Who Is Kamala Khan In Disney+'s 'Ms. Marvel'

Who Is Kamala Khan In Disney+'s 'Ms. Marvel'

It's been a big month for internet fanfic writer representation in Disney productions: aside from the release of Pixar's Turning Red last week, Marvel Studios just dropped the first trailer for the upcoming Ms. Marvel show, starring the only member of the Avengers who admits to writing fan fiction about her teammates (Wolverine's perverted toilet stall scrawls don't count). This Ms. Marvel is still pretty far from Avengers membership, though, so let's look at how she got there in the comics. 

Kamala Khan first appeared as a random onlooker in the foreground of a 2013 Captain Marvel comic as the titular hero fights an alien. This must have been her first encounter with supernatural stuff, because the shock made her look at least 10 years older. 

Panel from 2013 Captain Marvel comic.

Marvel Comics

More like Ma'am Marvel

A few issues later, she's seen hanging a Captain Marvel poster in her bedroom and suddenly sprouting massive biceps upon flexing her arm. This prompted speculation that her powers would be steroid-based, but then the first issue of her solo comic revealed what her actual deal was: she's a regular Desi teen who walks through a weird fog that gives her the ability to turn ... white? 

Panel from 2014 Ms. Marvel comic.

Marvel Comics

What in the Dragon Ball Z is this? 

It turns out Kamala's actual power is the ability to reshape her body at will: she briefly looked like that because she idolizes Captain Marvel and unconsciously copied one of her older looks. The fog was caused by something called the Terrigen Bomb, which was designed to activate latent "Inhuman" genes in humans (because this was back when Marvel was trying to bury the concept of "mutants," since another studio had the rights to the X-Men). Within a couple of issues, Kamala realized she didn't have to change her whole look to be a hero -- for the most part, making her fist freakishly large and punching criminals with it is good enough. 

At one point, Kamala teams up with Spider-Man Miles Morales and another teen hero called Nova to stop a potentially world-ending villain, and Tony Stark was so impressed that he invited them to join the Avengers. During the Civil War II storyline, Kamala and her friends are so disappointed with the adults for fighting each other for no good reason (have they ever read a Marvel comic before?) that they quit the Avengers and form their own team, the Champions. 

Avengers cover showing Ms. Marvel, Miles Morales Spider-Man and Nova.

Marvel Comics

Reminder that Moon Knight burned his Avengers ID card before it was cool

In the trailer for the Disney+ show, we can already see some differences from the comics: Kamala's giant fists seem to be energy projections instead of part of her body and her powers seem to come from cosmic bracelets instead of Inhuman heritage. That makes sense, considering that 1) even Kamala's creator seemed doubtful her original powers might look "creepy" in live action form, and 2) Marvel Television sorta crapped the bed when it came to the Inhumans (although there have been hints that they might show up in the show anyway). 

What's important is that the show respects the core of the character as teen hero who is proud of her heritage, her nerdom, and who (in a rarity for superhero shows) actually looks like a teen

Follow Maxwell Yezpitelok's heroic effort to read and comment on every '90s Superman comic at Superman86to99.tumblr.com. 

Top image: Marvel Studios 


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