Ms. Marvel: Hit or Miss?
To be honest, I’m sort of conflicted about the new Ms. Marvel show on Disney+. My first impression of the show was that other than the name and Muslim heritage, this is not Ms. Marvel. They’ve taken the whole creative license thing to a new level on this one. I’ve accepted a lot of story changes in terms of comic book characters adapted to TV and movies. Extensive history and stories created for different periods At least keep the core of the character accurate though. This annoyed me. The story by itself isn’t bad if you have no idea who the character is. If you’re going to do what they are doing, you might as well create a whole new character though.
It’s time to do a little comic history again. The current Ms. Marvel was not widely known outside of actual comic fans until this show. The original Ms. Marvel is well known now but she currently goes by Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers). Kamala is actually the 4th person to go by Ms. Marvel. She has Inhuman genes that were triggered during a Marvel storyline which lead to a number of others with the same heritage gaining abilities. Her primary ability is similar to that of Mr. Fantastic in that she can stretch parts of her body out. She can also alter her general size as well other related powers. She has joined up with other young heroes who took on the name of an old Marvel super-hero team, The Champions.
Now, let’s go to the TV show. Kamala is no longer an Inhuman. Part of her heritage comes instead from interdimensional beings called jinn. (This word is also related or translated to djinn or genie in other medium.) Her abilities are activated when she puts on a magical bracelet passed down by her grandmother which awaken an ability to create hard light objects that she can fight with, protect herself with, or walk on. She has created extensions of her hand or fist a couple times that recreated somewhat how her elastic abilities have worked in the comics, but it’s still not the same. So far, she has been wearing a cosplay version of Captain Marvel’s costume but she seems to be gathering parts of what will be her version of the outfit she wears in the comics now. As you can see, this is a very different character than from the comics. I’m not sure if they were lazy and wanted to use a Muslim character but not CGI stretching abilities or if they just wanted to write a whole different character but use a known name. Either way, it’s pretty lame to me.
Now, I did say I was conflicted about the show and have been pretty negative about it so far. If I walked into the show with no idea about the character at all, it would probably be a fun show. The characters are interesting and the relationships are fun. It comes off as something you’d expect of a standard Disney production more than a Marvel show like Hawkeye or Moon Knight. This isn’t a bad thing, but the main focus is on the younger characters and the show seems targeted at that age range. The idea of the show is a nice concept and would be great for an original character. I just wish they hadn’t changed an existing one so drastically. It is good to see more variation in characters being presented though. There are few Muslim heroes in Marvel and DC and this is the first to actually get her own show. This is a major step forward and is definitely despite some of the backlash there has been regarding the use of a Muslim character. (One Facebook group that’s fairly ignorant about the character protested her claiming she was gay and replacing Carol Danvers, neither of which is true.) I do plan to finish watching the show and will try to set aside my misgivings regarding the accuracy to enjoy it for what it is. I’d definitely say that it’s worth checking out.