Carol Danvers may have changed superhero identities, but the world still needs a Ms. Marvel.
On Tuesday, Marvel Comics announced a new Ms. Marvel title, launching in 2014, starring a new character, New Jersey resident Kamala Khan.
Any comics fan with a Tumblr account knows that Captain Marvel (Danvers) has a huge internet following known as the Carol Corps, due to her current book written by Kelly Sue DeConnick. The new book however, will feature the creative team of G. Willow Wilson (Cairo, Air) and Adrian Alphona (Runaways, Uncanny X-Force). Khan will be part of the Corps, with Cap being her role model, her “ideal,” according to Wilson. Eagle-eyed fans have even spotted Kamala in awe of Carol in July’s Captain Marvel #14.
In an interview with Newsarama, Willow stated that the book will be “about the universal experience of all American teenagers, feeling kind of isolated and finding what they are.” That certainly is a universal experience, for some more than others. And as a Muslim living in America, especially the New York City area, Khan will have plenty of that to deal with. Her namesake may have the standard super powers of speed, strength, and flight, but as Stephen Colbert joked, “[Muslims] are on the no-fly list.” Instead, the new Ms. Marvel is a shapeshifter. Time and again through the series, I’m sure she’ll be faced with the question: If you could change the way you look to avoid persecution, would you?
Speaking of appearances, Ms. Marvel’s costume was designed by Jamie McKelvie, who recently created new looks for Captain Marvel and Loki. Those little scarfy/capelets in the back will be a problem in a fight, but overall a nice, clean costume. Reverent to the old lightning bolt bathing suit, but modern and, presumably, a reflection of Kamala herself.
Ms. Marvel joins the already announced Black Widow, She-Hulk and Elektra as Marvel attempts to add more female-driven titles in the new year. Ms. Marvel will, however, be one of only two books at Marvel starring a person of color, the other being Ultimate Spider-Man. (No, She-Hulk does not count.)
And in what I must assume is a special twist just for me, the new character makes her home in Jersey City, New Jersey. That’s right. The first Ms. Marvel is from Boston, where I grew up. Last year DeConnick and Terry Dodson even set a Captain Marvel/Spider-Man team-up there, which I’ve written about. And the new one is from Jersey City, where I live now. Kamala lives in Bells’ Kitchen! I think I may decide to become her #1 fan.
Wilson also spoke of “[The] particular culture in New Jersey. It’s defiant against being seen as where you live when it gets too expensive to live in New York City. I really tried to do homage to New Jersey through references to Kevin Smith films I grew up with, as well as all sorts of cultural references of Jersey worked in. Ms. Marvel is a love letter to an overlooked state.” As someone who moved here because New York City is too expensive (and because NJ has grocery stores, and a Target, and less noise, and fewer urine puddles), I can’t wait.
Ms. Marvel #1 will be released in February.