Marvel announced on Friday, Feb. 6, that a new group of mighty heroes, an all-female crew called A-Force, will be taking over from the Avengers in May when Secret Wars comes out.
The A-Force will be penned by G. Willow Wilson and Marguerite Bennett, with Jorge Molina's drawings giving the story life. An all-female crew is a definite shakeup in a male-dominated universe, but Marvel has been doing great work introducing strong women into its titles in the last few years.
Of course, not all of them were met with crazy enthusiasm like what A-Force is receiving right now, but all played their parts in putting forward more female-centric stories.
The new group will be made up of She-Hulk, Nico Minoru, Medusa, Dazzler and other fan favorites. A new character will also be introduced: Singularity.
"We've purposefully assembled a team composed of different characters from disparate parts of the Marvel U, with very different power sets, identities and ideologies," said Wilson.
The team's story starts out as the Avengers' ends, where they find themselves in Arcadia. Life is peaceful in the feminist utopia until a familiar threat comes, prompting the women to band together and form A-Force.
Had Marvel made this move a couple of years ago, it would've been so shocking that the backlash had the potential to permanently seal the concept away. It was actually surprising that the female Muslim hero Ms. Marvel was a success, with the character not just being female but also new and from a minority group.
Maybe it had to do with women actually comprising a fairly large portion of comics fans at 47 percent.
The A-Force authors point to social media as also a possible catalyst for the deeper appreciation for female-led comics these days. Willow said that it's not so much that more women are reading comics now but that they now have a platform, like Twitter and Tumblr, to talk about their interests.
While effort from publishers is essential, fan initiative to make more comics more accessible to the female population is also helping. The Valkyries, for instance, a group of retailers offering women's comics, are trying to make comic book stores feel more welcoming to beginners so they don't feel overwhelmed with the range of material available to them.
The A-Force is the 15th comic book series led by females to be released by Marvel. An all-female X-Men team was published last year.