With Ms. Marvel’s Episode 6 and finale, entitled “No Normal”, the series’ connection to Ms. Marvel comics continues to be present, in both major and subtle ways. In Episode 1, we looked at how the series adapted from the comics the moment Kamala’s powers were activated; for Episode 2 we delved into the comics’ and series’ introduction and handling so far of the character Kamran; in Episode 3 we looked at the interesting source material for the series’ villains, the Clandestines; and in Episode 4 we went into how Red Daggers were introduced and how they compare to the comics’ Red Dagger. As for Episode 5, following our dive into Kamala’s ancestors during Partition, we also looked at some Bruno-centric plotlines the series may have invoked or started.
The finale had numerous references to Ms. Marvel comics, particularly its first 2014 run, though with plenty of references to the 2015 run as well. Like last week, this week will feature two From Page to Screen entries. In this article, we focus on two of the most obvious and major connections—Kamala’s powers and her Ms. Marvel mantle.
Those maybe less familiar with Ms. Marvel comics may have been caught slightly off guard when Kamala, seemingly out of nowhere, says, “embiggen” before using her light powers to essentially construct a massive version of herself. Now, “embiggen” is not its own word capable of ascertaining much meaning outside of Kamala in the comics. As we’ve discussed before, the power changes made from comics Ms.Marvel to live-action Ms. Marvel were significant. In the comics, her powers were called embiggening. In the DIsney+ series, we know that she summons power from the Noor Dimension to create hard light constructs.
As different as those two power sets are, the series clearly has tried to link the two in some ways. When Kamala stretches her light constructs in a way that looks like an extended arm and fist, it invokes her embiggening powers in the comics. The live-action version of “embiggen” was Kamala’s use of her powers to essentially grow herself into a much more formidable and in-control being. While the seemingly abrupt “embiggen” did not make a ton of sense in the context of the show, it was one of the biggest pieces of fan service that anyone familiar with comics Ms. Marvel would have cheered at.
One of the mysteries of Ms. Marvel was how Kamala would end up with the name of “Ms. Marvel”. In the comics, Carol Danvers had previously used the moniker, and that was essentially the whole story. In live-action, Carol Danvers was always only Captain Marvel. Many fan theories suggested that the name would come from something family-based, as the show’s themes focused heavily on that topic. Moreover, names like “Ms. Marvel” are becoming a bit outdated now, so it would need to be something personal and loving.
And indeed the answer came in the finale that Kamala’s parents apparently nicknamed her “Ms. Marvel” as a young girl, based on the rough/expansive meaning of “Kamala.” An Arabic name, “Kamala” translates to “perfection”, which Kamala’s father tells her in Ms. Marvel #5 (2014). In Ms. Marvel, that same conversation takes place, though her dad expands upon it. He suggests that the “perfection” translation does not quite do it justice and that it also meant “marvel.” “Ms. Marvel” became a pet name from her parents, and Kamala seized on the opportunity to share the same name with Carol Danvers.
Ms. Marvel is now streaming exclusively on Disney+.