Why the Death of Ms. Marvel Is a Major Insult to Fans

By Pierre Chanliau Updated:
Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan death

The latest comic run of The Amazing Spider-Man, written by Zeb Wells, hasn't been, to put it lightly, warmly received by fans, because of some controversial choices.

Not only were Peter Parker and Mary Jane immediately broken up (again) off-panel, with her suddenly together with a man named Paul with two kids, but it's now even managed to insult Ms. Marvel fans.

Marvel Comics has been hyping up issue #26 of The Amazing Spider-Man as "the most shocking issue [...] in 50 years,” which will coincide with the 50th anniversary of Gwen Stacy's death. So, obviously, someone was going to die with the comic book publisher even releasing a cover showing a who's who in who it might be.

Unfortunately for the publisher, one irate insider at the company decided to leak the ending of the next issue three weeks before its release, revealing that it will be Kamala Khan, of all characters, who dies. However, many are misinterpreting why fans of the character are pissed and how it goes beyond her just dying.

Fans Know It Won't Last

Most fans know that Kamala Khan won't stay dead, especially when The Marvels is set to release in theaters on November 10. But it only makes her abrupt death worse since it severely lessens any impact it otherwise would have had on readers.

Death of Doctor Strange, Doctor Strange, Elektra, Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Variant Cover, Comic Cover
Death of Doctor Strange (2021) — Issue #1 (Variant Cover by Skottie Young)

Nowadays, killing off a comic book character is nothing more than a cheap marketing stunt to drum up sales and hawk variant covers. The old adage "No one stays dead except Bucky, Jason Todd, and Uncle Ben" hasn't even been applicable since 2005.

But despite the criminal cheapness of deaths in the Marvel universe, it doesn't mean they can't still work. After all, Captain America, Johnny Storm, Spider-Man (Ultimate Comics), and even Wolverine got readers emotionally invested in their deaths.

Death of Captain America, Human Torch Sacrifice, Death of Spider-Man, Death of Wolverine, Marvel Comics

Although it helped that three of the four characters listed had an entire storyline built around their impending ends and that the Human Torch was a crucial character in Jonathan Hickman's Fantastic Four.

The latter can't be said for Ms. Marvel in Wells' controversial run, who might as well be a footnote.

Ms. Not-Appearing-In-This-Comic

Entertainment Weekly described Kamala Khan as "an important part" of Wells' run of The Amazing Spider-Man and Marvel.com said that she has been "a pivotal supporting character." But in actuality, she barely features in the run at all.

Ms. Marvel, the character whose death will conclude "the most shocking issue of Amazing Spider-Man in 50 years," has only appeared on 14 out of 646 pages and 37 out of 3204 comic panels of Wells' story thus far, which includes The Amazing Spider-Man #1-25, Dark Web #1, and Dark Web Finale #1.

The Amazing Spider-Man, Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel, Comic Pages, Total Appearances

To further emphasize Kamala's total lack of relevance to the story, it means that only 2.17% of Well's entire run has had pages with her on them and that she's only in 1.15% of the panels. 

Kamala is essentially a cameo in the book she's about to die in, which can only mean one thing.

Another Woman (Of Color) Shoved Into the Fridge

The term "fridging," which spawned from writer Gail Simone's original "Women in Refrigerators" website in 1999, is when a character, typically female, is hurt, killed, or traumatized solely as a way to motivate another, typically male, character. It's what happened to Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man #121 in 1973, and it's what will happen to Ms. Marvel in The Amazing Spider-Man #26 on May 31.

Not only is Marvel Comics' most prominent Muslim and Pakistani character dying, but she's going to die a month before Eid al-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice), on the last day of Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and at the hands of a Jewish-coded villain named Benjamin Rabin.

All so that her death can be laid at the feet of the continuously self-pitying Peter Parker.

Fallen Friend Ms Marvel

The cover of Kamala Khan's own one-shot, Fallen Friend: The Death of Ms. Marvel, couldn't be a more perfect representation of fridging if it tried. Instead of her being the center of attention, it's Spider-Man who takes center stage, distraught and no doubt blaming himself for her death.

But why is Kamala Khan's death even happening in The Amazing Spider-Man of all books? One would think that, at the very least, it would happen in Miles Morales: Spider-Man, since she's actually friends with him.

Surrounded by Strangers

It'd be one thing if Wells were legitimately trying to build a friendship between these two, but as has been clearly shown, that isn't the case. Instead, they're both essentially strangers to one another, with no substantial history between them in the comics.

Marvel Team-Up, Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, Comic Panels
Marvel Team-Up (2019) — Issue #3

The only times these two ever teamed up were in two issues of Dan Slott's The Amazing Spider-Man in 2014 and three issues of Marvel Team-Up in 2019. Unfortunately, the latter ended with both characters forgetting the entire story even happened.

Dark Web, Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel, Bruno, Comic Panels
Dark Web: Ms. Marvel (2022) — Issue #1

Kamala is only in Peter's orbit because Wells inexplicably had her intern at Oscorp for reasons not even writer Sabir Pirzada could explain in Dark Web: Ms. Marvel. Pirzada even poked several holes in the idea, like Kamala not being interested in STEM.

Only after twenty-five issues will Kamala finally become relevant to the plot as she will, according to Marvel.com, "make a heroic sacrifice" that will "save the entire Marvel Universe."

Benjamin Rabin, Scribble Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, Comic Panels
The Amazing Spider-Man (2022) — Issue #25

Considering the villain's goal in the next issue is killing Mary Jane, it's all but guaranteed that this "sacrifice" will involve Kamala saving MJ at the expense of her own life—for a woman she has never spoken a word to.

Ms Marvel Death Scene

She won't even have the courtesy of dying among friends or family, but more strangers she's barely spoken to, like Reed Richards, Johnny & Sue Storm, The Thing, Norman Osborn, Mary Jane, and Paul.

One could not have constructed a worse scenario for a death if they tried. Of course, it'll be undone, but the method and motive of her revival is another concern entirely for fans.

Getting Lost in the Crowd

Kamala is, without a doubt, the most popular Inhuman character in the comic book zeitgeist. However, fans' biggest fear is her being brought back as a mutant instead in a desperate attempt at synergy to attract fans of the MCU.

Yes, Ms. Marvel's co-creator, Sana Amanat, originally intended her to be a mutant in the comics, but being one of the few popular Inhumans was likely what allowed her to grow in popularity. If Kamala was just another teenage mutant among hundreds of others, it's uncertain if she would have been able to get a foothold with readers.

X-Men, Resurrection Protocol, Jean Grey
A.X.E.: Judgment Day (2022) — Issue #6

Fans have already theorized that Kamala will be brought back on Krakoa, the home nation of Mutants, using their Resurrection Protocols. In the process, she'll either be turned into a mutant or revealed to have always been one.

Armor, Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, Hard-Light Powers, Marvel Comics, Comic Panel
Ms. Marvel & Wolverine (2022) — Issue #1

It's also possible that her powers will be changed to match the ones seen in Ms. Marvel, which Armor, another teenage mutant, ironically inspired. A character who was once the newest member of the X-Men upon her debut but slowly faded more and more into the background as the years passed. A fate that many fans fear will befall Kamala Khan if she's turned into a mutant.

Her death won't last forever or even last for a year, but that doesn't mean that fans have to tolerate it, especially when the motivation behind her death is solely fueled by cynical marketing.

- About The Author: Pierre Chanliau
Pierre Chanliau began as a news & feature writer for The Direct at the site's launch in 2020. As a longtime reader of superhero comic books, Pierre's knowledge of Marvel and DC is extensive, informing his reporting and editorial pieces regarding the MCU and DCU.