Kamala Khan finally made her official debut in Ms. Marvel #1 on 5th February, 2014. If you have been following the announcement made in November, you’ll probably be familiar with the controversy sparked by the new character. After reading the issue I am happy to say that the Marvel NOW! Has done an amazing job!
Yes, Kamala Khan is a Pakistani-American and Muslim. But you know what? The way she’s portrayed in the comics is something a lot of readers can relate to. She’s a sixteen-year-old teenager who is a fan of The Avengers and is just trying to ‘fit in’. She’s different from the other teenagers around her because of her religion and culture, but aren’t all famous comic book characters similar? We have Spider-Man who was different growing up, and we have the whole X-Men universe reflecting the same thing. Kamala Khan falls perfectly into the category. She’s rebellious, ambitious, quirky, and trying to find out who she is. I instantly related to Kamala and I know others will, too. Maybe because of her thoughts regarding her faith or maybe how she fangirls about The Avengers. I mean, she writes fan-fiction! What more can you ask for?
The writer, G. Willow Wilson, a Muslim herself, presents everything in a sensitive manner. She makes the reader understand why Kamala thinks the way she does, even about her faith, and everything comes across as quite natural for such a teenager. I found nothing wrong with Kamala’s portrayal and I hope it keeps getting better in the coming issues. We also get a sense of her family. Her brother seems to be overly religious and I have a feeling we will see him go towards the extremist side of things as the story progresses. Her parents aren’t as devout as her brother but I don’t think they will be accepting of their daughter fighting crime anytime soon.
Coming to Kamala’s powers, they are quite different from the previous Ms. Marvels we have seen. The young girl can change her size at will (though it hasn’t been shown yet) which is a far cry from the energy blasts and flight powers we have seen from other women who took on the superhero name. Kamala got her powers from the Terrigen Mist in this issue and there’s a fun sequence where she hallucinates Captain America, Ms. Marvel, and Iron Man appearing in front of her. The three iconic Avengers talking in Urdu (National language of Pakistan) was hilarious.
No super villain was introduced but we got to know about Zoe and some jocks from her school who are insensitive to Kamala’s lifestyle and one of them even tries to trick her into drinking alcohol. However, Kamala has some good friends, namely Nakia, and Bruno, who seems to have affections for her. So, at least something is working in her life.
I am excited to read the next issue. The whole team did an amazing job introducing a new female character who is different but still very much rateable to a lot of people out there.
Have you read Ms. Marvel yet? What did you think? Please share in the comments!
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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