This wouldn’t be a legitimate segment on women in comics if we didn’t talk about Ms. Marvel. A fairly new hero, Kamala Khan had her first appearance back in 2013 in an issue of Captain Marvel. However it wasn’t until 2014 that she got her very own comic book, Ms. Marvel, and was propelled into the spotlight.
Kamala is an average teenage girl until she gets caught in the Terrigen Mist and is revealed to be an Inhuman with the power to shapeshift and change her size and mass at will. Donning the former identity of her favorite hero Carol Danvers, Kamala becomes the new incarnation of Ms. Marvel and uses her powers to help others in need.
Kamala is one of the most important characters in modern-day comics for so many reasons. For one, she’s a Pakistani American, which is huge not only because it gives more representation to POC in comics, but also because it gives positive representation of Muslims. Too often Muslims are painted in a negative light in America due to our history with them, but with Kamala you have a relatable teenage character that readers can sympathize with.
Another reason is she’s a strong and convincing female character. There are a lot of times where, in an attempt to make a “strong female,” writers will simply put a female in men’s clothing as if equating a woman to a man is in some way making her stronger as a character. There is no attempt at this with Kamala. She is shown as a teenage girl with teenage girl problems, such as school and parents, all while learning about her newfound abilities and struggling to keep her new secret identity secret from her parents.
G. Willow Wilson’s writing is phenomenal, and she really brings the character to life in ways that some other writers just can’t do. Kamala doesn’t just feel like a relatable comic book character, she feels like a real person. She’s so believable that I almost feel like I’m reading about a real person when I pick up an issue of Ms. Marvel. I guess the whole shapeshifting thing can really bring you back to reality though…