Three and a half years after Marvel Entertainment released a teaser trailer hinting at just what a triple-A Avengers game could be in this day and age, we finally know. Players have been pouring through the Crystal Dynamic’s developed title since launch and have quickly discovered that Iron Man, Cap, Black Widow and co. are actually not the focus of this story – though the marketing would lead you to believe otherwise.
Instead, it’s actually Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) that stars in the campaign as a wannabe Avenger that suddenly is thrust into the limelight after developing inhuman abilities. A relative newcomer to mainstream audiences around the world, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to give you an overview of just who Kamala Khan is and why you will be hearing a lot more about her in the near-future.
Born to Yusef and Muneeba Khan, along with older brother Aamir, Kamala Khan first appeared in Captain Marvel Vol 7 #14 in 2013. The Pakistani-American teenager is first seen as an emphatic bystander in the backdrop, while Carol Danvers takes on Kree Empire commander and leader of Starforce Yon-Rogg. Ms Marvel’s solo comic then debuted as part of the “Inhumanity” crossover storyline that ran from 2013 to 2014.
The published introduction to Kamala was the first Muslim character ever to headline a comicbook and subsequently, went on to win a Hugo Award for best graphic story. Ms. Marvel later received further honours, such as a Dragon Award for best comicbook, an American Book Award and the top prize for a series at the Angoulême International Comics Festival.
Kamala identifies herself as a bonafide superfan of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, with Captain Marvel specifically being her idol. She has a romantic connection with fellow Pakistani and crime fighter Kareem (Red Dagger), a genius best-friend called Bruno Carrelli, as well as a complicated relationship with neighbour and fellow Inhuman Kamran.
Fun Fact: Creator Sana Amanat was honoured by former president Barack Obama at the Whitehouse, where she then presented a copy of Ms. Marvel Volume One to the US commander in chief during a reception for Women’s History Month.
“Ms. Marvel may be your comicbook creation, but I think for a lot of young boys and girls, Sana’s a real superhero,” said Obama (via the L.A. Times)
Originally, Kamala develops her superpowers via Terrigen Mists that surface from Terrigen Crystals. This then enabled a Terrigeneisis (a sort of metamorphosis), which then cocooned the character and transformed her body molecules into a polymorph, allowing her shape and size to be changed at will. Ms. Marvel’s elongation ability frequently sees her fists enlarging to thwart opponents, with the power similarly accessible to extend her torso, limbs and neck.
She can also grow to a skyscraper stature or shrink down to Ant-Man sized levels when truly in danger. Like Wolverine’s healing benefits, Kamala can heal quickly from any injuries sustained, though none of her other powers must be in use at the same time. Her main weakness is attributed to electromagnetic pulses that will severally deplete her elastic powers.
As the comic progressed, so did the character, as Kamala learned how to alter her appearance altogether. This mean’t she could imitate different identities – most notably, disguising as James “War Machine” Rhodes to deceive Tony Stark.
Alongside Khan, other superheroes that have been granted powers from the same Terrigeneisis mutation include Black Bolt, Inferno and Medusa. The latter of which gifts LockJaw – a teleporting giant dog who belongs to the Inhumans – to Kamala.
In Marvel’s Avengers, we get a glimpse at Kamala’s homelife with her father, Yusef, as the game opens with the pair attending A-Day (a celebratory event for the Avengers). The Terrigen Crystals are discovered by Dr. George Tarleton in the deeps of the San Francisco Bay and are utilised to showcase a Terrigen-powered Helicarrier, known as the Chimera.
This naturally doesn’t go to plan and ends with millions of people across the US mutating into Inhumans, with Kamala being one of them. Five years on, the main campaign follows Kamala as she deals with her new powers and looks to reassemble the now disassembled Avengers.
Sandra Saad voices the character after previously appearing in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), Rage 2, The Elder Scrolls: Blades, Fallout 76, and the TV mini-series Wizards. Marvel’s Avengers has already topped the UK sales charts for two weeks in a row and sold more 42,000 copies in its first week on sale in Japan.
Kamala has also appeared as an unlockable playable character across a variety of other games, including: Marvel Ultimate: Alliance 3: The Black Order, Marvel Strike Force, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, Lego Marvel’s Avengers, Marvel: Future Fight, and Marvel: Contestant of Champions, to name a few. She was also voiced by Kathreen Khavari in the 2018 animated film, Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors.
Though the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been moving full-steam ahead for well over a decade now, the Captain Marvel superfan has yet to appear in any form. However, this is all due to change in the coming years.
During the MCU’s Phase 4 announcement at D23 Expo in 2019, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed that Ms. Marvel would make her debut sometime in 2022 via a Disney+ series. Brie Larson previously stated that she would love to introduce the character in a Captain Marvel sequel, though that will likely release after the series launch but doesn’t rule out a cameo or even a co-starring role.
Screenwriter and stand-up comedian Bisha K. Ali will act as head writer for the show and will head up the search for the actor, which is yet to be found. Before this, Ali contributed as a writer to Sex Education and Four Weddings and a Funeral (2019).
Outside of this, Marvel and Scholastic have partnered to launch an original graphic novel aimed at younger audiences starring the teen and written by Nadia Shammas. Undoubtedly, in Kamala Khan’s seven years of existence, the character has made great waves across the industry. Her popularity is expected only to grow (figuratively and literally) as Ms. Marvel becomes even more of a major part of Marvel’s plans going forward, both on and off-screen.