Kamala Khan, also known as Ms. Marvel, in Marvel’s Avengers video game. Square Enix/Crystal Dynamics
This year, Marvel Entertainment and game publisher Square Enix launch their latest and most highly anticipated game of the year, “Marvel’s Avengers.” Developed by Crystal Dynamics, the game is expected to be one of the biggest releases of the year. Placing players in the shoes of the famous comic book superhero team in this action role-playing brawler, the game tells a brand new original story about how the heroes people know and love are blamed for a deadly explosion in the West Coast. Players will work to reunite the Avengers after a five-year hiatus through the lesser-known character of Ms. Marvel, who is also known as Kamala Khan.
The teenage Pakistani American superhero first debuted in a “Captain Marvel” comic book series in 2013 and is later given her own series in 2014. She is introduced as the first Muslim character to have her own series about her embracing her “Inhuman” shapeshifting abilities for the greater good. Perhaps the most important part of this release is that out of all of the familiar and popular characters in the series, the spotlight is handed to a Muslim woman of color
However, even with her debut comic book series, “Ms. Marvel,” she has remained one of the lesser-known characters in the massive world of Marvel Comics and was not given too much attention. Just recently, she has become more of a notable character with the children’s cartoon series “Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors” in 2018, the announcement of her own Disney Plus series that is connected with the popular Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, her character is the main focus of the story in the “Marvel’s Avengers” video game.
“She has her own internal struggles,” Crystal Dynamics Head of Studio Scott Amos said on the decision to have Kamala Khan as the game’s main protagonist in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “She’s a fan of superheroes, particularly a fan of the Avengers. She’s trying to figure out who she is. We were like ‘That sounds a lot like a gamer.’ Somebody who’s now in a world of change where they’re becoming a superhero, they are looking for mentors. She really did meet her heroes.”
The story opens with Kamala Khan and her father going to an Avenger’s event called “A-Day” and it is here where the event is under attack and a bomb is set off, destroying most of San Francisco and causing Khan to obtain her powers. Throughout the introduction, players learn of how much of a fan she is of the Avengers as she awes at a museum of all the team’s history and accomplishments. Players go through the game as a unique, yet relatable character that wants to change the world by being the hero they’d always wanted to be.
“I didn’t think about [defining who this character is] when I first took the role,” said voice actress for Kamala Khan in “Marvel’s Avenger’s,” Sandra Saad during an interview with Kinda Funny. “The fact that I never thought I would be playing a lead like this, I never audition for leads, people like me don’t audition for leads, young women of color, because I’ve been told that that’s not for me.”
Despite the critical reception it may receive, “Marvel’s Avengers” will be one of the most popular games of the year because of Marvel’s millions of fans. Having Khan be the focus of a story packed with fan-favorite characters is a welcomed change. Whether a fan of the films, but unfamiliar with Khan, or a new fan growing up with this new game, the story illustrates that anybody can be a hero, going beyond the Avengers saving the world.
In recent years, providing fans diverse representation through these new heroes is an achievement for Marvel. Great examples of Marvel films that impacted communities of color include “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse” and “Black Panther.” Representation for people of color these stories is incredibly important and inspires many to want to be the heroes that look just like them.