Thompson

As one of the hottest actors on the circuit right now, Tessa Thompson (Westworld) slayed as the ferocious warrior Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok. With a queer backstory, a love for boozing, and some incredible combat skills, Valkyrie is a modern hero with a dark edge.

Black Panther (Black Panther)

Chadwick Boseman

T’Challa a.k.a. Black Panther might only be one piece of the epic puzzle that is Marvel’s almighty journey into the Wakandan kingdom, but he’s a central figure in this  trailblazing superhero hit. He’s kind, noble, and ever so good at keeping his cool – all in all, a different kind of superhero and one that we hope to see more of in the near future.

Shuri (Black Panther)

Letitia Wright

Shuri is the Princess of Wakanda, sister of T’Challa, daughter of T’Chaka & Ramonda, and the leader of the Wakandan Design Group. Letitia Wright (Black Mirror) was absolutely outstanding as the tech guru with a big brain and a sharp tongue and easily one of the best characters in Black Panther overall.

Blade (Blade)

Wesley Snipes

Quite frankly, there will never be a superhero in the Marvel canon as badass as Blade. As a sword-wielding, leather-bound, ass-kicking slayer whose goal is to rid the world of vampire evil, we’re hoping to see an update from the coolest of cool superheroes pretty damn soon and we hope to see Wesley Snipes (Demolition Man) reprise his role as the original vampire hunter. We can but dream!

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Daisy Webb is an outspoken, opinionated writer with a passion for all things horror and cult comedy. When she's not watching films, she likes listening to music, cooking too much food, and writing short stories with unhappy endings.

daisyp@filmdaily.co