When you think of the Avengers, you think Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, and Black Widow, comic book characters who’ve been around for over half a century. The main character in the Marvel’s Avengers video game, however, has only been in existence since 2013. That makes it pretty easy to read up on Kamala Khan, AKA Ms. Marvel. Here are the comic books, TV shows, and video games you should check out.
Before we get into specific issues, a little background. Kamala Khan is actually the fourth Marvel Comics character to be called Ms. Marvel. Carol Danvers, now better known as Captain Marvel, took up the name Ms. Marvel when she first gained powers caught in an explosion with the original Captain Marvel, way back in 1969. The second Ms. Marvel was Sharon Ventura, a female wrestler granted superhuman strength and endurance by the evil Power Broker to further her career. Sharon and Fantastic Four’s Thing had a thing, and she was eventually hit by cosmic rays herself, transforming into the She-Thing. The third Ms. Marvel, Dr. Karla Sofen, was the villain known as Moonstone, before taking up the Ms. Marvel moniker as part of Norman Osborne’s Dark Avengers during Marvel’s “Dark Reign” crossover event.
The current Ms. Marvel, star of Marvel’s Avengers the video game, is Kamala Khan, a Pakistani American from Jersey City, New Jersey. Kamala is one of many dormant Inhumans whose powers were activated when a substance known as Terrigen Mists were released around the world at the conclusion of Marvel’s Inhumanity crossover event. The mists granted her the ability to polymorph her body. She can stretch her limbs, control her size and mass, and even has a bit of a healing factor. This latest version of Ms. Marvel was created by Marvel editors Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker, writer G. Willow Wilson, and artists Adrian Alphona and Jamie McKelvie. She is the first Muslim character to get their own Marvel comic book.
Kamala Khan’s very first appearance is a very brief cameo in Captain Marvel volume six, issue fourteen. When I say brief, I mean really, really brief.
That’s her on the left. Just the one panel, unnamed appearance. If you’re looking to get the full Ms. Marvel experience, you can probably skip that issue. Kamala also makes an appearance in Captain Marvel issue 17, but again that’s more of a tease than a full reveal of the character.
Kamala’s first full appearance as Ms. Marvel came in All-New Marvel Now Point One, a one-shot showcasing a host of new Marvel comics debuting in 2014. Ms. Marvel got an eight-page story in which she fights a trash monster and deals with family matters, establishing the central idea of Kamala balancing her superhero life with her strict Muslim family life.
The best way to get into Ms. Marvel from the beginning, at least right now, is to grab a copy of Ms. Marvel Volume One: No Normal. It’s the first volume of a series of trade paperbacks collecting Kamala’s adventures from the comic books. This particular volume includes issues one through five of the 2014 Ms. Marvel comic book series, along with the Ms. Marvel story from All-New Marvel Now Point One.
The 2014 Ms. Marvel comic book series is pure delight. Writer G. Willow Wilson, a New Jersey native who converted to Islam later in life, give readers a unique insight into a Muslim household, presenting tradition and belief in an respectful and entertaining fashion. Adrian Alphona’s otherworldly art feels like a modern fairytale. The tone is light and often funny, making it perfect for younger readers. It’s a book I recommend very highly. And in case you’re thinking the game made Kamala an Avengers fangirl for plot purposes, think again. She’s been a comic book fan since issue one.
Thanks to Marvel’s habit of collecting comic issues into trade paperbacks on a regular basis, keeping up with Kamala’s main storyline is pretty easy. Her first two series (she restarted with another issue one in 2016) are collected in a series of Ms. Marvel trade paperbacks, volumes one through ten. Her latest dedicated series, The Magnificent Ms. Marvel, launched in March of 2019 and is still ongoing. The first 12 issues are spread across two trade paperbacks for your reading convenience.
Ms. Marvel also frequently shows up in the pages of the Avengers books, being one of the fastest new superheroes to make the superteam’s roster. She made the team in 2015, a year after her full debut. She makes her avenging debut in the Free Comic Book Day 2015 issue of Avengers, available free on Kindle and the Comixology app.
Kamala makes her Avengers debut alongside teen heroes Miles “Spider-Man” Morales and Nova, AKA Sam Alexander. She is, as always, a delight.
Since her debut in 2013, Kamala’s Ms. Marvel has made a huge number of appearances across the Marvel comic book universe. Fandom’s Marvel wiki keeps track of every one, with more than 300 listings so far. Think of the site as a checklist for the Ms. Marvel comic completist.
Ms. Marvel has appeared in several animated series’ over the past seven years, including Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble, and Marvel Future Avengers. Her most prominent role is as a member of the Secret Warriors, a team of teenage superheroes that serve as the focus for the Marvel Rising comics, toys, and animated features. Kamala and my favorite character, Squirrel Girl, are the only two characters who’ve appeared in every one of the series’ shorts, which also feature America Chavez, Gwen Stacy’s Ghost-Spider, and an appearance by Black Panther’s sister Shuri.
Full-length episodes of Marvel Rising are available to watch for free on the Marvel HQ YouTube page. Heck, you can even watch one right here.
Well, she’s in Marvel’s Avengers, but you know that. Ms. Marvel’s been a fixture of the Marvel comic book universe from day one, so you know she’s shown up in every Marvel mobile game, from Marvel Puzzle Quest to Marvel Future Fight. She was in the now-defunct Marvel Heroes MMO as an unlockable team-up character. She’s also an unlockable character in both Lego Marvel’s Avengers and Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2.
My favorite video game appearance by Kamala, aside from this latest one, is in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, where she gets to hang out with Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy. It’s a most triumphant appearance.
Kamala Khan has made a massive splash in the Marvel universe, and her rise to fame shows no signs of slowing down. She’s the star of the biggest Marvel video game in ages. She’s on all the comic book pages, and soon she’ll have her own live-action series on Disney Plus. You might as well get to know her now, because this Ms. Marvel’s going to be everywhere.