WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the first episode of “Miss Marvel” “Generation Why”.
Disney and Marvel Studios have reviewed Kamala Khan’s abilities for the Disney+ Miss Marvel series, which takes place in the MCU. The teenage superhero, played by Iman Vellani, is one of the most anticipated newcomers to Phase 4. After completing her series on Disney+, it is confirmed that Ms. Marvel will team up with Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Monica Rambo (Teyona Parris) in “Miracles.”
Despite the fact that Miss Marvel appeared recently in the Marvel superhero library, she is already a well-known character, recognizable even to ordinary fans. As a result of her popularity and overall importance to comics, there were already a number of high expectations that Marvel had to live up to when adapting her character. They included her background, personality, costume and, of course, her abilities. Ms. Marvel has retained her comic look in the series, but definitely not her abilities. She shares many of the core elements of her comic counterpart, including some scenes that almost completely retell the moments on the page, but not her iconic set of abilities.
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Marvel making changes to the hero’s abilities is not unprecedented. The superhero cast of The Eternals is an example of Marvel characters whose abilities have been redesigned for the big screen, and many heroes have lost some of the most useful tools in their arsenal. It’s a completely different situation with Ms. Marvel, whose higher visibility in the comics has given the MCU much less leeway in terms of how much she can change. That didn’t stop the Disney showrunners from taking great liberties with her abilities and how they work. However, the rationale is quite clear. Here’s what Ms. Marvel can do in comics, what the MCU does differently and why it radically changes her original set of abilities.
Explanation of Miss Marvel’s Abilities in Marvel Comics
In Marvel comics, Kamala Khan was an ordinary teenager until exposure to the Terrigen mist turned her into an inhuman. Like mutants, representatives of this subspecies of humanity, created as a result of genetic experiments of the Kree, usually have at least one superpower. They are usually acquired after the Non-Human in question undergoes a transformation process known as Terrigenesis. When Kamala experienced this, she gained the ability to “embiggenate” herself, which means she can enlarge and lengthen her limbs. One of the most common ways she uses her powers is to “embig” her fists, which allows her to beat her opponents with tremendous force.
Usually Kamala changes the size of her hands in battle, but this is far from the limit of her inhuman abilities. Ms. Marvel can increase (or decrease) the size of her entire body at the same time, not unlike the ability to change the size of Hank Pym and Scott Lang. In addition, her shape-shifting abilities allow her to completely change the structure of her body, hair and facial features, which is very convenient when disguise is required. The additional ability that Ms. Marvel has in the comics is a healing factor. Because Ms. Marvel doesn’t have superhuman stamina, she may die from a fatal bullet wound, but her rapid healing factor can fix most injuries. If it gets seriously damaged during the “swelling”, returning to normal has proven to be an effective method of recovery.
How the MCU Changed Miss Marvel’s Abilities
In the Miss Marvel series, Kamala’s powers are manifested in crystal-violet energy, not in the ability to stretch from comics. While one scene shows Kamala using a giant arm that looks like an adaptation of her “magnified” punch, that’s where the similarities seem to end between the powers and origins of Ms. Marvel from the MCU and her comic book counterparts. Since Ms. Marvel’s MCU powers don’t come from inhumans’ genes, they have a completely different range. Besides using his classic fist, Kamala can also create energy fields for defense, shoot explosions, or even walk through the air. This is all due to the fact that the origin of her powers is also radically different. In keeping with long-standing speculation, Ms. Marvel reveals that Kamala’s energy–based powers come from a bracelet inherited from her grandmother – which some fans believe may be a powerful Kree artifact known as the Nega-Band.
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Speculative talk that Kamala uses Nega-Bands and has other abilities in the MCU has been going on for a long time. Regardless of the origin of her bracelet, it is important to consider the significance of the changes in Miss Marvel’s abilities. On the one hand, since Ms. Marvel’s true Disney+ parentage may not give her her own innate superpowers, this may be a somewhat disappointing shift. On the other hand, there are some very good reasons for Ms. Marvel’s change of power in the MCU.
Why did the MCU change Miss Marvel’s abilities
For Marvel to do such a huge adjustments to the beloved comic character, it is clear that the studio had many reasons for this. One of the possible motivations could be special effects. To make her “enlarged” attacks look identical to the character’s hands, you can use computer graphics, but the path of the Green Lantern might have been easier. There is also the question of how Ms. Marvel’s abilities compare to her colleagues in the movie “Miracles.” Both Captain Marvel and Monica Rambo rely on powerful energy attacks. Because her powers are so different from theirs, Kamala will stand out by fighting alongside Carol Danvers and Monica. However, the MCU version should be closer to their power levels and have a stronger connection to them.
Ms. Marvel’s Change of Power Avoids the problem with the Fantastic Four movie
By tuning Kamala’s power, the MCU can distance her from the otherwise inevitable comparisons to Mr. Fantastic. A version of Reed Richards appeared in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, played by John Krasinski. Since the Fantastic Four movie is confirmed in development, the MCU will soon have its share of elastic heroes. Two characters with the same elastic abilities will make both less unique, which was probably a motivating factor for Marvel when creating Miss Marvel’s Phase 4 debut.
In addition, there are problems that the previous Fantastic Four films had with Reed Richards’ abilities — it never looked anything other than stupid. With the exception of Elastigirl in “The Incredibles,” stretch superheroes have never had any luck on the big screen. Since Marvel is known to have a feature-length debut planned for Kamala Khan’s future, there’s every chance they want to protect Miss Marvel from Reed Richard’s curse with dumb elastic computer graphics.
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Why Some Fans Hate Ms. Marvel’s Change of Power in the MCU
However, for all reasonable logistical reasons, Ms. Marvel’s changed abilities in the MCU have managed to anger some uncompromising Marvel comics fans. They were most concerned about the fact that Kamala’s powers from comics play an integral role in her path of self-discovery, in how she leads life as a teenager, in her culture and her superhero personality. Although theoretically these themes may remain in the Disney+ series, some fans of the Miss Marvel comic believe that changing Kamala Khan’s abilities simply in accordance with the MCU detracts from the specifics of her character.
On a more basic level, some avid readers find favorite properties modified for film and television annoying, especially if it’s without what they consider a valid excuse. While most Marvel characters have very accurate translations with comic precision, Ms. Marvel’s power changes were extensive, which some found strange. However, regardless of how the changes were perceived by some comic book fans, the Miss Marvel show on Disney+ is already attracting a lot of positive feedback from MCU fans who are happy to see a new culturally different hero on their screens.
What does Miss Marvel’s Cosmic Power mean for the creation of Galactus
At the end of the first episode of “Miss Marvel”, Kamala lies on the bed and examines her bracelet. She has just learned about the power contained in it, and, smiling to herself, mutters one word under her breath — “Cosmic!”. This is far from a random adjective. In Marvel and MCU comics, cosmic energy is a very specific source of energy associated with a certain team of heroes and their main antagonist. As many astute viewers have noted, Kamala’s choice of words foreshadows not only the arrival of the Fantastic Four, but also potentially creates the next big MCU villain, Galactus. Galactus has not been confirmed as the antagonist who will replace Thanos as the main threat to the MCU, but many fans are hopeful.
The two current theories that are most popular are that Galactus or Kang the Conqueror will be the next main opponent of the Avengers. Although there is a lot of evidence for Kang as well, thanks to Loki, Ms. Marvel definitely makes the argument for the possible appearance of Galactus stronger. Galactus is certainly more recognized by viewers unfamiliar with comics than Kang, and there’s always the possibility that Kang could be some sort of mid-level boss for the Avengers, while Marvel is ramping up the anticipation for Galactus’ debut.
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The change of power is great for Kamala’s character, despite the doubts
Regardless of what the proponents of comic book purity think, Ms. Marvel’s power changes in the MCU make sense for her character. Firstly, Kamala got acquainted with comics at a time when Fox owned the rights to the X-Men, and Marvel was trying to nominate inhumans as their replacement. Ms. Marvel, along with characters such as Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur, were focused as gateway heroes for fans unfamiliar with inhumans. Then Kamala gained popularity on her own, and now Marvel/Disney has a license for the X-Men and there are no financial incentives to promote the Inhumans who have never been very popular.
It makes less and less sense for Ms. Marvel’s character to gain her powers with the help of Terrigen mists.
Even leaving aside the fact that Marvel Studios probably doesn’t want viewers to remember the existence of the disastrous ABC TV series “Inhumans,” the exchange of Terrigenesis for Kamala’s bracelets is not just an alternative origin, it’s the best. Family has always been an important topic in Miss Marvel’s stories, and the Disney+ series is no different. Miss Marvel, who received power from her grandmother’s bracelet, makes Kamala’s superheroism, family life and cultural heritage inextricably linked; a much more appropriate origin for the themes of the show, and it opens up much more opportunities to explore them than the fact that she is just a flexible non-human.
The True Power of Miss Marvel Adds Color and Life to the MCU Phase 4
Ms. Marvel was exceptionally well received by MCU fans online: no small feat considering she had significant shoes left behind by the hit “Moon Knight.” The target audience of “Miss Marvel” is mostly teenage girls, but Kamala’s adventures have resonated with fans of all genders, cultures and ages since the very first episode. There is also a good reason: Whether she stretches with or without purple energy, Ms. Marvel is an injection of color, excitement and vitality that was desperately lacking in the fourth phase of the MCU.
She is the first Phase 4 hero, new or returned, who doesn’t feel permanently unable to get away from Thanos and the events of Infinity War/Finale. While loneliness and inability to move on may be realistic for MCU characters, it turns out that it’s exhausting for viewers who are very ready for a post-Thanos world. As the opening scene of the first episode of Ms. Marvel’s “Mitchells vs. the Machines” shows, Kamala feels the same way about the last Avenger battle as real-world MCU viewers; they were cool, exciting, and she can’t stop admiring them (especially Captain Marvel).
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Kamala Khan is an MCU superhero who is just as excited about superheroes as the audience is—a performance that many fans didn’t know they needed until it came along. Kamala Khan is an invigorating presence for a Phase 4 that many consider pointless, and just like when she made her comic book debut less than a decade ago, it may be that Miss Marvel is an unexpected success story that propels the MCU forward.