A webcomic superheroine questions whether superpowered crimefighting is the best way to be a Strong Female Protagonist

Alison Green used to be Mega Girl, one of the most powerful superhumans on the planet, until she was convinced to hang up her cape. Now she's a super-strong college student who attends Occupy protests, volunteers at the local fire department, and is trying to figure out what it means to be a Strong Female Protagonist. But her superhero past just won't leave her alone.

Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag's webcomic Strong Female Protagonist (not to be confused with Meredith Gran, Kate Beaton, and Carly Monardo's Strong Female Characters) examines the roles of superhumans in a world that remains plagued by more mundane perils: social injustice, government intrusion into reproductive rights, fires not set by supervillains. When she was Mega Girl, Alison was the premiere superhero, the girl whose dolls filled the windows of toy shops. But after a run-in with an apparent supervillain who wasn't all he appeared to be, Alison has decided to hang up her cape, enroll in school, and figure out what good she can really do in the world.

But she's still a celebrity, which makes it hard to get close to her classmates. Other superheroes tend to treat her as a traitor or a burnout. But the perks are undeniable: time spent with her family, a genuine interest in her classes, and the respect of her fellow firefighters. She may not be battling supervillains any more, but Alison feels confident that she is truly doing good in the world.

Strong Female Protagonist is just into its second issue, but it's already asking some intriguing questions about the relationship between superheroes and real-world problems. And Ostertag's art, which improves immensely toward the end of the first issue, handily portrays a world so ordinary that it is truly spectacular when someone shows off even the most minor of super powers. Lurking in the background, though, is the notion that all those heroes and villains are locked in a game that keeps them preoccupied while a more nefarious operates unhindered. It remains to be seen just what will happen to Alison's quieter do-gooding once those plans begin to come to light.

[Strong Female Protagonist, discovered via MetaFilter]