HomeBad Ass AsiansMarvel introduces a trio of Filipino superheroes

Marvel introduces a trio of Filipino superheroes

This cover featuring Red Feather, Sea Hunter and Wave is available only in the Philippines.

By Ed Diokno, Views from the Edge

Sometimes, I wonder how I would have turned out if I had Filipino superheroes to cheer for and pretend to be when I was a youngster. Would I be more assertive and more daring? Would I grow up without White envy and crippling self-doubt?



I loved comics when I was a kid. Comics and their fictional characters were an escape valve from the real-life pressures, everyday racial slights and micro-aggressions that weighed in on young POC children, even if we were too young to have names for them.



Every week I’d walk to the nearest corner grocery about five blocks away, (a long trek through rivals’ territory) just to read the latest issue of Aquaman, Batman and Superman, when DC Comics reigned supreme and Stan Lee was still struggling to establish his stable of heroes, artists and writers.



The Italian American store owner was cool. We came to recognize each other. He’d let me read the comics for free as long as I didn’t fold or mutilate them. After reading, I’d dutifully return the comics to the rack, good as new. Occasionally, we would acknowledge each other with a small smile or a nod, nary a word exchanged between us.



Fortunately, today’s Asian American kids who dive into comics have comic book heroes who look like them.



Marvel introduced Wave, in “War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas” in May, where Asian superheroes from Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam and the Philippines team up to defeat alien beings trying to take over the world. Led by the Korean Hulk, Cho, the Asian superheroes 



Wave, whose real name is Pearl Pangan, is a Filipina of Visayan heritage. Her powers include controlling the sea, creating powerful waves, and other water-based abilities, indicating that she could be part-Atlantean. She also wields turquoise blades and has retractable blade fins.

Greg Pak, Wave’s creator, will be introducing Sea Hunter, the new Filipina superhero with award-winning writer Alyssa Wong and artist Pop Mhan. Pak didn’t give much away, but we know the new superhero will be appearing alongside the Chinese superhero Aero in issue No. 3 of her comic book series, and Pak assures fans she will be “awesome.” Wong is half-Filipina and was recently tasked by Marvel Comics to write the backstory for Wave. She is mainly a science-fiction writer who has won a Nebula Award, a World Fantasy Award and a Locus Award for her works.

“I’m also so excited for Wave and the fact that we have a Filipina Super Hero who’s taking center stage. I never got to see Filipino characters when I was growing up, so it’s so, so cool to write Wave now! She’s strong because of her water manipulation powers, but she also draws strength from her community and her lolo. And that feels emotionally true, to me, for a Filipino Super Hero,” said Wong in a Marvel interview. Making a surprise appearance that might be a hint of what’s in store, is Red Feather, the leader of a group of Filipino heroes called the Triumph Division, which predated Wave amd the Agents of Atlas. Following the death of the previous generation of the familiar Filipino superhero group the Triumph Division at the hands of suicide bombers during a ceremony in Manila, the next member in each of the deceased members’ bloodlines succeeded them, following the team’s centuries-old tradition. This included the appointment of a new Red Feather.

The subsequent fate of this female Red Feather is unknown. When Tony Stark (Ironman)  became a prisoner of the Mandarin, his allies Pepper Potts and Bethany Cabe set up a meeting in international waters with the Triumph Division and the Chinese superhero team the Dynasty, and the Filipino superheroes were being led by a different Red Feather.



Wave, Marvel‘s first Filipina superhero is being promoted for more exposure (hopefully, for a cinematic debut). She steals all the attention in a promotional video  below) released by Marvel last week. The video is for Marvel’s popular mobile game, Marvel Future Fight, a role-playing game (RPG) that uses over 200 Marvel characters.

Wave’s appearance in the clip may signify Marvel’s intention of turning Wave into a major character in the Marvel Universe. She appears as the main character in the video and the poster at the end of the clip! She’s also joined by the Silver Surfer, one of the most iconic Marvel superheroes, and Namor, the King of Atlantis.

The three superheroes are being introduced in the game in celebration of Marvel’s 80th Anniversary.

It’s a different world today than when I was growing up in suburban California. America is more diverse but as a country we’re still struggling to decide what our values are, who we are and what the future of our country will be like.

Superheroes out of the pages of comic books are fictional, but they help to provide guideposts as we go through this sometimes uncomfortable debate, a conversation in which we must speak out.

But I always think of the individual kid, who may be a loner but loves to read and use his imagination, sitting near a magazine rack, reading the comics. Don’t underestimate the influence of comic book heroes. His or her horizons are expanded and the world is brighter and more inclusive because of the latest iteration of diverse superheroes. Thank goodness.

AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. Check out our Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff or submitting a story

3 COMMENTS

  1. RE: Marvel introduces a trio of Filipino superheroes: Amadeus Cho is not Chinese, he is Korean American. Your article has the wrong information.

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