Two episodes into Ms. Marvel, viewers are left with more questions than answers about Kamala Khan’s powers and their origin. Much of this stems from the fact that the series has seemingly overhauled the superhero’s origin from the comics, and plenty of debate on that has ensued. Of course, any significant change from the comics for any character will ruffle some feathers, but Ms. Marvel is demonstrating why it can be a positive thing. While we are still learning how Kamala’s story will play out, the changes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far have some obvious advantages.
There is no dancing around the fact that Kamala does not appear to be Inhuman like she is in the comics. There are countless rumors that theorize how she will ultimately be revealed as Inhuman, but there are countless others that support what the series has shown so far—the Inhuman aspect is not in play. Still, Kamala’s story looks like it will still bring many of those important aspects but also improve on them. The familial history and heritage aspects are still intact in Ms. Marvel. It is crystal clear that whatever her powers’ origin is, it is tied to her ancestors. The series may be actually taking this a step further in the sense that Kamala’s Pakistani and Muslim background drives that journey. While in the comics she was connected to a larger, well-known super-group, in the MCU she may learn she is part of a larger group or family that is more closely tied to her culture that is front and center for Kamala in Ms. Marvel anyway.
No matter your preference on Kamala’s new “hard light” powers versus her comics version’s embiggening abilities, her MCU powers are still inherently Kamala. When early rumors and news came out that her bangle would be the source of her powers, there was some reasonable concern over the concept of Kamala not actually possessing powers of her own. But the second episode of Ms. Marvel whisked away those fears when Bruno confirmed that the powers stem from Kamala and that the bangle seemed to simply activate them.
But perhaps the greatest upgrade her power change relates to Ms. Marvel’s story. In the age of a hyper-connected universe, it is easy for an individual story or plot to get lost in the greater scheme of the MCU. But here, her unknown origin is driving a mystery that so far is a driving force in the alluring nature of the main story of the series. By dissolving the foundation laid by the comics, the MCU opened up space for the growth of new ideas. For an MCU series, new ideas mean fans have far fewer resources to predict how Ms. Marvel will actually play out. The overhaul of Kamala’s super-powered origin leaves a mystery-filled space that keeps both hardcore comic book readers and casual fans on edge to learn more. It arguably makes for a more engaging and better series, and it allows viewers to speculate and theorize more than they would have been able to if her background closely mirrored the comics.
Overall, the loss of Kamala’s embiggening powers will always leave a sour taste in many fans’ mouths. Without discounting that, there is still reason to be optimistic about where the changes will lead Ms. Marvel and affect Kamala in the series and in her MCU future. In the long term, it may open up an entirely new corner of the MCU or connect Kamala to the universe in a way that transcends the comics. In the short term, it may help Ms. Marvel be a phenomenal standalone series.
The first two episodes of Ms. Marvel are now streaming on Disney+.