The following post contains SPOILERS for the third episode of Ms. Marvel.
The Ms. Marvel of Marvel Comics draws her inspiration from Captain Marvel, but her powers connect her to the group known as the Inhumans. That’s the race of super-powered beings led by Black Bolt, who recently made a cameo appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. (Black Bolt and the rest of the Inhumans had their own short-lived TV series on ABC that is amongst the least successful or popular creations in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.)
Inhumans get their powers after they’re exposed to a magic substance called Terrigen Mists, and in Ms. Marvel comics, that’s how Kamala Khan became a superhero. During a big crossover storyline, Terrigen Mist got released all over Earth, awakening Inhuman powers in people all over the planet, including Kamala. The Ms. Marvel TV show has totally rewritten the character’s origin. Gone are the Inhuman connections and the Terrigen Mists. In their place, is a mysterious bangle which taps into some kind of energy powers that are hidden within Kamala all along.
Previously, the show has only hinted that this bangle has some connection to Kamala’s ancestors, and particularly her great-grandmother Aisha. Episode 3 of the show reveals how Aisha found the bangle inside a temple in India in the 1940s. It also explains that Aisha was part of a little-known group from Marvel Comics: The Clandestines.
The Clandestines (or as they were known in comic-book form, The ClanDestine) were created in the mid-1990s by English writer and artist Alan Davis. He’s best known as the co-creator of the X-Men spinoff comic Excalibur. Not long after Davis left Excalibur he started ClanDestine, about a family of immortal beings give impossibly long life and various powers by a djinn or magical genie.
In Ms. Marvel, the Clandestines are these djinn themselves, magical beings from another dimension, rather than humans who receive special abilities and long life from a djinn. In the show, they were exiled from their own dimension and deposited in the MCU. They need the bangle and its power in order to return home.
The original ClanDestine series lasted just 12 issues before it was canceled by Marvel. Davis would return to the concept a few times through the years, including one miniseries where the ClanDestine met the X-Men, and another storyline that stretched across several Marvel “Annuals” in 2012, including Wolverine and Daredevil.
The Inhumans have an incredibly convoluted history that’s been rewritten at least a couple of times. Trying to cram even a fraction of all that backstory into a TV series about a basically unrelated character like Kamala Khan would have bogged it down. ClanDestine, on the other hand, exist in just that handful of series and specials written and illustrated by Davis, They’ve had few other interactions with the rest of the Marvel Universe. Which gives Ms. Marvel a fairly blank slate to draw on for these characters, and for Kamala. They can take the basic concept of djinn and do whatever they want with it for the rest of this TV series, and then beyond into future movies like The Marvels.
New episodes of Ms. Marvel premiere weekly on Disney+. Sign up for Disney+ here.
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