With the premiere of Ms. Marvel on Disney+ on June 8, Twitter and I can lastly breathe a sigh of aid: Kamala Khan is the superhero we have been ready for.
After I first realized that Kamala Khan would hit the small display as Ms. Marvel, my pleasure was shortly adopted by nervousness. As an Indian American Muslim girl, I used to be uncomfortably acquainted with how South Asians and Muslims — and our tradition — haven’t at all times been portrayed in the perfect mild on tv. The primary episode of Ms. Marvel is a pleasing shock, superbly weaving in features of South Asian tradition and Islam into Khan’s every day life.
And the web agrees.
Kamala Khan, a Pakistani American teen from New Jersey, is Marvel’s first Muslim superhero. Obsessed with the Avengers, Khan is bullied in school and reprimanded at home for daydreaming too much about superheroes. After she discovers that she has superpowers of her own, Khan chooses to become Ms. Marvel: a spin on Khan’s favorite superhero, Captain Marvel.
She makes this discovery while attending an Avengers convention, in which Khan incorporates her Nani’s (grandmother’s) bangle into her Captain Marvel costume. A piece of her Pakistani heritage, the bangle leads to the pivotal moment of Khan realizing her superpower of harnessing cosmic energy to throw discs and stretch her limbs.
Hearing the way Khan’s mother spoke to her daughter in Urdu, gently nudging her to leave by saying “chalo” (“let’s go” or “walk”) and affectionately calling Bruno, Khan’s best friend, beta (“son,” but also a term of endearment towards children by elders), made me feel so much affection toward her and her family.
So many scenes hit close to home. For starters, Khan’s older brother, Aamir, shares the same first name as my younger brother. When Khan goes shopping with her mother for Pakistani clothes and jewelry, I felt nostalgic for the days my mom and I would go shopping around Jackson Heights, Queens, a neighborhood known for its large South Asian population. While Khan’s mother gossiping with an “aunty” in the Pakistani clothing store gave me painful flashbacks of Indian aunties and their unprovoked comments, I appreciated the solidarity. The scene where Khan is begging her parents to go to an event at night? Been there, done that.
While I still wish that I could’ve had a Ms. Marvel to look up to when I was younger, I’m glad that South Asian and Muslim teens will finally get to see a superhero that looks like them.