In a medium as rich in history as comic books, it’s easy to feel like people, places, and things have been played out, repeated, and just plain recycled. Comic book fans long for something new and exciting, but creators know that working off of the nostalgia of their readers will get more copies off the shelves and into our hearts.
These fresh faces build on that nostalgia while bringing the powers and personalities of the characters into the present day, making them relatable, intriguing, and straight up exhilarating.
Marvel’s RiRi Williams
In early July, TIME magazine announced some groundbreaking Marvel news regarding one of the series’ most popular characters, Iron Man. Once Civil War II comes to a close, RiRi Williams, a 15-year old black woman, will don her self-made Iron Man suit and take over for Tony Stark, who is set to retire from his superhero days.
We don’t know much yet about the girl-genius, except that she’s just that, genius, and is strong-willed enough to take on dangerous enemies as Tony once did.
DC’s Kenan Kong
The New Super-Man (see the hyphen) is not a simple reincarnation of Kal-El, but a story highlighting what it would be like if someone completely different got ahold of his powers. Enter Kenan Kong, a narcissistic, teenage bully of sorts who learns what it means to be a superhero, and to be a variation of the iconic Superman. Though derived from Clark Kent’s powers, writer Gene Luen Yang tells us in the video above that Kenan’s abilities aren’t exactly the same. “Clark Kent, they just come naturally. He’s a Kryptonian, and that’s that,” he says. “With Kenan, because they’re inherited, he has to figure out how to use them.”
On that note, Yang also adds that there are indeed plans in the works for a Chinese Justice League, with even more revitalized characters in store.
DC’s Jessica Cruz
A hero born from fear and anger, as so many are, Jessica Cruz was initially approached by an evil power ring. The ring was in search for someone to take over as a villain, but in Jessica, it found a true hero despite her dark and sinister past. At first, the power ring did actually convert Jessica to the dark side, but with the help of fan-favorites, Batman and Hal Jordan, she began to learn to control her powers, help save the day, and become a member of the Green Lantern Corps.
Marvel’s Kamala Khan
Marvel’s latest interpretation of Ms. Marvel has taken the fandom by storm, and it’s just marvel-ous. Kamala Khan is a young Pakistani American whose powers developed after being exposed to Terrigen Mist in the Inhumanity storyline. Kamala is extremely relatable to comic books fans across the globe. She actually takes on the identity of Ms. Marvel because she’s a Carol Danvers fangirl, and aren’t we all.
Marvel’s Gwendolyne Stacy
The death of Peter Parker’s beloved Gwen Stacy over 40 years ago was a hard hitter, an emotional roller coaster for readers and heroes alike, but these days Gwen is doing pretty well for herself in an alternate reality where she has the spidey powers. In Spider-Gwen, she’s referred to as Spider-Woman, but Gwen is similar to Peter in more ways than just her superhero name. She’s funny, she’s sharp, and her spider-senses derived straight from the same radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker in the universe we already know and love.
What are your favorite revived and renewed characters in comic books? *cough, Kamala, I love you, cough* Let’s talk in the comments below, or find me on Twitter @bekahbbable!
Featured Image: Marvel Comics
Image Credits: Marvel Comics, DC Comics