Recently, we have been having more discussions about diversity in film and television. It’s hard to avoid these conversations, especially because we are now connected to the internet and social media. Every day we are exposed to many different cultures and the struggles many minorities face. At its core, the conversation is about the importance of representation, and the film and television industry has finally heard this complaint. The lack of inclusion, especially in the mainstream, was understandable in the beginning; without getting into much detail, we can say it came from a place of ignorance and not realizing how this affected the bigger picture.
But now that we have acknowledged how important it is for children, teens, and even adults to see themselves represented on the big screens. The latest release of Shang-Chi was extremely important for many reasons, especially since the main lead was a male Asian character. While in the past, the stereotype for male Asian roles was to almost always play the bad guy – the antihero. In that regard, we are still waiting on some Asian female representation. So now, we will look at some of the best Asian female superheroes of all time that were featured in different comic series, and even some made it on screen.
15. Xuân Cao Mạnh – Karma (Marvel Team-Up #100)
Xuân Cao Mạnh, also known as Karma, first appeared in the Marvel Team comic series. She was born in Vietnam and grew up with her twin brother Tran, younger brother Leong, and younger sister Nga. Karma’s father was a colonel in the Vietnamese army, and when she and her twin brother realized they had mutant powers, things started to change for them.
An enemy soldier tried to threaten Tran, but Karma sensed that and manipulated his mind into thinking otherwise. She stopped him from killing her brother and then redirected the soldier’s thoughts so that he had to follow her order. Her power, just like her brothers, is to take possession of someone’s mind.
14. Seong Barclay – Mystek (The Ray Vol. 2 #12)
Seong Barclay, also known as Mystek, first appeared in The Ray comic series. She was born in Queens, New York, and she preferred to be called Barclay. We don’t have a lot of details about her past, but her father’s work was somewhat sensitive.
Because of the secretive nature of his work, it has been suggested that he might’ve worked for some sort of government agency. Something also revealed about her father, was that he was kidnapped, which further confirms the theory of him working for a federal agency. This would also become the reason that Mystek had a fear of federal agents.
13. Faiza Hussain (Captain Britain and M-13 #1)
Doctor Faiza Hussain was a character that first appeared in the Captain Britain comic series. She was a physician working in London, but she found herself in the middle of the conflict during the Skrull invasion. Her main target became the Skrull war machine, and after the Black Knight entered the fight, he managed to crash the machine. Faiza wanted to look for any survivors, but one of the parts left from the machine activated, and the blast knocked her out.
In her unconscious state, Faiza dreamed of the sword called Excalibur. This sword was known to be King Arthur’s sword. When she woke up, she felt her powers awaken for the first time. She almost turned the Black Knight into a living cross-section before figuring out how to reverse her power.
12. Aruna Shende (Batgirl Annual #1)
Aruna Shende was a character that first appeared in the Batgirl Annual comic series. She was born in Madras, India. Her difficult past started with her parents being kidnapped from their home, and she never saw them after that. She was all alone and started to travel from one city to another.
She was trying to survive, and because of this, she would steal food and other necessities. One time she overheard a conversation about a film being made. When she found out where the filming location was, she managed to join the crew. Eventually, she found her passion in stuntwork and joined the Indian film industry. Later, she encountered Batgirl, whom she saw trying to save a kidnapped boy, and she decided to help her. After they had managed to save the kidnapped boy, she pursued the superhero role further.
11. Tara Virango – Enigma (Peter Parker: Spider-Man #48)
Tara Virango, also known as Enigma, made her first appearance in the Peter Parker: Spider-Man comic series. She was born in the village of Malpura in Bangladesh, where a certain corporation started to experiment with its latest technology. The corporation commissioned by the CIA called AGK created a nano-virus capable of enhancing different mutant abilities. They had decided to test it out, and because of it, they killed four thousand people of Malpura.
Tara managed to survive this experiment but, because of it, gained superhuman abilities. Some of the powers she had gained were superhuman strength and agility, telepathy, and the ability to fly. A couple of years later, she moved to New York, where she decided to create her superhero persona called Enigma. With her telepathic abilities, she contacted Spider-Man through his dreams, and she wanted to show him the disaster that took place in Malpura.
10. Hisako Ichiki – Armor (Astonishing X-Men Vol. 3 #4)
Hisako Ichiki, also known as Armor, made her first appearance in the Astonishing X-Men comic series. She was born in Tokyo, Japan, where she lived with her parents and her brother. Some time passed, and she moved to the United States. There she attended the Xavier Institute after she found out that she had special abilities. She could create armor around her that is extremely strong and almost impenetrable.
Because of this armor, she also gained superhuman strength and durability, and later on, she learned how to produce a concussive blast of energy as a long-distance fighting technique. During one of their missions, Armor lost her best friend, Wing. This had a huge impact on her, and after seeing Danger again, whom she blamed for what happened to Wing, she decided to confront her. The two of them fought, but in the end, they realized how Wing’s death impacted them both.
9. Jubilation Lee – Jubilee (Uncanny X-Men #244)
Jubilation Lee, also known as Jubilee, made her first appearance in the Uncanny X-Men comic series. She was born in Beverly Hills, California, but her parents immigrated from Hong Kong. During her school years, she discovered her talent for gymnastics, which she then pursued a while. She discovered she had mutant powers while running away from a mall security guard. She activated explosive energy that we would later call „fireworks“ because it looked very similar to that effect.
The security guards stopped chasing her after she managed to disorient them with her powers. Unfortunately, her life completely changed after that; she found out that her parents were killed in a car accident, which meant that she was now all on her own. After that, she was sent to an orphanage, where she would later escape.
8. Yukio (Wolverine #1)
Yukio was a character that first made an appearance in the Wolverine comic series. Yukio worked alongside Gambit when she was younger, who later joined the X-Men. Unfortunately, Gambit betrayed her on one of their escapades in England. After that, she continued on her own and traveled to the Valley of Mercy and Wrath, which is the home of a ninja clan called the Hand.
Yukio later joined the Japanese crime lord, Lord Shingen, who was the leader of the Yashida clan. She worked for him as an assassin and joined his mission against Wolverine. She managed to drug Wolverine and bring him to Shingen. She even succeeded in manipulating Wolverine into killing Shingen’s rival called, Katsuyori.
7. Rina Patel – Timeslip (New Warriors #59)
Rina Patel, also known as Timeslip, made her first appearance in the New Warriors comic series. Rina discovered her powers during her time in college. One day when she was watching the news, she accidentally time-traveled to the future. After that, she had many different visions showing her the death of Speedball.
She decided to seek out this group Speedball was a part of called the New Warrior. It turns out that after Timeslip warned the New Warriors about their impending doom, she did not see Speedball; instead, it was a time traveler named Darrion Grobe. Fortunately, Rina made it in time, and they even managed to save Darrion from dying. After this mission, Rina decided to join the New Warrior group and became an active member.
6. Monica Chang – Black Widow (Ultimate Avengers #3)
Monica Chang, also known as the Black Widow, made her first appearance in the Ultimate Avengers comic series. From what we know about her past, she was an American soldier fighting in Bosnia. She got captured by the enemy forces, after which Nick Fury rescued her. Monica eventually fell in love with Nick, and they even got married.
Unfortunately, the marriage did not last long; after six months, she found out that Nick was cheating on her. He had slept with all of her female friends and relatives, including her mother. She later joined the Avengers, an active member there for some time. After that, she transferred to the New Ultimates, but after it was leaked that Nick Fury had been selling S.H.I.E.L.D. secrets, she was pinned against her own teammates.
5. Kimiyo Hoshi – Dr. Light (Crisis on Infinite Earths #4)
Kimiyo Hoshi, also known as Dr. Light, made her first appearance in the Crisis on Infinite Earths comic series. Although she is not the successor of the original, she is considered the second Doctor Light. Kimiyo was an astronomer, and during one of her projects, she was part of the supervising astronomer. She was overseeing her male colleagues, they were working in an observatory in Japan, and they encountered a mysterious phenomenon.
Her colleagues feared that approaching the antimatter cloud might be dangerous. Kimiyo decided to pursue this on her own, and she arrogantly ordered her colleagues to leave so she could do the work in peace. While she was inspecting this mysterious phenomenon, something suddenly went wrong. The energy beam struck Kimiyo and left her unconscious. With that accident, she gained her power of photonics.
4. Cassandra Cain – Batgirl (Batman #567)
Cassandra Cain, also known as Batgirl, made her first appearance in the Batman comic series. Cassandra was the daughter of David Cain and Sandra Wu-San, also known as Lady Shiva. Cassandra was supposed to become the perfect bodyguard for Ra’s al Ghul, so she was trained and groomed accordingly. There were many attempts in trying to create such a child prodigy, but that had failed many times.
Cassandra’s father, David, who was then a part of the League of Assasins, suggested that only the right genes could create the perfect assassin. He searched for his perfect match and eventually found Sandra Wu-San. She had been training in martial arts since her childhood, and it was like her native language. David saw that she had a sister that stopped her from realizing her full potential, so he decided to kill her. After killing her younger sister, he set up an ambush, and after she was cornered, he proposed to her that she bares his child.
3. Tatsu Yamashiro – Katana (The Brave and the Bold #200)
Tatsu Yamashiro, also known as Katana, made her first appearance in The Brave and Bold comic series. Tatsu was very skilled in martial arts, and she piqued the interest of two Yamashiro brothers. Both Maseo and Takeo approached Tatsu and proclaimed their love for her. In the end, she chose Maseo, which angered Takeo.
Tatsu and Maseo started a family together, and she gave birth to twins Yuki and Reiko. While they were settling into their new family life, Takeo was rising in the Yakuza ranks and was still focused on his anger toward his brother. He took the Soultaker Sword and went to his brother’s residence, where he later killed him. Tatsu managed to get the sword from him, but while they were fighting, Takeo accidentally started a fire, which ended up killing the whole family.
2. Kamala Khan – Ms. Marvel (Captain Marvel vol 7. #14)
Kamala Khan, also known as Ms. Marvel, first appeared in the Captain Marvel comic series. She always loved superheroes, and when she gained her powers, she inherited the title of Ms. Marvel. She is part of a special lineage, and the Terrigen Bomb activates her powers. After she was exposed to the Terrigen Mist, she activated the ability to stretch her body in any shape or form. A person who can use this kind of power is called a polymorph.
While she was gaining her new power, she had a vision of her three favorite superheroes, Iron Man, Captain Marvel, and Captain America. When she woke up, she further realized her goal of trying to save people. It took her some time to get her powers under control, and it was very overwhelming at first. Later, she rescued one of her classmates that bullied her, but even though she didn’t like her, she was glad she ended up saving her.
1. Cindy Moon – Silk (Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #1)
Cindy Moon, also known as Silk, made her first appearance in the Amazing Spider-Man comic series. Her story starts at the same place as Peter Parker’s. When a radioactive spider was accidentally released at an exhibition, first, it bit Peter, and then it went for Cindy’s ankle. Cindy couldn’t control her power in the beginning, and she caught her parents in a web.
At that point, she was introduced to a man named Ezekiel Sims, who became her mentor for a while. He showed her how to control her powers, but eventually, he had to lock her away because a very dangerous predator Morlun was looking for her.