Meet the new Ms. Marvel, a shapeshifting Muslim teenager

Ms. Marvel is returning to the Marvel universe, but it won't be Carol Danvers in the suit. The New York Times revealed the brand-new superheroine taking the moniker will be a teenager, a New Jerseyite, a shapeshifter, and a Muslim.

The new Ms. Marvel is Kamala Khan, a fervent fan of Carol Danvers who decides to take the name of her idol when she discovers her powers. She has a dad who wants her to concentrate on school, a mom who wants her to avoid concentrating on boys in the slightest, and a very conservative brother. She will struggle with her family, her religion, and, of course, supervillains.

From the New York Times:

[Kamala's] genesis began more mundanely, in a conversation between Sana Amanat and Steve Wacker, two editors at Marvel. “I was telling him some crazy anecdote about my childhood, growing up as a Muslim-American,” Ms. Amanat said. “He found it hilarious.” Ms. Amanat and Mr. Wacker noted the dearth of female superhero series and, even more so, of comics with cultural specificity.

When they told G. Willow Wilson, an author, comic book writer and convert to Islam, about their idea, she was eager to come on board as the series’ writer. “Any time you do something like this, it is a bit of a risk,” Ms. Wilson said. “You’re trying to bring the audience on board and they are used to seeing something else in the pages of a comic book.”

As for why Kamala is fixated on Captain Marvel:

“Captain Marvel represents an ideal that Kamala pines for,” Ms. Wilson said. “She’s strong, beautiful and doesn’t have any of the baggage of being Pakistani and ‘different.’ ”

Ms. Amanat said, “It’s also sort of like when I was a little girl and wanted to be Tiffani-Amber Thiessen,” from “Saved by the Bell.”

It's always good to see more diversity on the comics shelves; hopefully the new Ms. Marvel will survive not only the haters, but the sales necessary to survive. The first issue of the new Ms. Marvel will come out in February of next year, and be illsutrated by Adrian Alphona of Runaways fame.

I'd like to say that I like every single part of this — especially the giant albeit confusing porcupine with the Hulk Hands.