Based on its heroine alone, Disney +’s six-episode miniseries Ms. Marvel seems to be a game-changer for fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kamala Khan, the next generation hero after whom the show is named, is not like any current MCU superstar – instead she’s just a teenager, a Avengers fan not unlike most of the people who watch. Or so she is, at least until she unlocks forces she did not even know she had. And once fans can see her go from fangirl to a freshly beaten icon, they will hunger for more. This is where we come in – with some comics you should read after falling in love with Ms. Marvel.
Ms. Marvel # 1-5 (2014)
The first story from the cartoon’s incarnation of the character may not be directly related to the show – she has different powers and a different origin story – but this is where Kamala’s heart and soul on screen come from, with G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona creates someone who is a little more scratchy, a little less perfect and a lot more human than the heroes fans had gotten used to. Think of it as an update to the classic Spider-Man formula that stays even more focused on the right person in the costume.
Ms. Marvel # 16-19 (2015)
Central to Ms. Marvel in both her cartoon and TV incarnations is the world she lives in; more than most Marvel heroes, she is largely a product of her environment and a defender of those she loves. So what happens when that world goes under and she can do nothing to stop it? The menacing comic book story Secret wars is the backdrop to “Last Days” where the end of the world really is is close, forcing Kamala to come to terms with a lot of hard truths, meet an unexpected enemy at the last minute… and meet her hero, Captain Marvel, just to increase her stress.
Ms. Marvel # 25-28 (2017-2018)
Of course, the doom of the world was not the end of the story, and years later Kamala has disappeared, just when she is most needed. Who can step forward in this difficult time? The answer demonstrates the impact that Mrs Marvel – and individually Kamala Khan – has had on those around her, and provides an unlikely but absolutely charming moment in the whole circle of her story, as the fangirl comes to reckon with the reality that she has even become the subject of fandom. Who will save the day when Kamala can not? All she is inspired by is just being herself, that’s who.
The All-New All-Different Avengers # 1-6 (2015)
It was only a matter of time before Mrs. Marvel came to play in the larger Marvel universe, and Brand new All-Different Avengers-a title launched in the wake of the aforementioned Secret wars story – brought her face to face with some of the greatest characters Marvel had at the time, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Miles Morales’ version of Spider-Man. Was she too impressed by them to win her place on the team, or does she just turn out to be even more amazing as a result of what is happening? Spoilers: It’s not the former. Think of this as a prelude to what will happen when Kamala meets her heroes on screen.
Ms. Marvel: Bottled Up Infinity Comic # 1 (2022)
The current cartoon incarnation of Kamala Khan has just completed a series – the multidimensional Ms. Marvel: Beyond the Limit– and is preparing to appear in a three-part story over the summer that will pair her with Wolverine, Moon Knight and Venom, respectively. (See, she will almost certainly be able to hold out against each and every one of them if it comes to a fight that we still doubt she would let happen.) In the meantime, she shows up in this digital- only once that can also be one of her most charming appearances to date. Written by YA author Samira Ahmed with art by Ramon Bachs, Bottled is a joyful low-effort frolic with magic demons and a reminder that Kamala Khan deep down is a hero who takes care of the little guys. Especially those who have eaten too much chocolate. It’s a treasure, just like Kamala itself.