Welcome back to another installment of From Page to Screen. Last week we looked at how Marvel Studios’ Ms. Marvel adapted Kamala’s power-activation moment from Ms. Marvel comics in the series’ first episode. Episode 2, titled “Crushed,” is another example of how Ms. Marvel is taking quite a bit of inspiration from its comics origins. Looking at the comics, the story arc featured in Ms. Marvel #13-15 is also entitled “Crushed” and they have one major thing in common—Kamala’s crush Kamran. The character of Kamran played an important role in Kamala Khan’s early days as a superhero in the comics and is also clearly going to be a significant force in driving the series’ plot forward.
In both iterations of the character, Kamala falls head over heels for Kamran practically the second she sets eyes on him—sometimes that just happens. In the comics, he is a family friend who is visiting. In the series, however, Kamala meets him for the first time at school but otherwise does not know much about him. In any event, both page and screen Kamala find themselves enamored over Kamran, whom they share countless interests with on top of having in common similar life experiences. In the comics, the two bond over some wild coincidences in their lives, but in both comics and series, Kamala and Kamran have impassioned discussions over Bollywood movies and stars.
Interestingly enough, Aamir serves to interrupt the two’s first meeting/hangout in every version of the story. In the comics, he chaperoned the two on a walk but butted in when it looked like the two were about to hold hands. In Episode 2, Aamir arrives at a similar time to ruin the mood, but he does not actually know Kamran (yet) in live-action other than through this encounter. It is then also Aamir who first causes Bruno to admit he has feelings for Kamala. On both page and screen, Bruno is clearly jealous of Kamala’s interest in Kamran. In the comics, Aamir tells Bruno that he and Kamala could never work, and this is the first time in the Ms. Marvel comic that Bruno’s romantic interest in Kamala is made explicit. In the series, Kamala and Bruno’s relationship is sure to go down that path, and Kamran may just be the spark Bruno needs to figure out his own feelings and maybe someday make a move.
But what happens next with Kamran in the comics is where the series’ adaptation will be most interesting. In the comics, Kamran reveals himself as an Inhuman to Kamala (whose comic iteration is also Inhuman) and shows her his powers. Kamala is shocked but also intrigued at yet another—and major—thing the two have in common. In Ms. Marvel, Kamran’s reveal was left as the cliffhanger at the end of Episode 2. Like in the comics, he clearly knew that Kamala was the masked, super-powered person dressed like Captain Marvel. He also introduces Kamala to his mother, who was the mysterious woman Kamala kept seeing in her bangle-induced visions. It is safe to say that Kamran may have some powers of his own given the connection, but we have yet to see any.
It is easy to guess how the car conversation plays out. But first, it is fun to mention that Kamran essentially picks her up and kidnaps her in his car in both the comics and the series. But in the comics, Kamran is a member of an Inhuman faction that believes Inhumans should take their place as the superior beings on Earth and overthrow the existing Inhuman order. In short, he is a henchman for a group of villainous Inhumans who want to take over the world. He believes he can recruit Kamala for the cause, even if our superhero is not convinced by the evil rhetoric. At the end of the day, Kamran is a significant villain Kamala must ultimately defeat in the early days of being a superhero.
Kamran will certainly play some version of that role in Ms. Marvel. But with the absence of Inhumans, it will surely be a bit different. What might end up being the same, however, is the general theme of superior heritage—Kamran and his mother may very likely tell Kamala who she is in terms of where she got her powers from, tell her they come from the same lineage or have the same genes, and then pitch to her that they are superior to other people and should live up to that “destiny.” It is a strong storyline that would allow the series to utilize the comics extensively, but also use it to advance Kamala’s family history mystery and force Kamala to grapple with her own identity and who she or what she is meant to become.
In conclusion, while the Inhuman Problem (the lack of Inhumans in Ms. Marvel) throws a wrench in adapting the comics, the live-action series is actually doing quite an exemplary job of accurately translating Ms. Marvel’s pages to the screen. As stated before, live-action Kamran comes straight from Ms. Marvel #13-15, and “Crushed” certainly looks like a story arc that the series intends to play out.
The first two episodes of Ms. Marvel are now streaming on Disney+.