Ms. Marvel (2015)
Introducing one of the newest Marvel heroes, Ms. Marvel. “Ms. Marvel,” you say. “Isn’t that just Captain Marvel’s name?” Well, yes. But no. This is Kamala Kahn, Pakistani-American Muslim from Jersey City. She’s just your typical high school student navigating teen life until a mysterious fog appears and gives her supernatural abilities, causing her to transform into the appearance of Ms. Marvel (the earlier version of Captain Marvel).
Here’s the quick. Captain Mar-Vell (1967) was a male comic book hero who had a sidekick, Officer Carol Danvers (1968), who turned into Ms. Marvel (1977). She eventually took on her own stories, changing into Captain Marvel in 2012 after Captain Mar-Vell made his exit. So, yes. Ms. Marvel used to be Carol Danvers (and other lesser known characters who take her form). We know her today from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as only ever having the Captain Marvel title, making the distinction much easier.
Anyway, Kamala Kahn appears as Ms. Marvel and has taken the title with such pride. She accidentally changes into Carol Danvers (earlier Ms. Marvel) and saves someone, causing the media to take hold that Carol Danvers is in Jersey City. At this point, Kamala doesn’t really want to clarify with anyone because it will expose her as a superhero, which would not vibe with her teenage life.
In just the first collection of Ms. Marvel comics in 2015, there is an adventure for everyone! Between trying to navigate her studies, her best friends, potential boyfriends, and homework, Kamala Kahn is set to save her city, no matter what it takes.
My first full take is that I wanted to read it all over again. There were several times where I felt I could totally relate with this young girl who has a completely different experience from me. I’m not Muslim. I’ve never lived near New York City. I’ve never had a family dynamic as hers. I’ve never been in a high school where I had to navigate having super powers. I also have never had to save a town from complete destruction.
She reminds me a bit of a young Peter Parker, not quite understanding what it is to have powers, but trying their best to fight crime. To someone very outside of the targeted age group and audience, I found it very entertaining. I cannot wait to get a copy of the rest of these and follow her adventures in Jersey City.