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Marvel introduces female Muslim superhero

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 5 2013 3:40 p.m. MST

This comic book image released by Marvel Comics shows character Kamala Khan , second left, with her family Aamir, father Yusuf, mother Disha and friend Bruno, from the "Ms. Marvel" issue. The new monthly Ms. Marvel is debuting as part of the Company’s popular All-New Marvel NOW! initiative.

AP Photo/Marvel Comics

There's a new Ms. Marvel in town.

Kamala Kahn is about to discover that she has superhuman powers, and she is going to use them to defeat evil in a new series from Marvel Comics.

Kamala is a Muslim girl from Jersey City. The teenager discovers she has powers, including the ability to shapeshift, and takes on the former code name of Carol Danvers. G. Willow Wilson, a convert to Islam, is writing the books.

"Captain Marvel represents an ideal that Kamala pines for,” Wilson told the New York Times. "She’s strong, beautiful and doesn’t have any of the baggage of being Pakistani and 'different.' The series is about the universal experience of all American teenagers, feeling kind of isolated and finding what they are."

In 2011 Marvel famously introduced Miles Morales, a half-black, half-Hispanic teen who would be stepping into the Spidey suit. The choice led to mixed reactions from fans, but the books have sold well.

"Score another one for Marvel as far as making an effort to diversify," Andy Hunsaker of Crave Online wrote. "In addition to giving more female-led books a shot — with new titles from 'She-Hulk,' 'Elektra' and 'Black Widow' on the horizon alongside 'Captain Marvel,' 'Fearless Defenders' and 'X-Men.' Let's just hope the series is good, and that it gets the support it needs."

Kelly Sue DeConnick writes the new Captain Marvel books, and she has turned Carol Danvers into a formidable foe.

"Over the last year, DeConnick has taken Danvers and turned her into the one of the most powerful, complex and unbreakable heroes in the Marvel universe," Alexander Abad-Santos wrote at The Atlantic Wire. "(In the first "Captain Marvel" comic, Danvers is quick to remind a villain, along with the audience, that she outranks Captain America.) And in doing that, Danvers has become one of the most popular heroes among women (and men) and proved the 'women don't read comics' and 'men aren't interested in stories about female superheroes' tropes are wrong."

This trend hasn't gotten to the big screen quite yet: There aren't any superhero movies in the works that feature female leads. However, the female characters in the movies about men have been getting increasingly larger parts with more important roles to play.

"You can look at what Jane Foster does in ('Thor: The Dark World')," Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige told The Mary Sue. "Look at Pepper Potts literally saving the day and defeating the bad guy in 'Iron Man 3,' and I’d say we already have great female heroes that are showcased and play major roles in our universe now. 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier,' as you will see, features Black Widow in her biggest role yet in any of our films.

Email: ataylor@deseretnews.com

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