We couldn’t give every one of these amazing moments the attention they all deserved, unfortunately! I’d like to commend everyone for voting in all these moments, and I’m really looking forward to how you all vote when it comes down to picking just one!
As I compile the rest of these moments in this post, I’d just like to state that I’m not intimately familiar with all of them, and/or I couldn’t find scans for all the moments. Bear with me, and enjoy!
Aunt May defeats the Chameleon
The Chameleon seems to have a thing for trying to impersonate Peter Parker, only to have his loved ones beat him thoroughly, doesn’t he? In this case, the Chameleon goes home to Aunt May, who isn’t duped by him when he agrees to some oatmeal raisin cookies, which Peter doesn’t like. When Aunt May realizes the scheme, she talks to the Chameleon like nothing is wrong as she bakes sleeping pills into the cookies and knits the word “gotcha” into a sweater she’s working on. As the Chameleon fades, she lets him know she knew all along, leading to one of the most awesome defeats ever.
Dani Moonstar insists on wearing her Cheyenne accessories with her New Mutants uniform
The introduction of Dani Moonstar in the 80’s was a very welcome one. I grew up reading New Mutants, and I grew up in an area with a large Native American population. Having a Native American character just made sense to me. Dani wasn’t entirely stereotypical either, but neither would she be whitewashed. Her heritage was important to her, and when Professor X told them they weren’t allowed to wear anything non-uniform, Dani refused. She was going to be a New Mutant, but she was going to be an individual as well. Her Cheyenne accessories stayed, or she left. Professor Xavier wisely gave in on this issue, and I am glad that he did.
Jubilee resists Bastion’s torture
Bastion captures Jubilee and tortures her for days in order to try and gather intel about the X-Men, but all she does is laugh in his face. As one of the younger X-Men and a funny man to Wolverine’s straight man, it might be hard to take Jubilee seriously sometimes. But she proves her worth twice over when, while strapped to a mind device and being forced to picture Wolverine being tortured (among other horrors), she isn’t suckered into it. Her mind is strong enough to realize what’s going on, and her laughing at Bastion is just icing on the awesome cake.
Janet Van Dyne walks out on Hank Pym
Hank hitting Janet way back when is one of the most infamous moments in Avengers history, and to this day it’s still brought up in Hank-related comics, as it should. Walking out of an abusive relationship is never easy (especially with someone you love and save the world with), but Janet showed an incredible amount of strength in being able to do so. This is the sort of moment that should be praised and talked about more often, instead of the actual abuse.
Jessica Jones gives up her secret identity so she can take care of the children of an enemy
On the flip side of her Purple Man moment, we get to see another side of Jessica. After trying the superhero thing again as Knightress, Jessica defeats all of the Owl’s thugs, only to discover one of the men had brought his children along to the meeting she’d just crashed. While defeating the goons was the right thing to do, Jessica shows herself to be incredibly compassionate; she unmasks for the police, so she can take responsibility for the children for the rest of the night. This is one of those moments that, after reading up on, made me like Jessica Jones just a little more.
Mary Janes comforts Peter after the death of Gwen
The Mary Jane Watson that we come to know (and love) in the present Marvelverse is different from the original MJ. I am not talking about the memory wipe or any of that. It is a priority shift and it started with that fateful day when Gwen Stacy died. When Peter comes home to the apartment that he shares with Harry Osborne, he finds MJ waiting. Both of them are upset and Peter lashes out at MJ telling her to go home like he knows that she secretly wants to. He calls her names and degrades her, nearly implying that it Mary Jane is too shallow and selfish to truly feel anything about the loss of Gwen (who was also her friend). The scene almost looks like it is going to play out that way, when Mary Jane gets up to leave even going so far as to open the door. You can see the shift as she stops and shuts the door, staying in the apartment with him. She stands up for herself, owning that she has just as much of a right to her feelings as Peter has to his. She’s also marking that she’s growing up, picking up the pieces of herself that have been harmed by various people over the years and helping Peter in a moment of need. The act of choosing to grieve with someone who is angry and guilt-stricken starts to propel Mary Jane on the path that takes her away from the girl who was afraid of relationships and commitments towards her future that would be as Peter Parker’s wife and friend. This scene is where the modern Mary Jane is born, fleshing herself out as a three-dimensional character. And frankly, it’s awesome.
Storm fights Cyclops for leadership of the X-Men
This is one of those moments that is absolutely perfect for this list. Storm, while de-powered, fights Cyclops and wins. Where everyone might have thought Cyclops, the natural future leader of the X-Men would win it, Storm does everything she can to defeat him, fair and square. That she’s powerless while she does so makes this moment even more powerful.
Storm takes down Callisto for control of the Morlocks
Apparently there’s a theme here, as this is another Storm moment where she absolutely kicks ass without her powers. I think it says something that we’ve voted in plenty of moments where women have overcome adversity in ways that don’t involve super powers. They’ve used their skills, their wit, their minds, and have come out triumphant.