20 most upbeat superhero stories

11 of 21

Cover of Ms. Marvel #4 (Image via Marvel)

11. Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan)

Revamping Ms. Marvel was bound to be something of a touchy subject. The former Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers, had moved on to duties as the current Captain Marvel, leaving the position vacated. While open superhero names aren’t like job listings waiting to be filled, the editors at Marvel felt that it was time to introduce a new character to the title.

This also proved to be a good opportunity to introduce some diversity into the world of Marvel. Until more recent times, superheroes were, more often than not, exceedingly white. To the casual or even intense comics fan, it often seemed as if there was simply no room for many people of color in big-name comics.

The X-Men were perhaps the best in terms of racial diversity, what with Storm, Bishop, and Jubilee, among others, but representation was still awkwardly stunted. Needless to say, there wasn’t great representation for people with regards to religion, culture, and gender, either.

So, while G. Willow Wilson’s Kamala Khan — a young girl who’s Pakistani-American and definitely Muslim — fulfills that representation, Ms. Marvel doesn’t do so merely in order to tick a series of boxes. Kamala, who gains superpowers after coming across the mutagenic Terrigen Mists, is also awkward, insightful, complex, and funny. Seriously, at one point she battles a villain who is the result of a botched cloning job — which gives him the head of a cockatiel.