The Biggest Differences Between Ms. Marvel's MCU And Comic Book Powers

Warning: major spoilers ahead for the first two episodes of "Ms. Marvel."

Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) has finally joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it is about time. The teenage superhero dabbles in everything from animation to penning her own fanfiction while navigating her newfound powers that alter her understanding of who she is meant to be.

"Ms. Marvel" presents Kamala's powers in a distinctly different way when compared to the comics, and the reasons boil down to practical aspects in terms of making sure the character is in sync with the rest of the MCU. Marvel chief Kevin Feige and "Ms. Marvel" head writer Bisha K. Ali have taken a more liberal approach to depicting Kamala's powers, and Feige told Empire why the adaptation will not be "an exact translation:"

"We adapt the comics; it's not an exact translation. [Kamala] came about in a very specific time within the comic-book continuity. She is now coming into a very specific time within the MCU continuity. And those two things didn't match.

What we will learn about where those powers come from, and how they come about, is specific to the MCU. You will see great comic splash panels in some of our action sequences. If you want big, giant hands and arms, well they're here in spirit, if not in stretchy, plastic-type ways."

As "Ms. Marvel" incorporates a lot of comic-style animation into its episodic model, this opens up the opportunity for really cool comic panels to be juxtaposed against Kamala's live-action shenanigans. Here's a breakdown of Ms. Marvel's abilities in the comics, and how the Disney+ show alters these powers and makes them work in favor of an original narrative.

Embiggen and shapeshift

Kamala's primary power in the comics is that she can shapeshift and transform her body by enlarging or elongating her limbs. This process, known as Embiggening, is markedly absent from the show, as the origin or source of her powers has been completely altered in the adaptation.

In the comics, Black Bolt of the Inhumans (who makes an appearance as an Earth-838 variant in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness") releases the mutagenic Terrigen Mist into Earth's atmosphere. This activates any latent abilities within those belonging to that race, and Kamala's dormant powers are triggered when she is exposed to the mutagen in the atmosphere. Along with shapeshifting, she also has the power to heal pretty quickly once she reverts from her superpowered self to her usual self, which comes in handy during tense, dangerous scenarios.

Kamala is also a big fan of Carol Danvers, which urges her to craft her new superhero identity around Captain Marvel's legacy and use her powers to rid New Jersey of crime. The comics also see her receive an invitation to join the Avengers, alongside Iron Man, Captain America, and Vision. This obviously cannot take place quite in the same way in the show, considering the events that went down in "Avengers: Infinity War" and thereafter.

A superpowered family heirloom

The Disney+ show keeps the basic tenets of Kamala's personality intact — she is a gifted artist who always has her head in the clouds, Captain Marvel is her personal hero, and she struggles with juggling her double life. What changes is the source of her superpower, as Kamala does not have a dormant Inhuman gene that is activated by a mutagen. Instead, her powers are unlocked the moment she puts on a bangle that belongs to her naani, or grandmother.

There's something about Kamala's familial past that is shrouded in mystery, as evidenced by her mother's reluctance to let Kamala be her own person, lest she is led astray. Whether Kamala's grandmother herself is aware of the bangle's superpowers is unclear at the moment, but the family heirloom grants Kamala her powers the moment she puts them on at AvengersCon.

The bangle generates a mystical, purple aura that manifests into physical shields or platforms that help her jump off of platforms or save someone from falling (as she does in the case of Zoe at AvengersCon). There's a fun training montage, of course, in which she attempts to stabilize and control her powers further, which culminates in her saving a child at the end of episode 2 (although she falters due to a lack of self-confidence).

As Kamala is still in the phase in which she is exploring the extent of her powers, we still do not know what else she can do, and how the purple aura that grants her abilities is connected to her family, and her in general.

The first two episodes of "Ms. Marvel" are currently streaming on Disney+.