Drawn to Comics: Sera From Marvel’s “Angela: Asgard’s Assassin” is the Closest to a Trans Superhero We’ve Got So Far

by rory midhani

by rory midhani

I picked up the first issue of Angela: Asgard’s Assassin because it was a book about a kickass lady warrior co-written by Keiron Gillen, the writer of Young Avengers and The Wicked + The Divine, two of my all-time favorite comics. I picked up the second and third issues because it had fun writing, tons of action, cool mythology and enjoyable art. I’m going to keep reading the series for all of those reasons, plus the fact that in issue #3, we learn that Angela’s partner-in-crime, best friend and perhaps something more, Sera, is also a trans woman of color.

From Angela: Asgard's Assassin #1 art by Phil Jimenez

From Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1 art by Phil Jimenez

Recently, we’ve finally started seeing the introduction of several trans characters into the world of comics. Of course, Image Comics (which I wrote about a couple weeks ago) has a bunch of trans characters in its current books. DC Comics also became major players in the representation game when they had Alysia Yeoh come out to her roommate and friend Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) as trans, making her the most mainstream trans character in the history of comics. Marvel made a less high-profile move when Tong, a young Moloid (an race of underground humanoids) who was a part of a sort of mentorship program run by Ant Man, She-Hulk, Medusa and Ms. Thing called The Future Foundation, came out as a trans girl in the book FF. However, both Alysia and Tong came out in the spring of 2013, and neither DC nor Marvel really did much to introduce more trans characters.

From FF #6 art by Mike Allred

From FF #6 art by Mike Allred

While these were huge steps forward, and very welcome and appreciated steps, many fans (including myself) were still holding out hope for a trans superhero. Well, Sera is pretty dang close. She has superpowers (she’s a pretty good warrior and a great magician and has enhanced endurance and strength and all of that), she wears a weird outfit and she fights bad guys. Although she doesn’t have a secret identity and isn’t an Avenger or member of the X-Men or anything, she’s pretty much as much of a superhero as a character like Lady Sif from the Thor comics and movies.

So, a little background on the book. Angela is the daughter of Odin and Freyja, but was kidnapped and raised as an Angel from Heven (which is a realm like Asgard or Midgard) to be a super powerful warrior with a strict code of balancing debts and a harsh hatred for all things Asgardian. Now that she knows who she is, she’s kidnapped the new infant daughter of Odin and Freyja and she’s on the run from Odinson (the former Thor), Lady Sif and the Warriors Three with her friend Sera in tow. So far the comic has mostly been Angela and Sera getting into fights and a bunch of history and lore thrown in, which makes for a pretty great fantasy comic.

From Angela: Asgard's Assassin #3 art by Stephanie Hans

From Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #3 art by Stephanie Hans

Each issue also has a section where Sera tells a story about her and/or Angela’s past to someone in the comic, thereby letting the reader know more and more about their pasts. This is a really cool technique where Gillen teams up with Marguerite Bennett to write the stories and artist Stephanie Hans steps in to really make it feel like a bard or story-teller is reciting the legends of her people. It’s pretty awesome you guys. In the latest issue, Sera is trying to convince Star Lord of the Guardians of the Galaxy to help her and Angela, and she does so by telling the story of how the two met and became friends. A part of this story is that Sera grew up as an Anchorite, which is the group of male Angels. She says that she was “never their kind” and when she saw Angela fighting, she helped her, joined her on her adventures, eventually “found a way to make [her] [her]self” and the two became inseparable. The book also makes it pretty clear that Sera’s queer, especially for Angela, and that perhaps Angela returns those feelings.

Gillen and Bennett handle this really, really well, and make Sera into a really cool and interesting and likable character who is a trans woman of color, but is also a ton of other things. They also found a really good way to tell Sera’s story without sensationalizing it or misgendering her or disrespecting her at all. So, pretty much I loved this issue. I was already a big fan of this book and now I’m an even bigger fan. Also, like I said on twitter, Sera is the second openly trans woman character that Gillen is currently writing, which means he has more trans characters in his books than a lot of publishers have in their entire universes.

From Angela: Asgard's Assassin #3 art by Stephanie Hans

From Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #3 art by Stephanie Hans

If you like the Thor books or movies at all, or you like things like Red Sonja or any kind of fantasy comics, you’ll probably love Angela: Asgard’s Assassin. You’ll especially love it if you’re looking for more books with trans and queer women characters. I just want to say a huge thank you to Gillen, Bennet, Hans and main story artist Phil Jimenz for making Sera and for making her so great. I know I’m a nerd, but I really love comic books and my heart yearns for positive representation like this. So when I read Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #3 and found out that Sera is a trans woman of color just like me, it made my entire week. Sera is powerful, she’s funny, she’s clever, she’s loyal and most importantly, she’s a hero.

New Releases (February 18)

Fight Like a Girl #3 (Action Lab)

Lumberjanes #11 (Boom!)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #12 (Dark Horse)

Batgirl #39 (DC)

Supergirl #39 (DC)

Teen Titans #7 (DC)

Wonder Woman #39 (DC)

Bitch Planet #3 (Image)

Black Widow #15 (Marvel)

Ms. Marvel #12 (Marvel)

She-Hulk #12 (Marvel)

Silk #1 (Marvel)

Storm #8 (Marvel)


Welcome to Drawn to Comics! From diary comics to superheroes, from webcomics to graphic novels – this is where we’ll be taking a look at comics by, featuring and for queer ladies. So whether you love to look at detailed personal accounts of other people’s lives, explore new and creative worlds, or you just love to see hot ladies in spandex, we’ve got something for you.

If you have a comic that you’d like to see me review, you can email me at mey [at] autostraddle [dot] com.

Mey Valdivia Rude is a bisexual Latina trans woman living in Los Angeles. She's a writer, comic consultant and a trans activist. She's a bruja, a femme, a pop princess and she loves comic books, witches, dinosaurs and crying. She has a cat named Sawyer and a very successful twitter.

Mey has written 574 articles for us.

11 Comments

  1. I started reading Thor with the most recent #1 and I’ve really been enjoying it. I’m definitely interested in another comic related to that one, especially one with awesome characters like Sera and Angela.

    Not really related, but as a Star Wars mega-fan, I find it interesting that this is written by Gillen, who’s also writing Darth Vader, and that Thor is written by Jason Aaron, who’s also writing Star Wars. Asgard = A galaxy far, far away?

      • I have been, and so far I really like them, the titular comic in particular. Aaron nails the characters’ voices and John Cassaday’s art is really fantastic. It’s crazy dynamic.

        Darth Vader is really good, too. The art is more static but Gillen’s Vader is appropriately menacing and Salvador Larroca makes Vader look like Vader (which is harder than one would think).

        So far they seem very tightly plotted. I don’t know if they’ll intersect again but so far the events of one series have already affected events in the other. I like it a lot. Feels very immersive.

        The only downside I think is that they’re very focused on movie characters and settings compared to what Dark Horse was doing with the license. It feels a little… claustrophobic? But this is coming from someone with shelves full of Expanded Universe novels and comics, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

  2. Seems I’m going to be picking up more Thor related comics this week than I have in my entire life up until now haha. First I was going to catch up on the new Thor run with the Goddess of Thunder and now this.

  3. WHAT. THIS IS AMAZING! I’ve liked Angela since I was a lil baby geek in the 90s and she was first introduced at Image, but now I absolutely can’t wait to read her book!

    Oh, also, I just saw a preview for the new Infinity Gauntlet series and the new Nova Corps member, Anwen, looks fantastic.

    • Yeah! I just saw the infinity gauntlet preview! At first I was totally uninterested in most of this big crossover stuff Marvel is going to be doing soon, but this has got me interested!

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