Comicbook: Ms. Marvel (2014)

She doesn't care what the new fashion is, she wants the classic outfit and wedge heels!

Ms. Marvel is an ongoing monthly comicbook series published by Marvel Comics, which premiered in April 2014. The series stars teenager Kamala Khan as the new Ms. Marvel, who adopted the title after idolizing the previous holder. The character of Kamala Khan is one of the few Pakistani-American superheroes, as well as a non-villainous depiction of a Muslim.

Kamala Khan is an average, nerdy teenage girl from a Muslim family living in Jersey City, New Jersey, explicitly pointed out in the first issue to not be in New York City. Due to her Inhuman genetic potential, she develops Shape Shifter abilities after being exposed to Terrigen Mists. She idolizes Carol Danvers, the previous Ms. Marvel, and takes the Ms. Marvel name for herself as Danvers has been using the name Captain Marvel since about 2012.

The series is the only Marvel comic where digital sales exceed the sale of hardcopy comics, and leads in number of digital sales overall.

Tropes associated with Ms. Marvel 2014

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Visited in issues #6 and #7. It's large and labyrinthine enough to have several giant or weaponized alligators, a Death Trap etc. without anybody noticing.
  • Adorkable: Kamala certainly falls into this area.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Kamala's friend Bruno called her parents after Kamala ran away from the party in the first issue. None of them were thinking about Terrigen mists or transformations, but were scared that she might be attacked or hurt when wandering the city alone.
    • Bruno's parents were worried about his brother on the night of the Terrigen mists, as they were worried something might happen out in the all-obscuring fog.
  • Affirmative Action Legacy: Kamala Khan is a Muslim Pakistani-American taking over the name from the white, blonde Carol Danvers.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: After being exposed to the Terrigen Mist, Kamala receives a vision of Captain Marvel, Iron Man and Captain America. They explain that they are "faith", and she is seeing them as she needs to see them.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: The series is set in Jersey City, NJ. The first issue opens pointing out that they are twelve miles away from Manhattan.
  • Alliterative Name: Kamala Khan and Zoe Zimmer.
  • Alpha Bitch: Zoe Zimmer, who specializes in Stealth Insults disguised as questions and concerns about Islam. While Kamala's friend Nakia thinks Zoe is being mean, Kamala thinks she is so adorable and happy, at least in earlier issues. The truth serum stunt pretty much confirmed that she is downright nasty, when she doesn't bother with appearances.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: The Inhumans' dog Lockjaw, is sent to watch out for Kamala. He is not exactly people-smart, but he understands spoken English.
  • Animesque: Jake Wyatt's fill-in issues, complete with Chibi-like reactions from Kamala.
  • Ascended Fangirl: Kamala writes Avengers fanfic, a panel in Marvel 75th Anniversary Celebration #1 hints at her having been an American superhero fan since she was a toddler, and even her friends call her fandom a "sad nerd obsession".
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Towards the end of the first issue, when Kamala is talking to visions of Captain Marvel, Iron Man and Captain America, Captain Marvel explicitly tells her that her wish “is not going to turn out the way you think.” She wakes up from her shell looking like Carol Danvers with her Stripperific Ms. Marvel outfit. She quickly learns that such an outfit is not exactly comfortable.
  • Big Bad: The Inventor. In the first arc, he uses vagrant teenagers as personal musclenote  and he is able to build cartoony robots to act as weapons.
  • Big Brother Instinct: When Aamir sees Kamala acting strange after returning home, and after she tells him 'something strange' happened to her, his first instinct is to pull her into a hug and assure her he will make it better... by getting a group of 'brothers from the mosque' to beat up whoever hurt her.
    • Many heroes and secret agents she encounters tend to have this reaction towards her. Wolverine tries to make her more wary about the not-so-fun side of fighting evil and puts in a good word for her with Captain America, Spider-Man is immediately receptive of how she hasn't had much experience with higher level baddies and tries to take on the more dangerous role in their fight with Dr. Minerva, and an agent she encounters in S.H.I.E.L.D who is aware of how young she is openly admits that he's become protective of her.
  • Bilingual Bonus: There is spoken and written Urdu and Arabic scattered throughout the series.
  • Bland-Name Product:
  • Breakout Character: Kamala herself in the greater Marvel Universe. Not only did the sales of the comic far exceed anyone's expectations, even easily outselling the former Ms. Marvel's new series, but by the end of 2014 she was already showing up in major guest spots in other comics, such as The Amazing Spider-Man and S.H.I.E.L.D. With her cross-cultural appeal credited with drawing female Muslim readers into buying comics, many critics started calling her the new Spider-Man.
  • Bystander Syndrome: In issue #8 Kamala muses that half of heroism is not thinking and acting like this.
  • Canine Companion: Lockjaw is sent by Medusa to be Kamala's protector. She adores him on sight.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Kamala's got a Healing Factor that runs on her metabolism.
    Kamala: "I'm hungry in a way I've never been hungry before. Ravenous. Starving. Seriously, I need a thesaurus. It's the healing I think, it feels like I skipped a night of sleep — like the healing power comes straight out of my life force."
  • Chasing A Butterfly: Lockjaw on the cover of issue #8.
  • Continuity Snarl: Despite what's seen in issue #12, there was no time when Loki worked for the All-Mother (he quit in issue #5 of Loki: Agent of Asgard) and Odin was also around (freed from his self-exile in Original Sin, which takes place right after Loki:AoA #5).
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Kamala’s friend, Nakia, tells her that fakon (fake bacon) is “not that terrible”.
  • Dog Walks You: Textbook example is the cover of issue #8, but Kamala and her new-found bizarro doggie several times border on this throughout the issue.
  • Do Wrong, Right: Kamala’s friends scold her when she repeatedly smells bacon (“delicious infidel meat”), saying she should either eat the bacon or stop smelling it.
    ”Chow or chow not, there is no smell.”
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap:
    • Wolverine has no healing powers anymore, and gets hurt, so it's up to Kamala to fight a giant alligator.
    • Kamala's own healing powers has a similar handicap: the more energy she uses to heal, the less she has to use her powers with.
  • Dramatic Irony: Make your superhero outfit from a re-purposed swimsuit; but thanks to the polymer chemical treatment that makes it extra stretchy, it shouldn't get wet.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Kamala Khan was retroactively identified as a foreground character in Captain Marvel #14 before the official announcement that she was the new Ms. Marvel. Captain Marvel #17, which was published after the announcement, concludes with an unnamed appearance as she uses her transformation powers.
  • Expressive Mask
  • Fanfic: Kamala writes Avengers fanfic, and is in the midst of chronicling their adventures on “Planet Unicorn” in the first issue. She also writes X-Men fanfic, mentioning a “Wolverine and Storm in space” fic she wrote in issue #6. All sound Cracktastic.
  • The Fundamentalist: Kamala's brother Aamir is the most devout Muslim of the family and disparages his father’s job since it involves usury (their father works at a bank). Their father wishes Aamir would focus less time on prayer and more time on finding a job.
  • Funny Background Event: Plenty in this comic. One thing to look out for are the names written on items such as magazines and posters.
  • Genki Girl: Zoe is extremely perky, and Kamala describes her as “so adorable and happy”. Kamala’s friends, however, call her the “concern troll” and say that she only acts nice so she can make snide, insulting comments disguised as friendly conversation.
  • Grandfather Clause: Kamala says that, if she were Ms. Marvel, she would wear the “classic, politically incorrect costume and kick butt in giant wedge heels.” The second issue has her realize that giant wedge heels are not comfortable to walk in, and that politically incorrect costumes give epic wedgies.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Vick refers to his and Bruno's grandmother as "nonna" in issue four.
  • Groin Attack: Kamala uses the laser of one of Doyle's robots on his groin. Understandably, he swore revenge.
  • Grounded Forever: Kamala's punishment after her parents find out that she snuck out to the party in the first issue.
  • Healing Factor: Part of her shapeshifting powers, allowing her to heal from fatal wounds (and in #7, electrocuting herself to short out a death trap) quickly. She can't use her other powers while healing, though, and it also leaves her feeling very hungry. If she heals too much at once, her shapeshifting abilities (such as for changing her appearance) become greatly weakened due to lack of energy.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Especially giant, teleporting bizarro ones.
  • Hidden Depths: Thanks to Loki's use of Asgardian truth elixir, Zoe's football player boyfriend Josh snapped and revealed that he is actually sick and tired of people assuming he is a Dumb Jock, he is actually fairly smart, a good student and likes maths. (Ironically, he snapped because Zoe revealed that she looks down on him whenever he goes monosyllabic.)
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The Inventor is a clone of Thomas Edison whose genetic material was contaminated by a cockatoo. While the real life Thomas Edison was a ruthless businessman who once electrocuted an elephant just to prove that alternating current was dangerous, the Inventor is a Mad Scientist with no qualms about using teenagers as living batteries for his machines.
  • Home Base: The convenience store where Bruno works, according to All-New Marvel Now Point One:
    Kamala: Some people get to hide out in space stations. I get a Circle Q.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Kamala has a lot of issues with this after gaining her powers. They start off tied to her emotional state (shrinking when she feels small, turning into Carol Danvers when she thinks of Captain Marvel) and she's unable to control them willingly at first.
    Kamala: I wonder if I can do it again, this time on purpose. TRANSFORM!!!!
    *beat panel*
    Kamala: Nope.
  • Humble Hero: After saving a couple's infant child, they praise her as "a real hero" and her response is an understated "I'm trying."
  • I Just Shot Ms. Marvel in the Stomach: Vick accidentally shoots Kamala in the stomach with what he believed was an unloaded gun while trying to rob Bruno's store
  • I Have Your Dog: The Inventor's true Kick the Dog moment. He abducts Lockjaw, to blackmail Kamala or at least lure her into a trap.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: Kamala's reaction to meeting Lockjaw. In contrast to everybody else who ran for their lives. She also used the "He followed me home, can I keep him?" line on her parents.
  • In-Series Nickname: Loki is pretty much renamed the Hipster Viking by the characters. He doesn't mind it at all.
  • Invocation: Kamala tends to shout "Embiggen!" when she uses her powers to grow in size. She doesn't tend to do it for shrinking or other shapeshifting stunts.
  • Irony: The successor to the Ms. Marvel name has the same shapeshifting powers as the original Ms Marvel's original Arch-Enemy Mystique.
  • It's a Small Net After All: Averted. When Kamala begins to research superpowers in the third issue, she cannot find anything helpful as every search she tries leads her to web-pages about video games and fiction that have transformation and superpowers.
  • Joisey: A big part of Kamala's characterization is that she lives in Jersey City and writer G. Willow Wilson has actually gone to great lengths to replicate the experience of daily life in Jersey City and what it's like to grow up there, all superpowers aside. Kamala's high school is based on a real high school in Jersey City: McNair Academic High School, though (ostensibly for legal reasons) the school is referred to as Coles Academic High School, after Coles Street, the actual street that McNair Academic High School is located on. Even the visual image of the school's exterior is pretty much an exact copy of how McNair looks in Real Life. It's been explained that since a big part of Kamala's characterization is the fact that she's very Adorkable, G. Willow Wilson chose McNair as her alma mater since it's a high-achieving public magnet school.
  • The Knights Who Say Squee: Kamala is beside herself with glee when she first meets Wolverine (much to his annoyance), and when she gets saved by Spider-Man.
  • Legacy Character: Kamala decides to become Ms. Marvel, having idolized Carol Danvers, who left the identity to become Captain Marvel.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Wolverine's notion towards Kamala taking him on her back when he was hurt in issue #7. Unfortunately Kamala, being herself, had already "Pictagrammed" it.
  • Let's Just Be Friends: Kamala to Bruno.
  • Love Interest: Kamala comments that if her friend Bruno were Pakistani, her parents would be actively endeavoring to set them up as a couple. Behind her back, Bruno seems to regret that this is not the case, and issue #12 runs on this sentiment.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: The Terrigen bomb, source of Kamala's powers, although initially it is only identified as such in the opening panel of #2 (set "12 hours after the Terrigen bomb"); this is not touched upon again until #7 when she mentions the mist from #1 in passing to Wolverine.
  • Meaningful Name: Kamala's name is based on "kamal", an Arabic word for "perfection". Her parents gave her the name because she was born despite her mother supposedly being unable to have any children at the time.
  • Midnight Snack: After the failed rescue attempt in issue #5 Kamala has to raid the fridge at night thanks to her powers coming from her life force.
  • Mistaken for Terrorist: Kamala fears that this will happen to her and her mosque if her powers become public.
  • Mistaken Identity: Kamala's first shapeshifting in public wound up looking like Carol Danvers herself, so when she immediately leapt into heroism a lot of bystanders thought she was Captain Marvel, although they were confused as to why she had seemingly gone back to wearing her old costume... much less had a giant hand. As she continues to look like Carol Danvers in later issues, the people she encounters do not seem sure how to address her, backtracking over calling her "Ms." and "Captain".
  • Mix-and-Match Man: The Inventor. He claims to be Thomas Edison's clone, but due to an accident, his DNA got contaminated with that of his creator's pet cockatiel, which is why he looks like an anthropomorphised bird... don't let him hear you call him that though.
  • Mood Dissonance: Issue #10 deals with some pretty heavy topics, then there is the scene when the Inventor's Mini-Mecha appears... wearing a hard hat. The effect is jarring to say the least.
  • Mood Motif: In the first issue, Kamala sees Iron Man, Captain Marvel and Captain America singing the first verse of the traditional qawwali "Sakal bun phool rahi sarson", a song about a joyous trip to the shrine of the Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya. This sounds like the qawwali is only a reminder of Kamala's heritage and beliefs, but the second half of the song mentions someone absent from this procession who promised to be there, tying the song to Kamala's having disobeyed her parents by sneaking out AND to Marvel itself, for both the in-universe superheroes and the comic industry seem to be saying that someone like Kamala should not only be one of them—but she should have been among their number before. See more about the motif here.
  • Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls: As mentioned she's written at least one Avengers fanfic.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The Inventor is a mad scientist/cyborg/clone/bird-man.
  • Overprotective Dad: Kamala’s father only responds with "Very funny" when she asks if she can go to a party with boys. Subverted later when he turns around in later issues to be the more supportive and sympathetic parent when tensions over Kamala's newfound secrecy start flaring up after she gains her powers.
  • Police Are Useless: So mercilessly inverted. Not only are they not useless, but outright The Cavalry called in by our heroes. After they saw that they have a teenage superhero in their town they're just glad she is the type who would help fight street-level crime.
  • Protective Charm: As compensation for the trouble he caused, Loki wards the school in issue #12. How well this will work has yet to be seen; he says it's strong enough to stop any attacker up to an ice giant, but...
  • P.O.V. Cam: The first couple of pages of issue #8 are apparently Impending Doom P.O.V. until it's revealed to be Lockjaw's, later we also get some panels of the Robocam of an attacking Humongous Mecha.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: One of the Inventor's Death Traps, and later robots, is literally powered by an unconscious runaway; the saved kid also tells Kamala and Wolverine that there are others.
  • Rhetorical Request Blunder: This exchange, thanks to Kamala really not knowing who she was dealing with:
    Ms. Marvel: Okay. You really wanna help? Use your sparkly green power to keep this school from getting trashed by robots again.
    Loki: Ward the school? That isn't a terrible idea, actually... *he promptly does it*
    Ms. Marvel: Whoa. And I thought I was totally kidding...
  • Rubber Man: Kamala can stretch her limbs and increase the size of her hands and feet at will.
  • Running Gag:
    • There's a chubby kid in Kamala's school who seems to be asleep every time we see him on panel.
    • Her love of writing fanfics involving Marvel characters, most of which sound ridiculous (and awesome). One is a crossover between the Avengers and Magical Pony Adventuresnote , and another involves Wolverine and Storm fighting a monster that farts wormholes.
    • Kamala being grounded for sneaking out, being late etc..
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Just like how Carol Danvers used to wear one back in her earliest days.
  • Secret Keeper: The preview story in All-New Marvel Now Point One, set at a point after Kamala has officially become Ms. Marvel, reveals that Bruno knows her secret. He found out in issue #4 when Kamala unconsciously morphed back to herself after getting shot as Captain Marvel.
  • Sewer Gator: Encountered in issues #6 and #7 both in giant ("megagator") and armed with Fricking Laser Beams variety.
  • Ship Tease: Issue #4 sees Bruno blurting out why he thinks Kamala is awesome. Kamala wants to hear more, but Bruno gets embarrassed.
  • Shipper on Deck: One of the first things Kamala does when Spider-Man rescues her is state that she's an avid shipper of him and Carol Danvers, and pesters him for details when she hears they went on a date.
  • Shout-Out:
    Kamala: Wow. Such Athletic. Very Claws. So Amaze.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Several on the Valentine's Day ball, like Josh and Zoe, then the punch kicked in and showed, how many of them actually weren't, like Josh and Zoe.
  • Sizeshifter: A secondary effect of Kamala's shapeshifting powers. She can either grow or shrink parts of her body or do the same to her entire body, with corresponding mass changes and Super Strength to go with it.
  • Skirt over Slacks: For the first few issues, cover art showed Kamala wearing a "classic" Ms. Marvel outfit, but with pants (and a shirt) underneath the miniskirt, though she hadn't started wearing it in-universe; she eventually did so in issue #5 (it's made from a re-purposed burqini).
  • Slipping a Mickey:
    • Though Kamala wishes for more freedom and independence from her parents, she is still devoutly Muslim and refuses to drink alcohol. When she goes to a party and is offered a drink, she asks if there is any alcohol in it and is assured that it is just orange juice. Once she drinks it, they add "plus some vodka". She promptly does a Spit Take.
    • Let's not forget the time when Loki put Truth Serum in the punch at the Valentine's Day ball, Hilarity Ensued.
  • Spiritual Successor: The series in many ways feels like a modern day take on Spider-Man, being about a nerdy teenager who suddenly gains superpowers, and the problems that come with that. Rather then being a science whiz however, Kamala spends her time writing fanfiction and browsing social media.
  • Spit Take: Kamala's reaction after she is told that the orange juice she drank also had vodka in it.
  • Stealth Insult: Zoe gives the appearance of being very perky and friendly, but uses her "questions" about Islam and Kamala's Pakistani background to make derogatory comments about their culture and traditions. Bruno and Nakia already can see what she's doing and he refers to her as the "concern troll"; only Kamala herself thinks Zoe is genuinely bubbly.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Kamala and her friend Nakia (Turkish-American) come from well-assimilated families who want their children to take part in American society. Kamala’s dad wants his son to spend less time praying and find a job, and Nakia’s dad wants her to stop wearing a hijab ("He thinks it is 'a phase'").
  • Stupid Crooks: Bruno's brother Vick tries to rob the Circle Q, and winds up robbing Bruno himself when Bruno switches shifts with Chatty Bob. Vick apparently cannot even unload his gun properly, and accidentally shoots Kamala with a gun that he claims is empty.
  • Super Strength: A Required Secondary Power for some of the shapeshifting that she does.
  • Take That: From that You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech when Bruno's brother Vick chimes in:
    Vick: I'm good at doing the jobs nobody else wants because they're dangerous and stupid!
    Kamala: Future president.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Kamala's class had to analyse an article claiming this. Nakia is outraged that someone can just write off a whole generation like this, and Kamala points out that it's dangerous too as every generation has to solve the problems the previous one created. Kamala later uses the same article as a way to tell The Inventor's brainwashed teens that they are not solving anything by letting themselves get turned into organic batteries.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Kamala lampshades this when she mentions she needs one.
  • They Would Cut You Up: One of Kamala's reasons for not wanting the authorities to see her and her new powers, and why she reveals herself to Bruno.
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Loki's "help" on his Valentine's day visit suggest this, but realistically it was probably more, well, Loki being Loki. Also the other characters found it not romantic but very creepy.
  • Training Montage: After a disastrous first attempt to rescue Vick from The Inventor's minions, Kamala spends the next day with Bruno testing her absolute limits.
  • Troll:
    • Kamala's friends Nakia and Bruno refer to Zoe as the "concern troll", since she asks questions about Islam and Nakia's Middle Eastern backgrounds so that she can make condescending remarks.
    • Loki.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Pretty much every bit of "help" from Loki. He actually genuinely wants to help, he's just terrible at it, and a troll.
  • Unwanted Rescue: The Inventor's teenage "hostages" claim that they're a blight on society and a waste of Earth's resources, so they're willingly giving their bodies to become organic batteries for his robots as a way of repenting. Naturally, they're not happy to see Kamala trying to rescue them.
  • Use Your Head: Kamala resorts to a super-sized headbutt to stop a robot in issue 8.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: Issue #12. It's pretty much filler, which can be summed up as: "Loki trolls the cast". Only two slightly plot relevant things happen: First, it becomes obvious that Bruno has unrequited romantic feelings towards Kamala. Second, Loki wards the school which might reduce later property damage caused by superhero battles.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Kamala's primary superpower. She has been shown to be able to change the size and shape of her body, the color of her skin and hair, and even the clothing she's wearing. By issue #2, her shapeshifting can even have different parts of her upper body showing different outfits simultaneouslynote , and she's revealed in #2 and #3 to have Super Strength when she's "embiggened" herself or even just her handnote . Issue #5 expands this even further by having Kamala transform into a store mannequin. By #6, she can transform into completely non-humanoid shapes such as a sofa, or flatten herself to be almost as thin as paper (seen in S.H.I.E.L.D. #2).
  • Weaponized Animal: Issue #6 has Crocodiles with Fricking Laser Beams on their heads, along with other gadgets.
  • Wild Teen Party: Kamala runs away from a party held “on the waterfront” when she is tricked into drinking alcohol shortly after arriving. She and the other partygoers are exposed to the Terrigen Mist after she leaves.
  • Wolverine Publicity:
    • Wolverine is the first character to guest-star in Kamala's series... though given his history of sidekicking with teenaged girl superheroes it is kinda fitting. Also lampshaded by Kamala.
    Kamala: I totally put you first in my fantasy hero team-up bracket!
    • She also squees over being rescued by Spider-Man, who also has a history of teaming up with newbie supers. She flat out calls it a "Spider-Man team up".
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Kamala gets through the brainwashed teens by asking for their strengths and pointing out their potential.