With how easy it is to fall in love with the superheroes themselves, it’s harder to find a really well written civilian, someone who not only supports the hero(es) of the title, but complements and even betters them, as well. As I picked out my top three, I realized civilian was too limiting a term; thus, these are technically my favorite non-powered people in the superhero universes.
I’ll be honest and say that a lot of my love for Pepper stems from the Iron Man movies, but I was pleasantly surprised when I began reading Invincible Iron Man – both past and present runs – and saw she was just as strong, capable, and immune to (most of) Tony’s crap as she was in the movies.
Obviously she’s something of a hero now because of the Rescue suit, but she was a super woman even before she stepped into it. She’s exactly the sort of woman I love to read in comics. At first, she was very much defined by her relationship to Tony, but when a good writer got their hands on her, she blossomed. She’s a no-nonsense playboy wrangler, a woman who knows how to handle tough situations, knows what she wants, and is unafraid to go for it.
I only recently devoured the entire current run of Wonder Woman, and of all the amazing writing and characters, Etta stood out above all. (And I’m limiting this to the current run, because reading about her in the past is making my blood boil. Weight problems, jeez.)
Here is an incredible woman, and incredible human woman, who is, in my eyes, at the same level as Wonder Woman when it comes to being a hero and a role model for women everywhere. She’s not just Diana’s friend, but a badass in her own right. Seeing her in action under Gail Simone’s pen was a revelation. Etta is the sort of self-assured, badass, compassionate best friend every superhero should have.
Mary Jane Watson
There’s a reason Mary Jane Watson(/Parker) is one of the most popular non-powered women in comics. She’s Mary Jane.
With Spider-Man being the every man hero that most of us can relate to, it stands to reason that we fall for those Peter falls for. To love Peter is to love MJ through his eyes, and it’s hard not to. She’s a gorgeous, feisty, fun woman, and I think we’ve all had a Mary Jane in our lives. She’s the unattainable, the object of affection; she’s a symbol for everything good we want in our lives.
And yet, over the decades, she’s been proven to be just like us; human and flawed. She’s just as fun to read as Peter, and I’m just as invested in her story as I am Peter’s when I read a Spider-Man title. It’s hard not to be.