Warning: SPOILERS for The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #10!
It’s official; Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel really has become the next symbiote Spider-Man. Stop us if you’ve heard this before: a superhero is unexpectedly transported to an alien world. There, they wind up wearing a new costume with strange properties, that boosts their powers but also affects their aggression level. They return to Earth, and their private life soon devolves to a state of chaos; finally, they realize their new suit has a mind of its own, and they reject it, only for said costume to become a new supervillain.
The broad brush strokes will be familiar to absolutely any reader. This is the story of Spider-Man’s black costume, in which the web-slinger unwittingly brought an alien Klyntar symbiote to Earth, and it became the origin story of Venom. It’s also the story of Kamala Khan in her current ongoing, The Magnificent Ms. Marvel. There have always been striking similarities between Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man – in fact, Marvel deliberately followed the same “Everyman Hero” pattern when they created her. But these comparisons have become explicit of late, with readers somewhat amused to find writer Saladin Ahmed retelling a classic story.
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Ahmed’s version of the Symbiote Saga is continuing apace, and in The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #10 it moves to its logical next step. Kamala Khan is placed in a situation of immense pressure, and her living outfit – a Kree Stormranger suit designed for war – wants to exercise lethal force against a supervillain. A horrified Kamala fights to regain control of her own body, and then wills the costume to leave her. It follows her orders – and then manifests as a horrific new force.
It’s easy to mock Marvel for repeating history like this, but frankly that’s unfair; there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing a homage, and there are enough differences between Stormranger and Venom for this to feel fresh and new. What’s more, it’s worth noting that Kamala Khan’s rogues’ gallery has always felt rather less impressive than Spider-Man’s, so she really needed a new nemesis. Artist Minkyu Jung has done a brilliant job when creating Stormranger’s design, and the living suit looks truly sinister. Meanwhile, it’s important to note that this is presumably only the next step in Stormranger’s evolution; previous issues have heavily implied that the costume feeds on the bioelectrical energy of its host, which means it will be looking to bond with someone else. Who will be the “Eddie Brock” in this retelling of the Symbiote Saga?
The Stormranger plot feels like one of the most important arcs since Kamala Khan was created back in 2013. Ms. Marvel’s new foe is inspired by one of Marvel’s greatest supervillains, which naturally means readers are expecting Stormranger to become a major presence in the Marvel Comics universe. It’s going to be fascinating to see how this plays out.
The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #10 is available now in comic book stores.
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