Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer
Comics/Graphic Novels

Who Is Ms. Marvel? Everything You Need to Know About Kamala Khan

Michelle Regalado

Staff Writer

Michelle Regalado is a New York-based digital writer and editor. When she's not hunting down her next must-read book (recommendations are welcome!) or writing about all things pop culture, you can probably find her drinking iced coffee and hanging out with her dog, Lola. Follow her on Twitter: @mar8289

Ms. Marvel will soon headline her own TV show on the streaming service Disney+. Based on the critically acclaimed comic series of the same name, the series will focus on the current iteration of the beloved heroine, Kamala Khan. Though she already has a history on the small screen in animated shows and video games, this will mark her first foray into live action. And though the character is relatively young (both in age and in history), there’s plenty to learn and love about her.

Get to know more about the superhero—and the teenager behind the mask—with this brief intro to all things Ms. Marvel.

Who is Ms. Marvel?

Ms. Marvel has existed in the comic book universe since 1976. Several characters have used the moniker since that time, including Carol Danvers, who took the mantle briefly before becoming Captain Marvel in 2012.

The latest incarnation of Ms. Marvel is Kamala Khan, an ordinary Pakistani American teenager living with her tight-knit religious family in Jersey City. Kamala is a spunky, smart, and superhero-obsessed 16-year-old who likes hanging out with her friends and writing fan fiction about her idols, The Avengers. As a heroine, she’s already making history, becoming Marvel’s first Muslim character to lead her own comics title.

Ms. Marvel

What is Ms. Marvel’s backstory?

Kamala was introduced in 2014, making her one of the youngest comic book characters to get her own live-action series. Her story took off in Ms. Marvel #1 in March of that year.

After a typical argument with her strict parents at the dinner table, Kamala decides to carry out a rare act of rebellion and sneak out to a party. That same night, a transformative chemical substance known as Terrigen Mist covers the city. The mutagenic cloud, known to activate powers in those with Inhumans DNA, envelops her, leaving her with new abilities.

Ms. Marvel no 1 cover

After taking on the Ms. Marvel name, Kamala continues to have a longstanding connection to Carol Danvers (AKA Captain Marvel). She develops a costume inspired by Carol’s Ms. Marvel–era outfit.

In the comics, Ms. Marvel takes on all sorts of evils, from the villainous Inventor, HYDRA, and various terrorists groups to your average neighborhood bad guys. Over time, she gets to know her hero Captain Marvel, and the two later become colleagues, with Kamala even joining the Avengers. She later leaves the Avengers and joins her fellow teenage superhero pals Miles Morales, Amadeus Cho, and Vision’s daughter to form The Champions. More recently, in her newest solo title The Magnificent Ms. Marvel, Kamala traveled to a distant world to protect its inhabitants from invading forces.

Ms. Marvel

What are Ms. Marvel’s powers?

Though she may have inherited the title from Carol Danvers, Kamala has an entirely different set of powers. She’s a polymorph, which means she can grow, stretch, grow, shrink, and essentially completely transform her body as necessary. Usually, she uses this power to grow very big to take on larger-sized bad guys or to shrink super small to sneak into tight space, a la Ant Man.

Ms. Marvel can also shape-shift to look like any person, although so far we’ve only seen her appear as Carol Danvers and her mother. She also has healing ability, although it only works when she’s in her normal body shape and using it takes up a lot of energy. This often causes chaos in her everyday life, leading Kamala to sleep through her alarm and doze off in class, much to the chagrin of her parents.

Ms. Marvel comic panel

What do we know about Ms. Marvel on Disney+?

Ms. Marvel will be coming to the new streaming service, Disney+. In August 2019, it was revealed that Marvel is developing a live-action series based on the acclaimed comic. British writer and comedian Bisha K. Ali has already been tapped to write and serve as the showrunner.

No other details, including specifics on casting or a release date, have been confirmed as of publication, although it’s been speculated that the show will launch sometime in 2022.

How will Ms. Marvel fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)?

Though Marvel hasn’t released an official synopsis or plotline for the Ms. Marvel TV show, it’s widely expected that the series will be loosely based on the character’s initial 2014 run of comics by G. Willow Wilson. Whether the show will choose to incorporate Kamala’s connection to the Inhumans remains a big question, considering Marvel’s attempt at an Inhumans TV show tanked miserably on ABC in 2017.

One thing’s for sure: Don’t expect Kamala to stay on the small screen once she makes her debut. At the D23 Expo in 2019, Marvel studio president Kevin Feige confirmed that the fan-favorite character will make a crossover into the MCU’s films in the future.