Who Are Marvel’s Modern Heroes?
During the many decades of Marvel Comics, heroes constantly rise and fall, change names and costumes, or even pass on their own mantle to the next generation of crimefighters. The recent years have introduced a lot of new heroes and legacy characters, putting a modern twist of classic heroes and powers.
So, who takes over when Thor becomes unworthy, when Wolverine dies, or when Carol Danvers upgrades her name to Captain Marvel? Enter the modern Marvel heroes- get to know the faces and feats of the new Avengers, Champions, X-Men, and more!
Spider-Man- Miles Morales
Miles Morales is the Spider-Man of the Ultimate Universe, Earth 1610, introduced in 2011 during the Ultimate Fallout event. In the wake of Peter Parker’s death, Miles took on the role of Spider-Man with his abilities, which came from a genetically engineered spider created by Norman Osborn.
Like Peter Parker, Miles has agility, strength, and speed, as well as web-shooter technology and the ability to cling to walls. Unlike Peter, however, the Ultimate Spider-Man has the ability to camouflage and strike with Venom stings and energy produced from his fingertips. As a teenage hero, he has had to balance the tribulations of high school with heroism, tangling with the Ultimate versions of many of Spidey’s most notable foes, like Green Goblin, Venom, and Prowler.
Miles has swung onto the scene in recent years as a member of the Web Warriors, the All-New All-Different Avengers, and the Champions. He has also made his way to the animated Marvel Universe, and this winter, will star in his own animated feature called Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Thor- Jane Foster
When Thor Odinson found himself unworthy of his mystic mallet Mjolnir, the nine realms were in peril until a new Thor, Goddess of Thunder, arrived. For a time, Marvel kept this hero’s identity a secret, but her appearance in the comics had everyone guessing who could be the new worthy warrior.
In 2015, it was revealed that the new Thor was none other than Jane Foster, Thor Odinson’s longtime love interest and ally. As a mortal, Jane had been diagnosed with breast cancer, but decided the call of heroism outweighed her own sense of self-preservation. As Thor, Jane came face to face with the most deadly foes in the nine realms- including the cunning Loki Laufeyson, the deadly mystic Malekith, and the Phoenix Force itself.
Her heroic storyline concluded in The Death of the Mighty Thor in April 2018, as Jane’s section of the saga completed part two of Jason Aaron’s three-arc Thor epic. And she was worthy!
Ms. Marvel- Kamala Khan
What would you do if you discovered you had super powers, just like the heroes you idolize on a daily basis? For Kamala Khan, it was only natural that she would follow in the footsteps of her favorite hero Captain Marvel, adopting the name Ms. Marvel for her new identity.
As a teenager, Kamala has to balance the pressures of high school science class with her vow to protect Jersey City from crooks and extraterrestrial threats. Ms. Marvel received her powers from the Terrigen mists, which activated her Inhuman powers of shapeshifting and accelerated healing. She struggles to keep her identity a secret, slowly revealing it to her friends and some of her family while she tries to keep them safe all the while.
The Wasp- Nadia Pym
In 2016, Marvel Comics announced that scientist Hank Pym, also known as Ant-Man, had a long-lost daughter from his first wife, Maria Trovaya. The girl, named Nadia, was raised in the Red Room in Russia, and when she showed great scientific aptitude, her true heritage was revealed.
As a girl, Nadia Pym was able to get her hands on Pym Particle samples, studying them and learning to use their size-changing properties. She escaped the Red Room and crafted a new Wasp suit and decided to study under her stepmother Janet Van Dyne in order to become a hero. As the Wasp, she has the ability to shrink or enlarge herself and to fly using her suit’s wings. She has also been able to reach subatomic sizes, and is skilled in combat, thanks to her history in the Red Room.
Nova- Sam Alexander
Samuel Alexander is the son of Jesse Alexander, a Nova Centurion who disappeared mysteriously. When searching for his father’s Nova helmet, Sam encountered Gamora and Rocket Raccoon from the Guardians of the Galaxy, who trained the young boy to properly use the helmet’s elite capabilities.
From that day, Sam Alexander became a new Nova Centurion, utilizing the powers of the Nova Force to become a young, although sometimes immature, hero. Sam is able to fly faster than lightspeed, traversing multiple galaxies while wearing the helmet. He can concentrate the Nova Force into fireable energy bursts, and possesses a strength far greater than any 15 year old should typically have. Nova also has access to the powers of the Xandarian Worldmind.
As a young hero, Sam tries his best to make the right choices, but he has a lot to learn from older heroes and his teammates, the Champions, as they work to protect the Marvel Universe from danger.
Wolverine- Laura Kinney
Laura Kinney, also known as X-23, has been a hero for quite a while in her own right. After the Death of Wolverine, she stepped into the spotlight to take on the mantle from the man she was cloned from.
As a part of the Weapon X program, X-23 was created as a female clone of Wolverine and given Adamantium enhancements and a regenerative healing factor. She is known for her two arm-claws and one foot claw, which are in a slightly different configuration than Logan’s original bone claws. During her time as Wolverine, Laura meets some of her clone sisters, including Gabby, who becomes a hero named Honey Badger.
Whether she’s Wolverine or X-23, Laura Kinney is a formidable mutant force in the Marvel Universe. She will be returning to her title of X-23 soon, as Marvel launches the Hunt for Wolverine series to rediscover Logan’s whereabouts.
The Defenders- Luke Cage, Daredevil, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones
In 2017, Marvel assembled a new team under the mantle of the Defenders, a group which brought together notable faces of Hell’s Kitchen to protect the streets from violent criminals and kingpins fighting for dominance. While most of this Defenders roster is not considered “new,” this team-up has stepped into the spotlight in more recent years for a new configuration of heroes under this classic team name.
The team features husband and wife Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, who get drawn into the action when crime lord Diamondback puts Jones in the hospital. Iron Fist joins in the fight alongside his old Heroes for Hire partner, and the team eventually crosses paths with Daredevil, whose secret identity remains a secret from nearly everyone. Daredevil also maintains an extra air of mystery by wearing his black Shadowlands costume, and refusing to admit his real name to his un-costumed allies.
As a team, the Defenders eventually take down Diamondback and The Hood, who rises up to try to become the crime king of Hell’s Kitchen. The Defenders even enlist the help of heroes and antiheroes like Elektra, Black Cat, and Deadpool to get the job done.
Spider-Gwen- Gwen Stacy
Like Miles Morales, Gwen Stacy is the spider-hero of an alternate Earth in which Peter Parker dies and does not become Spider-Man. After being bitten by a radioactive spider, Gwen becomes Spider-Woman, though to most fans, she’s simply Spider-Gwen.
Spider-Gwen is known for her striking white costume with pink web accents, as she swings around a New York City controlled by Daredevil, who works for Kingpin. She has webslinging abilities, as well as an unreliable spider-sense, wall-crawling powers, and enhanced physique. Her web-shooters were a gift from designer and mogul Janet Van Dyne. In addition to being a hero and a student, Gwen works as a bodega clerk and a part-time musician with her group The Mary Janes.
Spider-Gwen‘s popularity has exploded since her introduction, and she’s faced countless familiar foes with an alternate-universe twist, including the Vulture and the sinister symbiote Gwenom.
Other heroes have passed their mantles in recent years, including Iron Man and Captain America, creating a dynamic and ever-evolving universe of heroes for Marvel. There are a handful of Hulks, a pair of Hawkeyes, and even multiple versions of mutants like Jean Grey and Cyclops crossing dimensions in the most recent years of Marvel Comics.
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Who is your favorite modern Marvel hero? Let us know in the comments!