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Tuesday, April 9, 2024

After 'Ms. Marvel,' Read These 5 Comics

Based on its heroine alone, Disney+’s six-episode miniseries Ms. Marvel is looking like it might be a game-changer for fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kamala Khan, the next-generation hero the show is named after, isn’t like any current MCU superstar—instead, she’s just a teenager, an Avengers fan not unlike most of the people watching. Or at least she is until she unlocks powers she didn’t even know she had. And once fans get to see her go from fangirl to newly minted icon, they’ll be hungry for more. That’s where we come in—with some comics you should read after falling in love with Ms. Marvel.

Ms. Marvel #1-5 (2014)

The first storyline from the comic book incarnation of the character might not map directly onto the show—she has different powers, for one thing, and a different origin story—but this is where the on-screen Kamala’s heart and soul come from, with G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona creating someone a little scrappier, a little less perfect, and a lot more human than the heroes fans had grown used to. Think of it as an update to the classic Spider-Man formula that stays even more focused on the real person inside the costume.

Buy on Amazon 🇬🇧Buy on Amazon 🇺🇸Ms. Marvel #16-19 (2015)

Central to Ms. Marvel in both her comic book and television incarnations is the world she lives in; more than most Marvel heroes, she’s very much a product of her environment and a defender of those she loves. So what happens when that world is going to end and she can’t do anything to stop it? The looming comic book storyline Secret Wars is the backdrop for “Last Days,” in which the end of the world really is nigh, forcing Kamala to come to terms with a lot of hard truths, face off against an unexpected last-minute enemy … and meet her hero, Captain Marvel, just to add to her stress.

Buy on Amazon 🇬🇧Buy on Amazon 🇺🇸Ms. Marvel #25-28 (2017-2018)

Of course, the end of the world wasn’t the end of the story, and years later Kamala has gone missing just when she’s needed the most. Who can step up in this time of trouble? The answer demonstrates the kind of impact Ms. Marvel—and, separately, Kamala Khan—has had on those around her, and provides an unlikely but entirely charming full-circle moment to her story, as the fangirl gets to reckon with the reality that she’s become the object of fandom herself. Who’s going to save the day when Kamala can’t? Everyone she’s inspired by just being herself, that’s who.

Buy on Amazon 🇬🇧Buy on Amazon 🇺🇸The All-New All-Different Avengers #1-6 (2015)

It was only a matter of time before Ms. Marvel got to play in the larger Marvel Universe, and All-New All-Different Avengers—a title that launched in the aftermath of the aforementioned Secret Wars storyline—brought her face-to-face with some of the biggest characters Marvel had at the time, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man. Was she too awed by them to earn her place on the team, or does she only prove to be even more amazing as a result of what happens? Spoilers: It’s not the former. Think of this as a prelude to what’ll happen when the on-screen Kamala gets to meet her heroes.

Buy on Amazon 🇬🇧Buy on Amazon 🇺🇸Ms. Marvel: Bottled Up Infinity Comic #1 (2022)

The current comics incarnation of Kamala Khan has just finished one series—the multidimensional Ms. Marvel: Beyond the Limit—and is prepping to appear in a three-part story over the summer that will pair her with Wolverine, Moon Knight, and Venom, respectively. (Look, she’ll almost certainly be able to hold her own against each one of them, if it comes to a fight, which we doubt she’d let happen, anyway.) In the meantime, she’s showing up in this digital-only one-off that also might be one of her most charming appearances to date. Written by YA author Samira Ahmed with art by Ramon Bachs, Bottled Up is a joyful low-stakes romp with magical demons and a reminder that, at heart, Kamala Khan is a hero who looks out for the little guys. Especially the ones who have eaten too much chocolate. It’s a treasure, just like Kamala herself.

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