Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love carving pumpkins, bedecking the house in fake fall foliage, eating cinnamon spiced treats and, best of all, dressing up in costume! Not all of my friends get into the spirit quite as much as I do, but I love stepping out of my daily life to be someone else for a few hours.
Over the last few years I’ve dressed up as some truly bad-ass women: Violet from Pixar’s The Incredibles and Rogue as seen in X-Men: Evolution. This year will be no exception to my tradition of strong female characters.
I’m having a Halloween party at my house on tomorrow where I’ll be dressing up as Marvel’s the Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) and then on Saturday I’ll be dressing as Supergirl (Kara Danvers) in disguise while I attend a Cider festival with my friends.
Wanda Maximoff (and her brother Quicksilver/Pietro) is the child of infamous Marvel villain Magneto and therefore a carrier of the mutant X gene. Her power is the ability to manipulate probability and chaos magic by casting hexes and so the effects are kind of varied. She’s telekinetic, can light flammable objects, deflect projectiles, open doors, explode things, create force fields or hallucinations, and short circuit electronics, etc. Basically she hasn’t hit a limit yet on what she’s able to do with her powers.
I like the Scarlet Witch a lot as a character because she often straddles the line between good and evil. In the animated series X-Men: Evolution she readily joins her father’s side and the Mutant Brotherhood. Though she’s the only girl, she is revered for her abilities and quickly subsumes leadership over the long-time boy’s club of recruits. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe she also starts out as a villain. Orphaned by a Stark missile sold into the wrong hands, Wanda and her brother pit themselves against Iron Man and the other Avengers by siding with Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, when Ultron’s true intentions for their home country of Sokovia become clear (use it as ground zero to destroy humanity and reset its moral standards), Wanda switches sides and becomes an instrumental member of the Avengers team.
As powerful as she is though, the Scarlet Witch is not invulnerable. She’s young and still coming into her own understanding of how and when to use her powers, something I hope will be explored more in the coming movies and which I really resonate with at this stage in my life. Wanda has a lot of responsibility on her shoulders, and while she has the rest of the Avengers team to back her up, her powers are not an easy weight to bare.
Supergirl is a show that I fell in love with as soon as it aired. The plot lines are a little boring and I don’t have much love for the DC universe as a whole, but the girl power vibes and witty one liners from series regulars absolutely sold it for me. Kara Danvers was sent to Earth from a dying Krypton with instructions to protect her infant cousin, Kal-El. En route, her spacecraft was diverted and she became trapped in time for twenty-four years, just long enough for her cousin to grow up on his own and become Clark Kent (Superman) as we know him.
As a native Kryptonian, Kara has all the same powers as Superman – super strength, speed, invulnerability, flight, freeze breath, x-ray vision, and super hearing. She also leads the double life, working as an assistant to Cat Grant, CEO of CatCo Worldwide Media and paragon of female empowerment.
Much like the Scarlet Witch, Kara is just testing the limits of who she is. Cat Grant challenges her to step outside her comfort zone and push boundaries every day, mentoring her and encouraging her to be all that she can be in her daily life. And her work as Supergirl with the Department of Extra-Normal Operations tests the limits of not only her powers, but her character. Several times in the show she’s been confronted with parts of her past, with people and things that she (unlike her cousin) remembers from Krypton. Kara’s ability to work through that, and to grow as both a person and a hero in the process, is admirable and something else that I resonate with at this “about to start a new job” juncture of my own life. It’s hard to make decisions for just one person, but as Supergirl an entire city relies on her judgment.
Such are the burdens that both she and the Scarlet Witch are learning to bare. With super-powers come super responsibilities.
Who or what are you going to be for Halloween this year? Let me know in the comments down below!