During San Diego Comic-Con 2023, Marvel Comics announced a new upcoming series featuring the return of the beloved Muslim superhero Ms. Marvel, also known as Kamala Khan. Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant will be co-written by Iman Vellani, the actress who portrays Kamala in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in collaboration with Sabir Pirzada, who worked on the show and also penned the recent Dark Web: Ms. Marvel miniseries. Carlos Gómez and Adam Gorham will provide the artwork.
In this week’s X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023 comic book, it will be revealed that Ms. Marvel is in fact a mutant and an Inhuman — but that her mutant DNA makes her eligible to be resurrected by the X-Men’s Krakoan technology, after she was randomly killed off two months ago in a very high-profile story that angered a lot of people.
To be fair, superhero deaths and resurrections are not uncommon. But Ms. Marvel’s death still sparked a lot of unique ire and controversy. Even with the assumption that she would be returning sooner than later — the character is scheduled to appear in the upcoming The Marvels movie, due out in November — many fans were still understandably irritated that a new-ish female character who is both a Muslim and a person of color would be so abruptly murdered in another character’s comic book. Leading up to her death, Ms. Marvel had had a few cameos in recent issues Amazing Spider-Man in her identity as Kamala Khan, and it was in that comic where she died. To some people, her death served as yet-another example of the infamous comic book trope known as “fridging,” where a woman is killed for no other reason than to further the plot and emotional anguish of a male character.
When she first appeared in the comics, Ms. Marvel’s origin story tied her to the Inhumans — a genetic offshoot of humanity, whose biological potential for superhuman abilities was the result of ancient alien experimentation. This makes them different from the Mutants of the Marvel Universe, which are humans who possess a random mutation known as an X-Gene.
That might sound like splitting hairs — doesn’t that mean they both just have a weird genetic trait that can be used as an in-story shortcut to make characters manifest random superpowers without the need for any complicated origin stories? In short…well, yes. For most of the 20th century, however, mutants and Inhumans were kept pretty separate within the larger Marvel Universe, with the Inhumans typically living on the moon and showing up randomly in the cosmic adventures of the Avengers and Fantastic Four.
But then come a major plot twist, right here in the real world. Marvel had filed for bankruptcy in the mid-90s, and in order to get some cash flowing in, the company sold off the film and TV rights for some of their properties — including the X-Men characters, which were bought by Fox, who launched a successful series of movies. Eventually, Marvel launched its own film division using the TV/movie IP that it still owned. While Marvel couldn’t legally use the X-Men in their movies, they could use the Inhumans. And while Marvel had a financial incentive to continue publishing X-Men comics, they also realized that, by doing so, they were inadvertently providing free advertising for their competitor’s movie franchise. So Marvel quietly shifted their publishing initiatives, shunting the X-Men off into their own little corner of the universe, while trying to elevate the profile of the comic book Inhumans — including the introduction of new characters, such as Ms. Marvel.
This led to some terrible comic books pitting the mutants versus the Inhumans, as well as the absolute worst MCU television series about the Inhumans that no one remembers, for good reason.
More recently, Marvel finally got the IP rights to the X-Men characters back in their own hands, with Professor Xavier making a high-profile cameo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. During the Ms. Marvel TV series on Disney+, the character’s origins were changed from their original Inhuman roots — and at the very end of the series, the concept of “mutant” was brought up for the first time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in reference to Kamala Khan.
Which is a long way of saying … Marvel basically killed off Ms. Marvel for a movie tie-in opportunity, ignoring the unfortunate racial and gendered undertones of the situation for the sake of IP synchronicity.
Anyway, the new Ms. Marvel series (featuring her as a mutant and Inhuman) launches next month, and it does look as delightful as ever. The Marvels movie is out in November, and hey, that looks fun, too. It’s also kind of neat that the actress playing the character gets a crack at writing the comics, too.