Ms. Marvel has lost her comic-book shapeshifting powers, but she may have gained better ones that make her Marvel’s equivalent of Green Lantern.
Ms. Marvel is hitting the small screen on Disney+ this June, and with some new superpowers to accompany her. Kamala Khan’s new powers may look different on the young hero, but they actually resemble those of DC’s Green Lantern, and it can actually work well for her character.
Ms. Marvel’s new powers have become a subject of controversy, as fans are wondering why Marvel decided to abandon her shapeshifting abilities. Instead of her usual shapeshifting and elasticity, she appears to have the ability to manipulate cosmic energy and create constructs with a device. Both of these resemble two other superheroes’ powers: Captain Marvel’s and Green Lantern’s, respectively. It makes sense why the Marvel Cinematic Universe chose to make her powers resemble those of her role model, Carol Danvers, but why the device-wielding constructs?
The Nega-Bands are the devices that Kamala uses to create these constructs, and they’re basically akin to Green Lantern’s ring — both take mental energy and form it into physical matter that grant the user extraordinary powers. Green Lantern’s ring takes the user’s emotional willpower and is limited by their imagination. The Nega-Bands have never been adapted into the MCU before, so their capabilities are pretty obscure. But based on the comics, Kamala is going to have to control her emotional well-being if she wants to achieve her dream of being a hero.
The emotional connection that the Green Lantern has with the ring is perfect for Kamala’s situation. As a young teenager who has to deal with her own insecurities and sporadic emotions, she’ll be forced to understand her feelings on a more tangible scale. It’s a perfect opportunity to see her grow as a character. Whereas Peter Parker could easily hide behind a mask during his weakest moments and still have his powers — with the exception of the events in Spider-Man 2 — the Nega-Band’s potential weakness could lie with Kamala’s mental strength.
There will obviously be other enemies for Kamala to protect her family and city from, but the true battle will be with herself. The first trailer for the series shows Kamala as a superhero fan-girl, constantly fantasizing herself as a hero to the city, but her identity as a Muslim Pakistani-American woman makes her believe that’ll never become a reality. Of course, when it does become a reality, she’ll be forced to perform under the pressure of every Avenger who came before her. Will she crack under the pressure trying to be just like Captain Marvel, or will she find her own identity?
Kamala Khan’s journey to becoming Ms. Marvel is now solely based on her emotional maturity thanks to her change in powers. If anything like the Green Lantern, Kamala will have to rely on her mental strength to conjure up her imagination and create the constructs briefly seen in the trailer. To say Ms. Marvel has the potential to be the Green Lantern of the MCU seems a little worrisome, considering the bad wrap the Green Lantern film got, but Ms. Marvel can fix the issues DC once had with its ring-bearing hero.