Meet Kamala, The New Ms. Marvel
With the mantle of Captain Marvel (finally) passing to Carol Danvers, there was an open spot the Marvel hierarchy, and now we know who is filling that role.
Her name is Kamala Khan, and she sounds fantastic.
At least that is my first impression. I’m always up for expanding diversity in comics, especially in the superhero genre, which tends to be very heavily caucasian. Geoff Johns recently introduced Simon Baz of the GL Corp, who is a Lebanese American, and we also have the return of Vibe and of course, Jaime Reyes (Blue Beetle) and Marvel’s Anya Corazon (Spider Girl) representing heroes of latin origin too. There is also Hulkling and Wiccan, Batwoman, and Northstar who have expanded the gay and lesbian presence for the big two, and while there are others in both Marvel and DC's camps that fit these molds, there is certainly always room for more diversity among our heroes.
Okay, soapbox over. Kamala grew up in Jersey City in a muslim household, but her family is originally from Pakistan. The origin of her powers will be spun right out of Marvel’s Infinity event, and she happens to be a polymorph, which for those not hip to powers lingo means she can do all kinds of crazy stuff with her shape, size, and form. Turns out Kamala is a big Carol Danvers fan (and who wouldn’t be), so taking the Ms. Marvel mantle makes all the sense in the world for her.
Taking on the role as writer is author G. Willow Wilson ( Alif the Unseen) and on board for the art is Adrian Alphona (Uncanny Xforce). Being Muslim herself, I’m truly looking forward to seeing her bring this character to life, and I think Kamala has a ton of potential. Its always interesting to see into others' lifestyles and religions, especially combined with powers they don’t understand and the daily task of being a teenager. It's the same reason many people (including myself) love the X-Men so much. Being able to flesh that out in a comic (or any type of media for that matter) isn’t easy, but when it's done well, it can be fantastic. Here are some choice quotes from Willow’s interview with CBR on the upcoming project.
On Marvel taking on the project;
“I thought it was cool that Marvel wanted to go out on that limb and take on such a risky character -- to take on a character that had those elements to her background. Kamala is the daughter of Pakistani immigrants, so she's got this real tension between her very ordinary life as an American teenager, and also the expectations placed on her to be this very good, dutiful Muslim daughter by her loving but conservative parents.”
On the book being controversial;
“Oh yeah. This is something we had a lot of discussions about, Sana and I, for that very reason. What's going to be great about this book is that it tackles so many of the fears and insecurities of being a teenager, but adding on to that a layer of superhero powers that ordinary teenagers don't get to experience. What if you had all of those ordinary teenager insecurities but you could act on them? What if you could become somebody else? What does that mean? What does that say about your own identity? That is definitely part of the particular inner conflict of this character.”
Ms. Marvel #1 will launch in February 2014.