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Back Issues: Ms. Marvel embiggens her profile on Disney+

A relatively new addition to its roster of heroes, the latest Ms. Marvel has become a key figure in the Marvel comic book universe.

She was introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe earlier this month when her series debuted on Disney+.

Before Kamala Khan took on the title, it belonged to Carol Danvers, who goes by Captain Marvel now in movies and comics alike. When she lost her powers and tried on other codenames like Binary and Warbird, a superhuman wrestler adopted it, eventually joining the Fantastic Four and mutating into a female version of the Thing.

Danvers used the name again before being “promoted” to Captain, which left it free for the Muslim, Pakistani-American teen Kamala when she got her powers.

In the comics, Kamala is an Inhuman, a group of people with altered DNA that grants them powers when exposed to the Terrigen mists. That was usually handled in a ritual fashion in the Inhumans’ secret society, but a battle with Thanos (yeah, that guy) resulted in an explosion that sent a cloud of the mist sweeping across the globe, changing anyone with Inhuman DNA.

When Kamala emerged from her Terrigen-induced cocoon, she found she looked just like a younger version of her hero, Danvers, from back in her Ms. Marvel days. She learned her powers allowed her to change her body in a host of ways, from shifting her appearance to enlarging her size. Her signature move is increasing the size of her fists to pummel her foes, usually accompanied by her “Simpsons”-inspired battle cry, “Embiggen!”

After some growing pains, Kamala adopted the identity of Ms. Marvel and protected Jersey City from a mysterious villain called the Inventor. A team-up with Wolverine put Ms. Marvel in touch with Inhuman monarch Medusa, who dispatched the teleporting dog Lockjaw to assist her.

After working with other heroes and Inhumans and, oh yeah, the universe ending and restarting, Ms. Marvel joined with fellow young heroes Nova and Spider-Man (Miles Morales) in a new Avengers team alongside veterans Iron Man and Vision and the new Captain America (Sam Wilson, formerly the Falcon) and Thor (Jane Foster). Kamala earned her place on the team, not just due to her powers and abilities, but because of her dedication and bravery.

After a second Civil War split the superhero community, the youngsters struck out on their own alongside other teen heroes as the Champions.

Ms. Marvel has at times served as a stand-in for comic fans, with her extensive knowledge of the heroes she fights alongside and her prolific fan fiction writing.

She hasn’t always sustained an ongoing series, but she’s stuck around and made connections with a variety of characters. Her presence as a Muslim character has garnered attention outside of comics circles, and her status as a legacy character that doesn’t seem to be in danger of one day relinquishing her name and costume makes her somewhat unique within comics.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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Recommended Reading

* “Ms. Marvel: Kamala Khan” — Collects the first 11 issues of the new Ms. Marvel’s series as Jersey City teen Kamala Khan develops powers and tries to find her place among the superheroes she’s always admired.

* “All-New, All-Different Avengers: The Magnificent Seven” — Ms. Marvel joins a new incarnation of the Avengers alongside veteran and legacy heroes.

* “Champions: Change the World” — After splitting with the Avengers, Ms. Marvel, Nova and Spider-Man (Miles Morales) form a new team with other young heroes.

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