Forget 'Spider-Man', Marvel Should 'Ms. Marvel' Now
Marvel's biggest breakout character deserves a bigger platform.
Since her debut as Ms. Marvel in 2013, Kamala Khan has been a certifiable comic book hit. Popular with readers and critics, the story of Kamala Khan, an American Muslim teenager, has racked up awards and accolades. So when director Lexi Alexander tweets asking why Kamala hasn’t had her own television series yet, many fans are inclined to get behind her.
Alexander wondered this on Friday morning:
“Given that Secretary of State Kerry just held a speech urging Hollywood to represent Muslims better, I wonder why no Ms. Marvel series?”
Kamala Khan is the daughter of two Pakistani immigrants living in New Jersey. She’s always been a bit of a superhero geek, fawning over her idol Carol Danvers, the former Ms. Marvel turned Captain Marvel, and writes Avengers fanfiction on the side. One night, after coming away from a party where she was ostracized by her classmates, Kamala gets hit by a blast of terrigen mist, becoming an Inhuman. With her new powers of morphogenetics, Khan became the new Ms. Marvel with the blessing of her hero, Captain Marvel.
A Marvel series about Ms. Marvel is probably the smartest move for any comic company to be making at this time. Lexi Alexander highlights the need for diversity, but Kamala as a character and story is much more suited for today’s audience than any other superhero property. In a world where millions are just discovering superheroes and comic book culture, Kamala Khan might be the best conduit to usher those fans in.
Her Hugo award winning comics are ideal for either a film or television adaptation. Ms. Marvel is particularly attuned to the current climate of superhero media. Her story is grounded in a way that avoids overt darkness, but her struggles as an outsider both in terms of her heritage and powers makes for a deeply compelling drama. Kamala, herself a huge fangirl of all things superheroes, makes her an almost perfect introduction to the deeper world of superheroes for new, young fans who might be confused where to begin with the confusing world of comic books.
The state of superhero media is one where Batman v. Superman is still rounded for its tone-deaf approach to its lead characters, all for the sake of being “dark and edgy”. Meanwhile, we know that Marvel is in the process of developing several comedic shows based around their superhero properties. All the while, The Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl all have amazing fan support for their deft mix of camp, action, and drama. Ms. Marvel has the potential to feature the best of all of these popular series.
A television show that can mix the slice-of-life aspects of Kamala’s high school life with the fantastic visuals of her comic series has the potential to become a huge hit. Even better, her story is entertaining and relatable in all the ways Spider-Man’s is. As a social misfit whose geekery is both a point of charm and self-help, Kamala Khan is more “Peter Parker” than any of the last several Spider-Man movie characters combined. Rather than fast-tracking Spider-Man: Homecoming, Marvel would do well to consider a Ms. Marvel film.
More than any of that, however, Kamala Khan’s debut is a powerful story about identity. Kamala isn’t just a Muslim-American thrown into the fray in order to diversify Marvel’s portfolio. Her identity is a part of her, and it weighs on her in ways that haven’t been seen in many other superhero stories. A young woman coming to terms with all the aspects that make her unique, Ms. Marvel is a powerful character who aptly deals with the tricky nature of becoming one’s self.
Ms. Marvel is ready for mainstream popularity. Her story resonates with so many people regardless of their race, gender, or religion. She’s relatable in ways that many superheroes currently on screen just aren’t. While diversity in entertainment is always a welcome change, Kamala Khan deserves a series because her’s is a story that has the potential to change the shape of superhero stories as a whole. As Phase 3 slowly closes a chapter on the larger-than-life stories of Iron Man and Captain America, Ms. Marvel is waiting in the wings to bring superhero stories to new levels.