Next month, Spider-Woman will get a little love again with the Oct. 13 release of the DVD Spider-Woman vs. The Fly. No, it doesn’t quite stack up to the whopping Spider-Man franchise—but then what heroine’s spoils ever have? Are these hard-working ladies unfairly undervalued despite their occupational hazards? We've got a report on how a handful of superpowered grrrls stack up to their male counterparts. (Fine print: Since there are frequently a number of individuals who, over time, may have inhabited the same costume and/or bore the same moniker, we’ve picked our favorites.)
SPIDER-MAN (PETER PARKER) VS. SPIDER-WOMAN (JESSICA DREW) Spider-Man dossier: A nerdy orphan acquires arachnid powers through a radiation mishap. This manifests itself in heightened, agile climbing skillz, a propensity for the slinging of synthetic webs, intuitive “Spidey sense,” and muscle mass. Spider-Woman dossier: Injected with spider serum to cure a bout with uranium poisoning, she developed similar wall-clinging abilities. The Woman can also wield bioelectric energy, is impervious to poison and radiation, and depending on the tale, can fly. For every dollar he makes, she deserves: $1.50. Are Spider-Friends bioelectric? This one is.
SUPERMAN (KAL-EL/CLARK KENT) VS. SUPERGIRL (KARA ZOR-EL/LINDA DANVERS) Superman dossier: The alien adoptee boasts mega-strength, keen eyesight with laser vision, speed, regeneration—not to mention, of course, flight. Supergirl dossier: A fellow Kryptonian, she’s said to be Superman’s cousin. As such, this fly girl possesses most of his faculties, as well as telekinesis and teleportation. For every dollar he makes, she deserves: $ .95. Though she’s not as deft in deploying her Krypton-given weapons, she’s still a Woman of Steel. With teleportation powers!
CAPTAIN MARVEL (MAR-VELL) VS. MS. MARVEL (CAROL DANVERS) Captain Marvel dossier: Another Kree expat, he uses solar energy to fuel his superstrength, which also includes energy blasts, the ability to fly, and a precognitive intuition called “cosmic awareness.” Ms. Marvel dossier: Captain Marvel’s girlfriend acquired her might after surviving a Psyche-Magneton explosion. As a result, the buffer Danvers can fly and expend energy from her hands. For every dollar he makes, she deserves: $.50. We concede. In terms of effectiveness, she’s only half the superhero he is.
HULK (BRUCE BANNER) VS. SHE-HULK (JENNIFER WALTERS) Hulk dossier: After a gamma-ray accident, this physicist develops a short fuse and with it, an absurd amount of brawn. In addition he’s demonstrated great resilience to physical assaults, drugs, and diseases. She-Hulk dossier: Hulk’s lawyer-cousin gets a blood transfusion from Banner, transforming her into a quick-healing, tough-to-smack-down glamazon. And unlike him, she can control her temper. For every dollar he makes, she deserves: $1.25. She’s not as physically thunderous as the Hulk, but her intelligence and strategic thinking while under duress gives her an edge.
MARVEL BOY (NOH-VARR) VS. MARVEL GIRL (RACHEL SUMMERS) Marvel Boy dossier: Born abroad (galactically speaking), the Kree also been genetically engineered with roach DNA. Totally gross, sure—but it’s rendered him dextrous, strong, and fast. Also, his saliva can make you hallucinate. Marvel Girl dossier: The alternate-reality daughter of X-Men Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Jean Grey (Phoenix), she harbors endless powers of telepathy and telekinesis, which makes her quite handy at messing with minds as well as the space-time continuum. For every dollar he makes, she deserves: $2.00. Her abilities are potent and have the potential to get even more robust.
HAWKMAN (CARTER HALL/KATAR HOL) VS. HAWKGIRL (SHIERA SANDERS/SHAYERA HOL) Hawkman dossier: A reincarnated Egyptian prince, he dons Nth metal, which helps him fly. He also possesses keen vision and some self-healing powers. Hawkgirl dossier: The prince’s reincarnated woman, she, too, dons a belt with gravity-defying Nth metal. She also possesses keen vision and some self-healing powers. For every dollar he makes, she deserves: $1.00. They are equals. Images: Spider-Woman, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Marvel Girl courtesy Marvel.com; Supergirl courtesy DCcomics.com; Hawkgirl courtesy Ian S. Wilson.