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Ms. Marvel

Spider-Man Legends
by yo go re

Now that Billy Batson is rightly Shazam and Carol Danvers has moved up to Captain Marvel, Marvel needed a new Ms. Marvel - they didn't want to go through the same problems DC did. Granted, they're a much larger company now, so the odds of anyone other than them daring to publish a book called Ms. Marvel, let alone getting away with it, are incredibly slim; but still, better safe than sorry.

With shape-shifting powers and distinct Inhuman abilities, Kamala Khan becomes Ms. Marvel!

After witnessing Captain Marvel protecting civilians from attack, Kamala became a huge fan. Well, more of a fan; she was already the kind of kid who'd sit around at home on a Friday night writing Avengers fanfic (under the name "SlothBaby" - she totally ships "Spider-Marvel"), so it's not like she needed to be 40 feet from a superhero brawl to get hooked. Carol Danvers was everything Kamala wished she was: strong, conventionally beautiful, confident, helpful, unburdened by being Pakistani in a post-9/11 America and therefore treated as "different"... basically, Carol Danvers was Kamala's idea of what it's like to be "normal." So it's no surprise that after the Inhumans released a cloud of Terrigen Mist and she discovered she had powers, Kamala chose her supranym and her costume design in honor of Carol's history.

She does not wear the classic, politically incorrect costume, nor does she kick butt in giant wedge heels (as she claimed she would do, while her powers were first blossoming). Rather, her costume is a cute-but-modest blue dress over a red bodysuit, harkening back to the original Ms. Marvel look. The dress itself has gold trim and a large golden lightning bolt covering the entire front, a nod to Carol's swimsuit design. Well, technically this is still a swimsuit, since Kamala fashioned it out of a burkini her mother bought her, but you know what we mean. Carol's scarf-cum-sash is back to being just a scarf for Kamala, though it too has golden trim and there are star symbols at the ends. She wears a large golden cuff on her left wrist it's her version of a utility belt, originally used by her great-grandmother to smuggle money out of Bombay when the British pulled out.

Kamal means "perfection" in Arabic - her parents didn't think they would be able to have a second child, so when she was born, they loved her unreservedly just as she was. By the time we meet her in the comics, she's 16, so the toy is designed to look like a young girl, not an adult. She's lost the baby fat from her face, but it hasn't quite stretched out into adult proportions yet. Her mask is sculpted on, and her brown hair is a separate piece of PVC.

So, as we said: teen girl. And as such, teen girl body. The chest is definitely new, because it's molded with the triangular shoulders of her sleeves, and the lower torso is probably new too, because it needs to be slim enough for the dress to fit over. She still has all the usual articulation, which means she's stuck with those none-too-safe ankles. We really can't stress that enough: be careful moving her ankles. This figure isn't going to be easy to find (popular character + never had a toy before + one per case = big demand and fast sales), and we'd hate for you to break her. Hasbro really needs to do some re-engineering on the teen girl ankles, to make them stronger.

Ms. Marvel's Inhuman power is shape-changing. She can shrink, she can grow, she can look like other people... but mainly she uses it like Reed Richards, stretching her body (and at that, mainly her limbs). In order to show off her abilities, the figure comes with two swappable forearms: the right arm extends into a big open hand, while the left arm gets a massive fist. There's no wrist articulation in either, just the swivel/hinge elbows where they plug in, but that's acceptable. They look great when they're in place.

The figure also comes with piece of this series' Build-A-Figure, Sandman. She's the smallest, so she gets the chest. She also gets unique packaging, with her own logo on top of the box rather than a Spidey symbol. I guess because she's not a Spidey character?

It's no secret that the reason Marvel kept trying to make fetch happen with the Inhumans was so that they could have an X-Men-level property they could milk in other media without having to share with Fox. And yes, Ms. Marvel may be a product of that drive (and the need to protect a copyright), but that doesn't make her a bad character. If anything, she's proof that the plan could work, given enough time and creativity. Everybody loved Kamala Khan right away, to the point where she was fighting real-world fascists two years before seeing the sad wet dribble of white supremecy crying on TV made Nazi-punching fashionable again. Ms. Marvel is part of the new Marvel, and completely deserves a toy this good.

-- 03/06/17

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