Ms. Marvel has debuted on Disney+, and it’s packed full of nods and references to both the MCU and Marvel Comics.
The MCU’s Phase 4 shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Moon Knight introduced Marc Spector to the live-action universe and now Ms. Marvel is following a similar path, bringing Kamala Khan to life for the first time on the small screen. The first episode of her new show aired yesterday–alongside a new Obi-Wan Kenobi episode–and was jam packed with nods, references, and Easter Eggs to both the MCU at large and the comics she sprang from. See, unlike Marc, Kamala is very, very tapped into the world of superheroes. She’s been paying attention to the exploits of the Avengers for as long as we have, following their moves, charting their adventures–even making a whole YouTube channel dedicated to explaining them.
This, of course, makes Kamala unique in the MCU–she’s our first ever look at the way fandom works in the MCU. Sure, we may have seen things at a distance in the past–museum exhibits, public events, and so on–but in Ms. Marvel Episode 1, we get to see a full-on superhero fan convention. It’s safe to say that superheroes are as loved within the MCU as they are outside of it.
We’ve cataloged some little details in this episode you may have missed–let us know what your favorites are, or if there’s something we missed! New episodes of Ms. Marvel drop on Disney+ every Wednesday.
1.) Kamala Khan, fangirl
When Kamala was introduced in the comics back in 2014, one of her most immediately recognizable features was the fact that she was a superhero who was herself a fan of superheroes. She had grown up in a world where the Avengers were running around and she had formed some pretty strong opinions about them in her free time. That part of her character has obviously carried over to the TV show, where she runs a social media platform dedicated to the Avengers and their exploits in the MCU.
2.) Scott’s podcast
How does Kamala know as much as she does about the Avengers? Well, in part, because Scott Lang has a podcast series apparently. “Big Me Little Me” produced by This American Life-riff “This Powered Life.” We’re not surprised.
3.) Sloth Baby Productions
Kamala’s channel is called Sloth Baby Productions, a nod to her deep love of sloths in the comics–which can also be seen in some of her doodles as well. Kamala herself was even jokingly called SlothBaby at one point in the comics.
4.) Mr. Wilson
Kamala’s guidance counselor, Mr. Wilson, shares a last name–and initials–with her comics co-creator, G. Willow Wilson. Wilson is also name-dropped along with Ms. Marvel’s other co-creators on the plaque outside of Kamala’s high school.
5.) Captain Marvel(s)
Kamala’s doodles are filled with alternate versions of Captain Marvel, most of which have never actually shown up in the MCU–though at AvengersCon we do see a handful of alternate costumes for Carol on display, which begs the question where those costumes came from and why people know about them.
6.) Some idealized cosplays
Kamala’s fantasy versions of her costume (and Bruno’s costume) are a bit more impressive than the real thing–but are surprisingly accurate to both Carol Danvers and Tony Stark, right down to the superhero landing.
7.) A new origin
In the comics, Kamala’s powers come from latent Inhuman DNA that is awakened with the Terragin Mists. In the show, things are a bit different. Kamala’s abilities come from a bracelet passed down to her by her grandmother–along with her costume’s iconic bright red scarf. We don’t know yet where the bracer came from or how it got its powers.
8.) AvengersCon at Camp Lehigh
The first ever AvengersCon is a pretty far cry from something attendees of SDCC or NYCC would recognize, but the spirit of the comic book convention is clearly alive and well in the MCU–just look at all the merch, fanart, and cosplay packed into this warehouse. The location also happens to be Camp Lehigh, where Steve Rogers was first trained to take part in the Captain America experiment.
9.) Thanks for your sacrifice
Apparently people have learned about Black Widow’s death as well as Iron Man’s, because she’s featured on the tribute wall at AvengersCon. It’s not clear who would have told the public about her demise, given it happened on another planet, but word definitely got out one way or another.
10.) New powers, kind of
Kamala’s abilities may no longer be “embiggening” her limbs and stretching them out, but she has the ability to functionally do the same thing with light constructs, which we see when she makes a giant hand to catch Zoe.
11.) The DDC
The Department of Damage Control, first introduced in Spider-Man Homecoming and then featured in a larger capacity in Spider-Man: No Way Home, are here and they’re investigating Kamala’s new powers.