According to series author Iman Vellani, her upcoming Marvel Comics series Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant will not only explore the titular heroine’s new genetic identity, but also show readers “why she’s such a timeless character”.
In an obvious and tired attempt to foster synergy between the her comic book and Marvel Cinematic Universe incarnations, the recent events seen within the pages of Zeb Wells’ absolutely abysmal run on Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 6 and the X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023 one-shot have culminated in the reveal that Ms. Marvel is not just an Inhuman, but also an official, X-Gene carrying Mutant.
With this retcon being both fairly new and having occurred during the opening salvo of Orchis’ attack on Mutantkind, the young Kamala Khan has not yet had the opportunity to come to terms with her latest power upgrade.
However, thanks to actress Iman Vellani – who many may better know for portraying Ms. Marvel in her solo Disney Plus series and the upcomung The Marvels – Khan will finally confront her new life circumstances within the pages of her new comic book series, Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant.
Of course, Kamala herself is not the only one to be dealing with new and unknown territory, as this series will also serve as Vellani’s first foray into the world of comic book writing.
“The comic book process was actually pretty intimidating for me. I hold so much reverence for the creative process and the talent behind them,” she recalled while speaking to Marvel in promotion of the series. “I felt so pressured to make something good and represent Ms. Marvel in a way that was true to the path paved by G. Willow Wilson and Sana [Amanat]. That was kind of scary, but I had such a great co-writer, Sabir Pirzada, who also worked on the show.”
To this end, the actress-slash-first-time-comic-book-writer then turned her attentions to the book itself, explaining, “I think the story is a really good representation of what Ms. Marvel stands for, what sets her apart from other heroes, why she’s such a timeless character.”
“I wanted to use this opportunity to highlight everything I love about this character and about her comics and her ability as a Super Hero,” said Vellani. “Hopefully, that does come across in some form or another in our book. Yeah, it’s been a huge, wonderful learning process for me.”
Speaking to her excitement in being able to chart out Kamala’s path as a Mutant, the actress then exclaimed, ” It is a big deal! And how cool that she’s a big enough character for this change to matter so much!”
“The uproar on social media after it was announced was crazy, but so exciting for me that so many people cared, and obviously they hadn’t read the story at this point, so they are not one to judge right now,” she recalled.
“But I was so excited, because being a mutant is just—I mean, I never really read a lot of the X-Men comics; I will say that,” Vellani then admitted. “That was really scary for me, because I was just deep diving on everything X-Men, finding my favorite characters. Grant Morrison and [Jonathan] Hickman’s runs were basically my textbooks throughout this entire thing.
“I think it was just so fun to explore this different side of her, because for Kamala, she’s already dealt with so many different labels,” she detailed. “She’s been an Avenger, she’s been an Inhuman, a Champion, Pakistani, Muslim. She starts off thinking that being a mutant is just another label to add to the list, and it doesn’t really change anything because she’s always had the X-gene, so it doesn’t really matter. Little does she realize that this new suit, the new colors, they bear so much more weight than she was expecting.”
Later pressed by Marvel for her thoughts on being given the chance “to help define this critical piece of her history?”, the actress would reply with the simple declaration, “Dude, it’s powerful.”
“It’s so cool to be able to contribute to the actual Marvel Comics canon and this next phase for her, because it’s a really big deal,” she told the publisher. “I thought that they were going to give me a cute little miniseries or a one-shot and just, you know, ‘Go ahead, do your thing.’ And they were like, ‘No, she’s a mutant, and you’re dealing with the aftermath.’ I was like, ‘Oh my God! This is a lot more pressure and it’s way too late to back out now!’
“But yeah, I’m so well-supported and I’ve always been fascinated by the comic book making process,” Vellani further detailed of her experience as a fledgling comic book writer. “I would listen to a lot of podcasts—Women of Marvel was a big one—and just seeing it firsthand is like… I can’t describe it as anything else than magical.”
“It’s also so surreal the fact the words that I’m writing I wrote in my childhood bedroom and now people are going to read it in their homes,” she continued. “It’s a much more personal thing. You’re working with a team of barely ten people, compared to a movie, where it’s like, add a couple zeros to that number. There’s something very exciting and equally terrifying about that, because the experience becomes so much more personal between the reader and the creators.”
As the interview came to a close, Marvel would ask one final question and inquire as to what Vellani was “most excited for readers to see from this series”.
“I will say there are a lot of pages that take place in Kamala’s dream world and there are very cool characters that we get to meet within that dream world, and they’re just extensions of Kamala’s psyche and reflections of who she is, and she doesn’t quite even realize what she is capable of as a hero,” opined the actress in reply.
“I think that journey that she goes on in her mind is honestly super fascinating and it’s something that I really wanted,” she affirmed to Marvel. “That was the first thing I pitched to editorial, is I really want to explore dreams and the psychological effect that a resurrection would have on a 16-year-old kid who has no one to talk to about it, right? That’s been really fun. And with dreams, you can do literally whatever you want, so there is a lot to play with. [Series artist] Adam Gorham draws incredible stuff in those pages, so I’m very excited for people to see his work.”
For those interested in checking out Marvel’s latest attempt to entice MCU fans to buy their comics, the first issue of Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant is now on sale.