Ms. Marvel is the female counter part to the graphic novel character Captain Marvel who was first given the secret identity of Carol Danvers, who gained her outstanding powers of body manipulation through either mutation, or alien technology. Carol later moved up in the ranks to become Captain Marvel, and is the protagonist of the upcoming 2018 Marvel movie, presenting her origin story. This left the title of Ms. Marvel to be passed from woman to woman, until it was bestowed upon the latest, and youngest bearer of the name; cue Kamala Khan. Kamala is a sixteen year old, Pakistani American girl. Living in New Jersey, writing fan fiction about her favourite superheroes (the creatively titled ‘Wolverine and Storm in Space’ being the one she is apparently most proud of), she joins two more of Marvel’s younger superheroes, Miles Morales and America Chavez, who have been affectionately dubbed the ‘babies’ of the MCU.
First published in February 2014, and met with an exceedingly enthusiastic reception, Kamala will certainly make you laugh until you cry, her unbridled energy and excitement creating a light-hearted character whom you can’t help but adore. Kamala’s story begins, as all origin stories do, by introducing us to the person behind the mask. Her friends, the highly strung Nakia, and the relaxed Bruno, as well as her not-so-much friends, Zoe Zimmer (once again, Marvel throw us another alliteratively named character), and Josh, are also presented. This creates the comfortably clichéd high-school stereotypes: the nerd, the hippie, the queen bee, and the football player. We then get a glimpse of her home life from a family dinner - Kamala begging to be given permission to attend a party later that evening to which her parents, as any parents in a coming-of-age tale do, refuse. This, of course, leaves apparently only one solution. The traditional sneaking-out-at-night occurs, followed by Kamala discovering that the ‘popular’ people she wished to associate herself with are, in fact, not very respectful of her religion, and family. Storming off, a mysterious smoke appears, knocking out the girl, leaving her to wake and discover that she… looks just like Captain Marvel?
The series delves into an exploration of Kamala’s powers, faith as a Muslim, and life as a teenager. At an age where individuals begin to struggle with who they are, and what they will become, teenage superheroes undoubtedly present some of the superior storylines; Peter Parker and Miles Morales as Spider-man give excellent examples. Kamala soon discovers that teenagers throughout the area are disappearing; her adventures lead her to encounters with giant sewer-alligators, a clone of Thomas Edison, and the eternally grumpy Wolverine. Throughout each issue, she, and her later introduced giant teleporting dog, Lockjaw, are able to charm the readers with their humour, resilience, and overall kindness in the face of adversity.
Another brilliant character for both boy and girl, young and old to idolize, Kamala currently is the protagonist of one of the best Marvel series on the shelves. To conclude, I believe a quote from Kamala herself best sums up her humour, abilities and overall charm: ‘Costume. Secret hideout. Sidekick. Dastardly enemy. What’s missing? Theme music. I need theme music.’