<i>By George Marston, Newsarama Contributor</i> <p>May brings the debut of Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel's <i>X-Men</i>, a team comprised solely of female mutants — specifically Rogue, Storm, Psylocke, Rachel Summers, Kitty Pryde and Jubilee — that has already gained a steady stream of buzz before the first issue has been released. <p>If the title proves successful, it's at least possible that Marvel could try something similar with their other team-based franchise, The Avengers. Even if such a book never materializes (and let's make it clear that there's no indication at this point that it's in the works), there are plenty of potential candidates to choose from for a potential all-female iteration of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and here are 10 picks for a speculative series — feel free to let us know yours via the social networking links below. (<i>Albert Ching contributed to an update of this article</i>.) <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i>
Brian Michael Bendis's superhero-turned-private investigator-turned-superhero was one of the more recent addition to the Avengers on this list, though she's been an associate for years, via her husband, fellow Avenger Luke Cage. <p>Jones is an experienced hero in her own right, however, having served under a number of identities before retiring from costumed life and starting a detective agency that still ostensibly dealt with superhuman issues. <p>Perhaps her most crucial moment as an Avenger was facing down Doctor Doom alongside Cage, leading to her decision to return to active heroics. Her tenure with the team was frequently tied to her motherhood, and Jones has often had to make hard decisions in order to protect her child. <p>Jessica, along with the rest of her family, haven't been around much lately in the post-Bendis era of Avengers, making her a prime candidate for a possible new team.
Aside from giving fanboys conflicted feelings for decades, Tigra is best known for being the Avengers' resident werecat femme fatale. Greer Grant Nelson has served with the Avengers numerous times since the '70s, even helping found the West Coast Avengers and most recently acting as a faculty member at Avengers Academy. <p>Tigra's greatest moment came in a conflict against the cosmically powered Molecule Man, who was attempting to consume all of the Earth's energy. Tigra managed to defeat the Molecule Man not with violence, but by convincing him to reconsider his actions and seek therapy for his villainous ways, effectively neutralizing him as a threat permanently. <p>Following her recent involvement with the Avengers Academy, it's been a quiet time for Tigra thus far in Marvel NOW! — which might mean she's due to appear in a big way somewhere soon.
A former Hellion, New Warrior and Avenger, Angelica Jones, a.k.a. Firestar, is a lifelong hero who has struggled through far more than her conflicts with supervillains. Having faced and overcome numerous health problems caused by her microwave based powers and weathered the storm after the deaths of the team she helped found (the New Warriors), Firestar is one of the toughest characters ever to be an Avenger. <p>In her career as an Avenger, she stood with the team against some of their greatest enemies, including Kang, Ultron, Count Nefaria and Morgan le Fay. Alongside her fiancé at the time, Justice, Firestar earned her status as an Avenger by handily defeating longtime Avengers foe Whirlwind. <p>While she's been spending her time in groups like the Young Allies for the last few years, she remains a fan favorite, and as one of the strongest and most underused characters in the Avengers annals, she could be primed for a comeback.
She-Hulk is the quintessential bombshell. Seven feet of confidence, enthusiasm and raw power, She-Hulk has been a part of several Avengers lineups. Though she only had a short time on the team in her first run on the team before taking the Thing's place on the Fantastic Four, she remained a key member of the team for years after she rejoined. <p>Though one of She-Hulk's most focal stories involved the Avengers' search for her after she wandered off when exposure to cosmic energy sent her into a rage, She-Hulk is best known for her often hilarious and offbeat stories centered around her superhuman law practice. <p>It seems unlikely that she'll be an Avenger again anytime soon, since she's once again taking Ben Grimm's place on the <i>FF</i>, but it's certainly not unheard of for Marvel characters to pull double, or even triple duty these days.
Few Avengers define the modern era of the team as succinctly as Spider-Woman. Though she was included in Brian Bendis's initial relaunch of the team, it was revealed first that she was a double agent, working both for and against Hydra (the supervillain group that initially gave her her codename), and later that she was secretly the Skrull empress in disguise. <p>Though the deception of the Skrull empress made it difficult for Spider-Woman to gain the trust of her fellow Avengers after her return to Earth, she has remained with the team through attacks from Norman Osborn, Kang, and even former fellow Avenger Wonder Man. Romance has also blossomed between Spider-Woman and Hawkeye, another fellow Avenger. <p>Spider-Woman is a part of Jonathan Hickman's large lineup in the main <i>Avengers</i> book, but following the <i>X-Men</i> example — where many of that book's main characters are also busy elsewhere — she could always turn up in another title.
Cassandra Lang, better known as Stature, is not just an Avenger herself, but also the daughter of a veteran Avenger. Cassie was recruited to the Young Avengers after the death of her father Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man. Having grown up around the Avengers and Fantastic Four, and having been exposed to her father's stash of Pym Particles over the years, she discovered that she had the innate ability to shrink and grow in size. <p>Though she started as a somewhat reluctant superhero due to the tension between her parents, she quickly became one of the most passionate members of the young team. In the wake of <i>Civil War</i> and a short stint in the Avengers Initiative program, Stature became a full member of Hank Pym's Avengers team, splitting her time with the adult team, and her compatriots in the Young Avengers. <p>Stature was killed by Doctor Doom at the end of <i>Avengers: The Children's Crusade</i>, the same story that saw her father resurrected. While Cassie Lang is dead — and likely making it difficult to join a team, at least for a while — her father, Scott Lang, is currently appearing in <i>FF</i>, where part of his personal mission as part of that team is finding justice for his daughter. And, well, Marvel characters have come back from the dead a time or two.
Black Widow may have started as an Iron Man villain, but after being rescued by the Avengers from the Swordsman, who had brainwashed her, she quickly turned coat on her Soviet masters and joined the side of the angels. Though it took some time for her to join the Avengers, it was her relationship with fellow former villain Hawkeye that brought her out of retirement and into full team membership. <p>Though she doesn't technically have any powers, her true superpower is competence. Fighting alongside Earth's Mightiest Heroes with only her skills and a handful of weapons, Black Widow has often proved the lynchpin of numerous Avengers lineups, including the black-ops wing, the Secret Avengers. <p>With her increased popularity as part of the lineup in the <b>Avengers</b> film, it's a no-brainer that she's currently featured in multiple titles: <i>Avengers</i>, <i>Avengers Assemble</i> and <i>Secret Avengers</i>. That's a busy schedule, but at this point it's hard to imagine an all-female Avengers book without Black Widow in some capacity.
Scarlet Witch may have debuted in <i>X-Men</i> as part of Magneto's villainous Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, but since she joined the Avengers as part of Captain America's "Kooky Quartet," she has been inextricably tied to Earth's Mightiest Heroes. For years one of the most focal characters on the team, her relationship with the Vision practically defined an entire era of Avengers comics. <p>In the modern era, Scarlet Witch's most notable story involved her losing control and effectively betraying the team, but her recent involvement as the Avengers' secret weapon against the Phoenix Five in <i>AvX</i> helped return her to full-time Avengers status. <p>Now in control of her powers, Scarlet Witch is a part of the X-Men/Avengers mash-up team <i>Uncanny Avengers</i>, and her role in the Marvel Universe is once again a prominent one, and could increase even further.
Though most of her time on the team has been spent as Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers recently took on the mantle of the hero that initially inspired her, Captain Mar-Vell. She's had several name changes in her time with the team, but she's remained a hero (though her powers have changed over the years as well). Her return to the team during "Heroes Return" was characterized by a battle with alcoholism and failing powers, but after battling her own demons, she returned to the Avengers stronger than ever. <p>Carol's stint with the team has almost too many highlights to count, but her greatest achievement was being granted leadership of Tony Stark's Avengers team as part of the 50 State Initiative. She also completely overcame Moonstone, the counterfeit Ms. Marvel who was part of Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers, even temporarily stripping Karla Sofen of her powers. <p>Like Spider-Woman and Black Widow, Captain Marvel is a part of Hickman's current Avengers lineup, and rightly so. With an ongoing series, and a higher profile in the Marvel Universe at large, Carol Danvers is unquestionably Marvel's premier female hero, and deserves to be in the conversation for any superteam.
Though she was presumed dead for years following the end of <i>Secret Invasion</i>, there is no Avenger as quintessential as the Wasp. Though Janet van Dyne initially gained her powers in order to join in on her boyfriend Hank Pym's adventures as Ant-Man, when the pair helped found the Avengers, she quickly broke out on her own, and even came up with the name "The Avengers." The Wasp remained a mainstay of the team until her apparent death, even leading several branches of the team over the years. <p>Her passion for heroics outlasted her relationship with Hank Pym, and numerous times, when a new team was forming, Wasp was the first to join. She fought alongside the team through nearly every major adventure they had, even single-handedly defeating Magneto and the X-Men during the Secret Wars. <p>Found alive towards the end of Bendis's <i>Avengers</i> run, Wasp is now an <i>Uncanny Avengers</i> mainstay. Rogue, her teammate on that series, is on the Wood and Coipel <i>X-Men</i> team, so if an all-female <i>Avengers</i> book ever comes to pass, it's natural for her to be considered.