Marvel Comics is a prolific company; with hundreds of character and a lot of comics releasing monthly it’s easy to lose track of characters and plotlines. This is a guide of who’s who in the Marvel Universe right now, picking up with all the new first issues following the recent Secret Wars event.
Angela is actually a character from Image comics created by Neil Gaiman. The legal battle that ended up with her at Marvel is a bit too long to recount here but the cliff’s notes are that Image comics garunteed the creators of any character absolute right to their own creations no matter where they were published so when Neil Gaiman created the angel Angela in an issue of Spawn and received no royalties for it he sued Todd McFarlane, using the help of Marvel (for whom he created the Marvel 1602 books as recompense) the outcome of the case got Alan Moore’s Miracleman as well as Angela in Neil Gaiman’s hands and he turned them over to Marvel. In the Marvel universe Angela is an Asgardian, the sister of Thor, who was kidnapped as a baby by the angels of Heven (the forgotten tenth realm) and raised as their own. Angela is accompanied by her lover Sera, a transgendered angel of Heven who serves as a sort of side-kick/comedy relief for the deadly serious and violent tempered heroine.
Cindy Moon was a teenage prodigy who was attending the same science demonstration as Peter Parker on the same fateful day that he was bitten by the radioactive spider that turned him into Spider-Man. Unbeknownst to Peter, the same spider bit Cindy just before it died (it was later eaten by bully Carl King who became the one-off Spider-man villain Thousand.) When her powers manifested she was locked away in a bunker by Ezekiel, a man who has powers similar to Spider-Man which he gained through a ritual making him a spider totem, to protect her from detection by the totem devourer Morlun. Prior to the events of Spider-Verse she was set free and now works for J. Jonah Jameson moonlighting as both a freelance superhero and a henchman for The Black Cat.
Jessica Drew, the original Spider-Woman has quit the Avengers and become a freelance crime fighter with the help of Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich and reformed villain Porcupine. Recently Drew went on leave to have her baby (the identity of the father has not been revealed. Julia Carpenter, the second Spider-Woman briefly known as Arachne is the new Madame Web, Mattie Franklin the third Spider-Woman is currently deceased, and alternate universe Spider-Women May “Mayday Parker” (Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s daughter from an alternate future) and Gwen Stacy (from an alternate universe where she was bitten by the spider instead of Peter) are appearing in other books.
Silver Surfer and Dawn Greenwood
The Silver Surfer began a new adventure at the beginning of Marvel Now! where he picked up a new travel companion in Dawn Greenwood. Dawn was a small-town girl with no ambition to ever go beyond her father’s bed and breakfast in Anchor Bay, Massachusetts. For some bizarre reason when an alien attempted to summon the Surfer’s loved-one to hold hostage, Dawn was the one who appeared even though she and The Surfer had never met before. The two have become traveling companions through the galaxy with one-another, Surfer teaching Dawn about broadening her horizons and Dawn helping Surfer to be less distant and inhuman. The two have developed a romantic bond.
Starbrand and Nightmask
Starbrand and Nightmask share the name with two heroes from Marvel’s much-maligned New Universe. While they are meant to be evocative of the classic Starbrand and Nightmask, they’re simply intended to be the main Marvel’s univere’s version of those heroes who obtain their powers by the same means as their New Universe counterparts through a White Event. Nightmask is Adam Blackveil, a “perfect” humanoid intended to replace life on Earth but he sided with The Avengers to help deal with the end of all existence, Starbrand is Kevin Connor a normal college student who was given the cosmic power of The Starbrand during the universe’s white event which destroyed his entire college campus and leaving him the sole survivor.
Red Wolf has been the name of numerous Native American characters throughout Marvel’s storied history. The current incarnation is a holdover from Secret Wars. Red Wolf is a Cheyenne living in the Valley of Doom on Battleworld. His world is a version of the Marvel universe where all the characters that readers are familiar with were active in the 1800s primarily in the town of Timely. Red Wolf is the Sheriff of timely following the death of Sheriff Rogers (this universe’s Captain America) he has somehow been brought into the present where he is assisting a small-town sheriff’s department in dealing with a local crime syndicate.
Patsy Walker: Hellcat
Patsy Walker was the protagonist of a series of romance comics in an attempt by Marvel to have their own answer to Archie Comics’ Archie Andrews. She was turned into a superhero as a joke but the character caught on, becoming a member of The Defenders, marrying Son of Satan Daimon Hellstrom, and going on to a bunch of convoluted adventures that won’t be recounted here. Currently Patsy is working as a freelance supehero again dealing with her former best friend who is republishing her mother’s comic books based on her life (the retconned explanation for the old Patsy Walker comics) without cutting her in on the profits.
Through some so-far-unexplained means Matt Murdock was able to make the entire world, sans his longtime pal Foggy Nelson, forget that he is Daredevil. He’s back in Hell’s Kitchen, now as a District Attorney. He’s still fighting crime with the help of a new apprentice Blindspot: an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Samuel Chung who uses a stealth suit to render himself effectively invisible.
Following the events of Spider-Verse a team of heroes effected by the Spider Totem banded together to deal with multiversal threats to “the Great Web”; a . Members include William Braddock a member of the Captain Britain Corps who is also his universe’s Spider-Man, Anya Corazon of the 616 universe who was formerly known as Arana but now goes by Spider-Girl, steam-punk spider hero Lady Spider, Indian Spider-Man Pavitr Prabhakar, Peter Porker the Amazing Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir, Gwen Stacy from an alternate universe where she was bitten by the radio-active spider rather than Peter who goes by Spider-Woman but is colloquially known as Spider-Gwen, the totemic hunter Karn, and May Parker the daughter of Peter and Mary Jane from the MC2 universe who was formerly known as Spider-Girl but now goes by Spider-Woman.
To be continued tomorrow…