Black Lightning: The most celebrated superheroes of color
Last year Marvel announced its ever-expanding universe is set to introduce a new film in the shape of Muslim superhero Ms. Marvel. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige dropped the news during an interview with the BBC. Plans are “in the works” to introduce the Pakistani-American superhero:
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.
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. In celebration, here’s a ranking of the ten most butt-kicking, badass superheroes of color.
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.)
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.
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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!