As Marvel Studios’ series Ms. Marvel reaches its halfway point, it is clear that the show borrows quite a lot from Ms. Marvel comics. With Episode 1, we looked at how the series adapted from the comics the moment Kamala’s powers were activated; and for Episode 2 we delved into the comics’ and series’ introduction and handling so far of the character Kamran. This week, we take a different approach with Episode 3. While the episode incorporates many small references to the comics, arguably its most significant and intriguing inclusion lies far outside Ms. Marvel comics. Below, we look at how and why the Clandestines in Ms. Marvel were brought to life from ClanDestine comics.
Ms. Marvel’s Clandestines
The beginning of Episode 3, titled “Destined”, brought forth a lot of information supposedly explaining much of Kamala’s origin and background. Najma, Kamran’s mother and the woman Kamala had visions of, tells Kamala that she and Kamala’s great-grandmother Aishia were not human. Specifically, Najma claims that she and some others she appears to live with are actually Djinn, who were exiled from their home Noor dimension. She states that they are called many names, including Clandestines.
The explanation of who Djinn are that we get in Episode 3 of Ms. Marvel is pretty sparing. Kamala’s dad reads Bruno’s research, which says that Djinn are mythological beings of pre-Islamic folklore, sometimes referred to as genies. We also know from references throughout the series that Djinn seem to be viewed as demons to the superstitious, including Kamala.
There are still a lot of questions about the group, but they appear to be a patchwork group of loosely-related Djinn who live together. It is unclear if anyone is closely related other than Kamran and his mother, but there is a clear theme of family and belonging within the Clandestines which Najma uses to manipulate Kamala.
ClanDestine in the Comics
The Clandestines of Ms. Marvel are clearly influenced by the ClanDestine comics, although ClanDestine seems to provide minimal inspiration rather than being directly adapted into live-action. In the comics, ClanDestine is a large, kind of odd family comprised of the progeny of Adam Destine and a being named Elayath. All of their children inherited superhuman abilities of some kind. Adam himself is immortal and many of the children are decades or centuries apart in age.
The family primarily sought to operate in secret rather than identifying themselves as super-powered beings or superheroes, though certain members try to follow this path. ClanDestine stories in the comics are driven by family conflict, such as when Adam killed his son Victor because he believed he had become evil.
The clear connection that the makers of Ms. Marvel made to ClanDestine is that the matriarch, Elayath, is a Djinn. Adam freed her from a wizard that had trapped her in a jewel around 1200 A.D. In return, she granted him his immortality and invulnerability.
Why Would Ms. Marvel Adapt ClanDestine?
The comics’ ClanDestines and Ms. Marvel’s Clandestines seem extremely different in history, nature, and group members. The connection between the two seems to boil down simply to the name and the Djinn aspect. Even so, how the two groups incorporate Djinn is entirely different, as ClanDestine is a family descended from a single Djinn, whereas the Clandestines in the show appear to all be a type of being, known as Djinn, from another dimension.
Why would Marvel make this connection between an extremely obscure group from the comics and a very different group in live-action? It all likely comes down to the series attempting to give Kamala’s background and origin the same type of explanation as her Inhuman heritage in the comics. Everything in the series suggests that Marvel Studios wants to mimic Kamala’s comic story without invoking Inhumans. So, in Ms. Marvel, the Clandestines are a family-like group of super-powered, or at least mystical, beings that Kamala is related to in some way, similar to her relationship to Inhumans in the comics.
That connection is relatively obvious, but the series clearly wanted that familial theme to be tied to Kamala’s religious and cultural heritage. This leads, of course, to using beings of pre-Islamic folklore, Djinn, as an option to explain why Kamala is more than human. There is very little comic basis for this, but ClanDestine happens to already contain those essential elements of Kamala’s story in Ms. Marvel.
To be fair, Najma’s explanation of the Clandestines should be taken with a grain of salt given the fact that she is a clear villain and there is not much evidence yet to back up her claims. Still, Ms. Marvel certainly made a bold creative choice in adapting ClanDestine from the comics to build Kamala’s Khan’s story.
The first three episodes of Ms. Marvel are now streaming on Disney+.