This yeas has seen a number of great heroes introduced in the pages of Marvel Comics. Here are the 15 best new Marvel heroes of 2023 so far.
Since the days of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Marvel Comics has consistently added great new heroes to its roster year after year, and 2023 has been no different. This year has seen the introduction of everything from mutant survivors of dystopian futures, to newcomers picking up the mantle of classic legacy heroes, to favorite MCU characters making their debut on the comics page, to name a few. While fans will always love old favorites like Spider-Man and Captain America, the creativity of Marvel’s writers and artists ensure that there will always be new contenders for the title of the publisher’s best hero.
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The year may not be over yet, but there have still been enough new additions to the pantheon of Marvel heroes to count down some of the best to make their debuts. Some of these heroes have only made a few appearances, but have left enough of an impression to have readers hoping they will appear again in the future.
15 Rasputin IV
The first version of Rasputin IV appeared in an alternate future glimpsed in Powers of X #1 by Jonathan Hickman and R.B. Silva, only to be killed two issues later. But the character was immediately a hit with readers, and a new version of the mutant chimera appeared this year in Immoral X-Men #2 by Kieron Gillen and Lucas Werneck. Rasputin IV is a chimera created in the far future by Mr. Sinister using the genes of Colossus, Laura Kinney, Quentin Quire, Unus the Untouchable and Kate Pryde. The result is a fierce warrior with all five mutants’ powers who eventually betrays her creator before being sent back in time to Earth-616’s modern-day Krakoa. Following the attack on Krakoa during the 2023 Hellfire Gala, Rasputin IV was one of several mutants who went underground and formed a resistance against Orchis.
The original Nightshade was a criminal named Tilda Johnson who frequently battled Captain America beginning in the 1970s. However, this year Marvel introduced Tilda’s cousin Logan Lewis in Marvel’s Voices: Pride 2023. First appearing in the story “What May Bloom” by Stephanie Williams, Héctor Barros, Oren Junior and Andrew Dalhouse, Logan is a PhD student working on research to cure sickle cell anemia using fragments of the Cosmic Cube. When she is doused with chemicals in an accident, she gained chemical-altering powers that grants her abilities like super strength and the power to heat or freeze things on touch. Though she’s initially afraid at what she may have done to herself, she eventually accepts the help and support of her community and is determined to help those who can’t help themselves.
13 Moon Knight (1977)
A predecessor of Marc Spector, this version of Moon Knight is a woman named Denise who first encountered Blade one night in the 1970s. The story “Moon Debt” by Danny Lore and Ray-Anthony Height from Moon Knight #20 shows their first meeting, when Denise believes Blade to be a regular vampire in need of slaying. After convincing her not to kill him, Blade learns that she was killed stopping a robbery before Khonshu resurrected her and gave her an opportunity to protect her city as his Fist. Moon Knight and Blade then team up to take down a nest of yuppie vampires (some of whom she decapitates with a vinyl record). Though tempted to kill the Daywalker afterwards, Denise decides to spare Blade so he can continue to fight vampires and protect the innocent.
12 Blade 2099
Dr. Wesley Nakao shares many similarities to his father Eric Brooks, the original Blade. But whereas Wesley’s father is a half-vampire who hunts other bloodsuckers, the Blade of 2099 is a half-zombie who hunts other flesh-eating undead creatures in the city of Nueva York. He sates his hunger for human meat with a synthetic flesh, and is called in to help an injured Miguel O’Hara in Spider-Man 2099: Dark Genesis #2 by Steve Orlando and Justin Mason. Armed with weapons like twin katanas and an anti-gravity pin, Blade 2099 joins Miguel in his fight against a future version of Carnage.
Another character introduced in Marvel’s Voices: Pride 2023, Muzzle Hackett first appears in the story “No Trespassing: Beware of Dog” by H.E. Edgmon, Lorenzo Susi and Kelly Fitzpatrick. When Spider-Man comes across a group of thieves breaking into a Stark Unlimited pharmaceutical lab, he assumes they’re trying to steal components to make a bioweapon of some kind. However, he soon learns that they are a group called the Commune, a “Robin-Hood-esque, queer, human, anarchist crew” who are there to steal hormones for trans people as well as insulin. Spidey only learns this after he is defeated in battle by Commune member Muzzle Hackett, who was born as a result of experiments to create a human-symbiote hybrid. Armed with a massive symbiote mouth and tongue, Muzzle is able to mimic other people’s abilities and manages to subdue Spider-Man by pinning him to the wall with web-like symbiote tendrils. Before running off, Muzzle also displays a healing power by licking a wound on Spider-Man’s arm.
10 Scarlet Scarab
The character of Scarlet Scarab has been a fixture in Marvel Comics since the 1970s, but the latest hero to carry the mantle is unique in that she first debuted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Layla El-Faouly first appeared in the Moon Knight television series as an adventurer and the wife of Marc Spector. In the series’ final episode she becomes an avatar of Tawaret, the ancient Egyptian Goddess of Women and Children. With this she gains the ability to fly as well as superhuman strength and agility. After the popularity of her character on the show, Layla’s Scarlet Scarab made her comics debut in Moon Knight #25 by Jed MacKay and Alessandro Vitti. A former mercenary and love of Marc Spector, she was killed on a mission. Like in the show, she becomes an avatar of Tawaret and reveals herself as the new Scarlet Scarab to Marc when he travels to the underworld.
The demons of Limbo can sometimes be a little wacky, and Rek-Rap is no different. He first appears in The Amazing Spider-Man #17 by Zeb Wells and Ed McGuinness. A demon who begins to idolize Spider-Man after being rescued by the Wall-Crawler, Rek-Rap decided to become a hero himself. He begins calling himself Parker-Man, and after another demon bonds him to a symbiote he develops powers and an appearance similar to Spidey. He helps Spider-Man defeat Chasm and the Insidious Six and seemingly returns to Limbo, but it has recently revealed that he’s returned to Earth determined to carry on his superheroic activities.
8 Tuvah Tu, the Banished One
While Uatu is the most well-known Watcher in the Marvel Universe, he’s far from the only one. This year’s Ben Grimm-focused miniseries Clobberin’ Time by Steve Skroce saw the introduction of Tuvah Tu, the Banished One. Not much is known of him at first beyond his name and the fact that he is clearly battle-scarred with various cybernetic enhancements and an array of futuristic weaponry. It is later revealed that he was a Watcher who sought to become a god and therefore assisted Ogdu Fraize aka Psychopomp in seeking out items of immense cosmic power. When Fraize betrayed Tuvah Tu and stole his All-Vision powers, the Banished One worked to stop the villain. Clobberin’ Time sees Tuvah Tu redeem himself by teaming with the Thing to stop Psychopomp from destroying the universe.
7 Eve Warlock
Adam Warlock is one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe, which makes sense since he was created to be the perfect living specimen. His creators intended to use him for their own selfish ends, but he rebelled and became a hero instead. Eve Warlock’s origin shares many similarities. Created by the High Evolutionary to replace Adam Warlock, Eve first appears in Warlock: Rebirth by Ron Marz and Ron Lim. Eve Warlock has the same cosmic powers of matter and energy manipulation as Adam. After initially fighting her counterpart, she also rebels against her creator and refuses to kill Adam for the High Evolutionary. They team up to defeat him, and after the High Evolutionary flees she sets off on a quest to find him and make him pay for his crimes.
6 Samurai Venom
Just like the Spider-Verse contains an infinite number of spider-heroes, Marvel has introduced the concept of the Venomverse, where countless characters across the multiverse become bonded to the Venom symbiote. One of these variants of Venom is Samurai Venom, who first appears in the Extreme Venomverse #1 story “Tip of the Blade” by Leonardo Romero. In a dystopian future, Takemoto Tatsuya is an Oscorp agent who encounters a katana imbued with the Venom symbiote. Becoming bonded to it, Takemoto struggles to keep the symbiote’s bloodlust under control. Later while working to help civilians cross between different districts on a train, he is attacked by Scorpion, another agent of Oscorp who wants to apprehend Samurai Venom. Giving in to his monster, he fights off Scorpion and saves the civilians on the train. He is later recruited to help other Venom variants in their fight against Carnage.
5 Sel Sennan
A refugee from a faraway part of the galaxy, Sel Sennan is perhaps the most powerful entity the Avengers have encountered in years. Sel has the ability to give superpowers to others in close proximity to her, and on her home planet she was used to boost the strength of armies. She eventually fled and learned to keep her powers in check so that she couldn’t be used as a weapon of war. In Avengers Beyond #2 by Derek Landy and Greg Land, her powers are meddled with by the Beyonder, and she begins involuntarily giving powers to people all across New York. She’s distraught by this, as well as by the fact that the Avengers know of her existence. She’s terrified that the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men or someone else will lock her up, only bringing her out to fight Thanos or Galactus. Black Panther and Iron Man are able to dampen her powers, but later her neighbors force her to give them the powers of the Avengers including heavy hitters like Thor, She-Hulk and Captain Marvel. Even more terrifying, she is able to grant one mortal the powers of the Beyonder, one of the most powerful beings in the universe with the ability to shape reality itself. Although it would be her worst nightmare come to life, if Sel Sennan were to join the Avengers in a fight against an all-powerful foe, she might be able to give them the boost they need to prevail.
The Krakoan era of the X-Men has seen the introduction of several chimera mutants created by Mr. Sinister. Like Rasputin IV, Wagnerine is one such chimera, combining the powers of Nightcrawler and Laura Kinney’s Wolverine. First appearing in Nightcawlers #1 by Si Spurrier and Paco Medina, Wagnerine was created in the alternate Sins of Sinister timeline, wherein Mr. Sinister takes over the world after implanting his DNA to every mutant on Krakoa who is resurrected. She leads his team of Nightcrawler chimeras, the Legion of the Night, utilizing her teleportation powers and lethal claws to carry out assassinations on behalf of Sinister. She has a change of heart and joins Sinister’s rival Mother Righteous, living more than 900 years thanks to her healing factor. She eventually sees that Mother Righteous is just as evil and self-serving as Sinister, and Wagnerine kills Righteous before the Sins of Sinister timeline is reset.
At only 11 years old, Bailey Briggs gained a unique set of spider-powers that included super strength, sticking to walls, a spider-sense that alerts him when others are in danger, fangs and a venom bite. After being trained by Daredevil, Bailey teamed up with Spider-Man as his sidekick, the illustrious Spider-Boy. Unfortunately for Bailey, nobody remembers this because at one point he was erased from the Web of Life and Destiny, destroying all memory and evidence of his existence. First appearing in Spider-Man #7 by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos, Bailey is eventually restored to the Web and returns home to Earth-616. However, the memory of him has not been restored, and he struggles to convince others that he knows them. Spider-Man refuses to believe that he would put a young boy in danger by bringing him on as a sidekick, but Bailey insists that, just like Peter, his great power comes with great responsibility to help others.
Mary Jane Watson has been a fixture in Spider-Man’s life since her first appearance in 1966’s The Amazing Spider-Man #42 by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. But while she has been largely a supporting character, this year saw her finally becoming a hero in her own right, debuting her own superpowers and superhero persona as Jackpot. MJ becomes trapped in an alternate dimension with a man named Paul Rabin, and while only a few days pass in the real world, for them it is several years. They grow close, adopt two children they find, and Paul develops a slot machine device that uses the power of symbols to generate random superpowers for MJ. After they return to the real world, Black Cat encourages MJ to lean into her new powers and become a superhero. Mary Jane adopts a new hero costume and the name Jackpot, which is a great callback to the very first words she ever said to Peter Parker: “Face it, Tiger…you just hit the Jackpot!”
Another character who first debuted in the Sins of Sinister timeline, Jon Ironfire proved so popular that he later appeared in the Earth-616 timeline. Ironfire is a mutant from Arakko with the power to turn his blood into metal that he can then control. In his first appearance in Storm & The Brotherhood of Mutants #1 by Al Ewing and Paco Medina, Ironfire uses his powers to create metal claws, drawing comparisons to Wolverine. But his abilities prove to be so much more dynamic, as he can use his metal blood to create horns, protective armor and even molten bullets that he shoots at enemies. He serves as a right-hand man to Storm in her Brotherhood and lives hundreds of years into the future, eventually adopting a look very similar to Odin. After the conclusion of Sins of Sinister, he arrives in the main 616 continuity, where it is revealed he is a member of the White Sword’s One Hundred Champions, an army that wages an eternal battle in the land of Amenth. Ironfire is the last of these warriors, arriving on Arakko with the White Sword’s all-powerful blade Purity. He warns the Arakki mutants that Genesis, the wife of Apocalypse, is coming to conquer the planet. With his instantly iconic look and dynamic power set, Ironfire has the potential to be a hero with an enduring legacy in Marvel Comics that extends well beyond 2023.