The new Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, is unique and much has been made about her uniqueness. For those who don’t know Kamala is a Muslim Pakistani-American girl. I have to admit, this was how I first heard of her, thanks to this video, and was also the thing that 1st drew me to the character as her gender, nationality, and religion seemed to offer something different and an excuse to finally get into comics if she turned out to be a legitimately interesting character, which she is. Her diversity has sparked a great deal of discussion, and I think being the 1st superhero of her kind with her own book will be Kamala’s most lasting legacy, however I want to talke about something that I feel hasn’t been addressed much, which is the primary reason I like Kamala so much. Simply put, Kamala is a fan.
Yes, the protagonist of Ms. Marvel is herself a fan of Ms. Marvel, but not in a supermeta “she’s reading the book too” way. Rather Kamala is a fan of the former Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers, who is now the current Captain Marvel. This seeming excuse to have a reason for Kamala to take up the mantle of Ms. Marvel is actually the primary reason I’m able to connect with her. Kamala and I exist on a similar level, we’ve both grown up with superheroes as a constant presence, for Kamala as a reality, for me as elements of popular culture and mythology. However they’ve always been “distant” in some regard. Sure I knew who Batman and Superman were, and I saw their movies, but I didn’t, and still don’t really, know them as people; and the fact that they’ve existed long enough to be my grand, or even great-grandfather greatly discourages me from getting into them in their original form, comic books. Being wholly new to comics, its nice to have a character who’s knowledge and treatment of superheroes are similar to mine. In a medium full of grizzled badasses, walking gods, super geniuses, elite commandos, and “the best of the best”, I connect with Kamala because she isn’t much different from me.