This article contains spoilers for Ms. Marvel episode 1.,The first episode of Ms. Marvel is absolutely packed with MCU Easter eggs and Marvel comic book references. Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel made history when she was introduced in 2013, Marvel’s first Muslim-American superhero. By 2015 street artists in San Francisco were using images of Ms. Marvel to oppose the anti-Islamic American Freedom Defense Initiative; President Barack Obama name-dropped Kamala Khan when he met one of her co-creators, Sana Amanat, in 2016.,It was, therefore, inevitable that Kamala Khan would make her MCU debut sooner or later. Marvel had to hold off on introducing Ms. Marvel until after Avengers: Endgame, because they believed this established Captain Marvel as a key player in their shared universe – someone who could inspire Kamala Khan and others like her. That done, they’ve wasted little time bringing Kamala to life.,More: Every Upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie & TV Show In Development,Ms. Marvel releases new episodes on Wednesdays on Disney+.,Marvel has finally introduced Kamala Khan herself, casting Iman Vellani in the starring role and Matt Lintz as her best friend Bruno. Ms. Marvel episode 1 dramatically rewrites Kamala’s origin story for the MCU, and her powerset has been switched up dramatically. For all that’s the case, though, key individuals and locations have been lifted straight from the pages of the comics. Ms. Marvel episode 1 is packed with more Easter eggs than any other MCU Disney+ TV show to date, feeling like a true love letter to them both.,Kamala Khan is a Captain Marvel fangirl. The MCU’s version is a YouTuber who creates Avengers fanfic; the idea is loosely adapted from the comics, and Kamala initially geeked out and told superheroes about her fanfics when she met them. In Ms. Marvel #6, for example, she excitedly told Wolverine her Wolverine-and-Storm-in-space fanfic was the third-most-upvoted story on “Freaking Awesome” last month. He was less than enthused when he learned the top story was “Cyclops and Emma Frost’s Romantic Vacation in Paris.” Ms. Marvel episode 1 even gives a nod to this memorable scene, because one of Kamala’s videos substitutes Ant-Man and the Wasp for Cyclops and Emma Frost.,Kamala Khan’s fan art includes sketches of countless alien designs – but one stands out. Pinned to a wall behind Hawkeye, scattered among the pictures of different aliens, is a very familiar cat – Goose, named after Top Gun and introduced in Captain Marvel. Goose is actually a Flerken, an alien being whose mouth contains gateways to pocket dimensions and who even consumed the Tesseract for a time. It seems Ms. Marvel knows Goose is an alien.,Ms. Marvel episode 1 is remarkably self-aware, using Kamala’s fan art to riff on many famous images of Captain Marvel in particular. Later, when Kamala suits up, she strikes a number of poses that are typical of female characters in comics – notably one with arms on hips. She also seems to draw inspiration from Black Widow, attempting to recreate Natasha Romanoff’s stance in some promotional posters for Avengers: Age of Ultron., ,Surprisingly, one of Kamala Khan’s sketches even shows Captain Marvel in a costume she never wore in the MCU – her original Ms. Marvel suit from the comics. There, her costume was based on the Kree superhero Mar-Vell’s – except with a lot more skin showing and, weirdly, a scarf. Readers were bemused, and in Ms. Marvel #8 Marvel published a letter from one wit: “Question: where is a woman who wears long sleeves, gloves, high boots and a scarf (winter wear), and at the same time has a bare back, belly, and legs? The Arctic equator? That costume requires a few alterations.” Artists agreed, and gradually modified the look, covering the belly and back – and Kamala has recreated that outfit. Most of the other sketches show Captain Marvel in her typical MCU costume, and there’s one where she’s wearing her USAF flight jacket too.,Ms. Marvel episode 1 finally answers a mystery that’s been running since the beginning of Phase 4, when everybody seemed to know about the final battle in Avengers: Endgame. It seems Scott Lang has been doing podcast interviews in which he happily spilled the beans, even discussing the Infinity Stones – which Kamala describes as “magic stones.” He must have kept the time travel element a secret, however, because Spider-Man: Far From Home revealed everyone thinks Captain America is dead.,Captain Marvel’s hairstyles keep changing in the MCU, and Ms. Marvel episode 1 pokes fun at this in its presentation of Avengers: Endgame‘s final battle. There, Captain Marvel blasts through Thanos’ Sanctuary II and performs a perfect superhero landing before flicking her long hair casually. The video then changes Captain Marvel’s hairstyle, running through a number of different looks until it fixes upon the right one. It’s interesting to note even Kamala Khan doesn’t know what Captain Marvel has been doing for all these years, meaning that particular mystery is left hanging for The Marvels.,Kamala Khan is dragged to the principal’s office, where Mr. Wilson – who insists she should call him “Gabe” – attempts to drag her down to earth. The character’s name is an amusing homage to Ms. Marvel‘s co-creator, G. Willow Wilson, whose run established Kamala Khan as a popular character. The scene includes an unexpected quote from Mulan, which Kamala herself comments upon., ,One scene in Ms. Marvel episode 1 sees Kamala Khan imagine different variants of Carol Danvers. One is a mash-up of Captain Marvel with Doctor Strange, an idea that actually played out in the comics. There, Carol Danvers became irritated at her vulnerability to magic and took lessons from Doctor Strange – even hooking up with him in a rather ill-advised rebound relationship.,Another mash-up gives Captain Marvel an Asgardian aesthetic, with Kamala Khan imagining her hero riding a winged horse on a rainbow bridge while wielding a power sword. She’s essentially picturing Carol Danvers as a Valkyrie traveling the Bifrost, but the imagery is distinctly reminiscent of She-Ra. Bruno moves straight on to picturing Captain Marvel as a “Princess,” continuing the theme.,The “Marvel Zombies” are one of Marvel’s most popular alternate-universe stories, and they’ve already become part of the MCU’s multiverse courtesy of What If…? season 1. That makes Kamala Khan’s idea of a zombie Captain Marvel rather entertaining, especially when she basically pitches the whole arc; “I will eat your braaains, but I also have superpowers!“,Deadpool mocked the idea of the superhero landing, and so it seems appropriate that Ms. Marvel episode 1 – the MCU’s most self-aware show to date – has a riff on them as well. When Kamala plans her escape from her house, she envisions herself leaping out of her window, swinging on a tree branch, and performing a perfect superhero landing. The sketch accompanying this is labeled as “The Graceful Descent,” with Kamala imagining that as the performance of a legend., ,The first AvengerCon is held at Camp Leigh, touted as the birthplace of Captain America – because this is where Steve Rogers originally trained to prove himself worthy to become Captain America. It’s interesting to note this was also the birthplace of the modern version of Hydra, because it is where Zola copied his mental patterns into digital form and masterminded Hydra’s Project Insight. This sets up a theme running through the AvengerCon scenes; a suggestion that fan culture uncritically hero-worships concepts and individuals without recognizing their subtleties and nuances. The idea is reinforced by the song playing in the background, “The Star-Spangled Man,” which accompanied Steve Rogers when he toured the U.S. before going on to the front. It’s worth noting Captain America himself hated that particular role, and would have probably shuddered had he walked into AvengerCon to that music.,There are, of course, countless people at AvengerCon wearing cosplays of the Avengers and their supporting characters. Attentive viewers will notice diverse members of the Avengers and even the Guardians of the Galaxy, including Captain America, Drax, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, the Wasp, Gamora, and Thor. There are also numerous dancing girls (from Captain America: The First Avenger and Iron Man 2), several Dora Milaje, and a group of Asgardians. The most surprising cosplayer is dressed as M’Baku, complete with his staff.,AvengerCon features exhibits dedicated to different members of the superhero team, including “The Realm of Asgard” and “Things Hulk Smashed” – which features a test-your-strength machine. There’s even a recreation of a scene from Ant-Man & the Wasp, where people are invited to be photographed being held in the hand of a giant-sized Ant-Man. Stands are dedicated to the likes of Groot (apparently known to the world as “Mr. Tree”) and Scarlet Witch. Naturally, Kamala Khan finds herself looking at the Captain Marvel exhibit, dedicated to the cosmic Avenger.,One popular scene in Avengers: Endgame mocked Captain America as “America’s ass,” and Ms. Marvel episode 1 riffs on this in a hilarious sketch in which Steve Rogers shows off his backside while telling America “You’re welcome.” Ms. Marvel really is refreshingly self-aware, even interacting with popular MCU memes from the real world., ,The MCU has largely failed Black Widow, particularly in the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame – where her sacrifice has seemed so much less important than Iron Man’s or even Captain America’s (the latter being particularly ironic given Steve Rogers actually used time travel to get his own “Happily ever after“). Ms. Marvel at least recognizes Natasha Romanoff’s death as well, with one wall dedicated to Iron Man and Black Widow. It’s nice to see the world finally honoring Black Widow, after the Iron Man murals of Spider-Man: Far From Home and the Statue of Liberty itself being converted into a memorial for Captain America in Spider-Man: No Way Home.,Naturally, AvengerCon is packed with merch – some of which is available in real life as well. These include Avengers-related slogans – “Asgard Pride,” “Fight Like A Girl,” and “Bring the Thunder” are notable, along with the classic “I Can Do This All Day.” Avenger Tours offer trips to Sokovia, Wakanda, and upstate New York – another of the hints there’s something quite dark beneath the hero worship and fan culture, given these are places that were devastated in high-profile Avengers battles.,Kamala Khan is horrified to find herself competing against her friend Zoe in the Captain Marvel competition. Although she complains Zoe’s costume isn’t accurate, it’s actually very similar to some worn by Carol Danvers in the comics – and she wears it in a manner reminiscent of the Dark Avenger Moonstone, who adopted the Ms. Marvel identity for a time. It’s probably the most surprising Easter egg of the lot. Kamala’s first use of her powers ultimately puts Zoe’s life at risk, and Kamala saves her; this is a gentle nod to her origin story in the comics, where she first used her powers saving Zoe’s life.,The MCU has changed Ms. Marvel’s powers; many believe the studio didn’t want two stretching people to appear at the same time given they’re working on introducing the Fantastic Four in the next few years. Still, Ms. Marvel episode 1 does contain an Easter egg to Kamala Khan’s traditional powers in the comics, when she creates a construct in the shape of a stretched-out hand. It will be interesting to see how Marvel handles Kamala’s powers going forward, and if they continue to riff on the comics even as they differentiate themselves from them., ,Ms. Marvel episode 1’s post-credits reveal the Department of Damage Control is looking into the new superhuman. Initially a subsidiary of SHIELD, Damage Control clear up the mess left behind by superhumans. The post-credits scene features the return of DDC Special Agent P. Clearly from Spider-Man: No Way Home, who’s taken aback at the footage. The comics often saw Kamala Khan at odds with the government, so it would make sense for Damage Control to become a recurring problem for Kamala in Ms. Marvel going forward.,
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