In the wake of Secret Empire, Ms. Marvel has seemingly vanished from life as a superhero - and in the "Marvel Legacy" tie-in by writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Nico Leon starting in December's Ms. Marvel #25, we'll find out just who is taking her place as the protector of Jersey City.
In the story, titled "Teenage Wasteland," Ms. Marvel's legacy has been picked up by ordinary citizens of Jersey City in her absence. Alongside them, they have a new superhero patrolling the streets - the returning Red Dagger, who is also on the hunt for Ms. Marvel.
Newsarama spoke to Wilson with the announcement of the "Legacy" storyline, finding out exactly what "Teenage Wasteland" is and what "Legacy" means when your hero is missing.
Newsarama: Willow, Ms. Marvel is one of the most direct examples of what “Legacy” can mean for Marvel Comics. The tangible connection of Kamala Khan as a “Legacy” character is apparent, but how will that sense of “Legacy” come through in “Teenage Wasteland?”
G. Willow Wilson: Since the events of Civil War II, there's been friction between Kamala and her mentor, Captain Marvel. In this arc, we're exploring how complicated legacies can be when they're passed from generation to generation. Each new decade brings its own changes and challenges. The heroes of one generation don't always see eye to eye with the heroes of the next. Carrying on a legacy while still remaining true to yourself is one of the big themes of the story.
Nrama: What does the title, “Teenage Wasteland” mean for Ms. Marvel?
Wilson: Well, Kamala's story has always been about community - her family, her friends, her school. This arc opens on a very low point in Kamala's life. She's questioning a lot about herself and her mission. Her friends end up stepping into some very important - an unexpected - roles. So in a sense, the arc is really about a bunch of chronically under-estimated teenagers who pull together to fight evil. And, not for nothing, but a villain notorious for hating kids might be involved...
Nrama: There’s a wrinkle to this story – Ms. Marvel is missing when the story kicks off. Where has she gone? And is Kamala still around?
Wilson: It's a big mystery. There are hints that Kamala is still around but has made big changes to her life. Nobody knows where Ms. Marvel has gone.
Nrama: Red Dagger is returning to pick up some slack in Jersey City in Ms. Marvel’s absence. Is Kamala part of this plan?
Wilson: Nope! He's soloing things as a stranger in a strange land - and trying to figure out where Ms. Marvel has gone in the meantime.
Nrama: Meanwhile, you’ve got ordinary citizens of Jersey City taking up Ms. Marvel’s legacy. How does Kamala take that?
Wilson: It's not entirely clear. We're stepping away from Kamala's perspective in a way we've only done once before, in the Bruno issue. We get to see what her legacy means to Jersey City - both Kamala's and Ms. Marvel's - and what happens in her absence.
Nrama: After what Ms. Marvel has been through in Civil War II, Secret Empire, and more, having now served on three superhero teams – Kamala Khan is not really a rookie anymore. Does she have a sense of that that will inform her outlook as a hero going forward?
Wilson: We've shown her superhero-ing skills evolving and maturing - no more scrambling over fences; she's had real athletic and logistical training, and it shows. But with that comes a slightly tougher view of the world and how it works.
Nrama: Kamala is also going to have a run in with her mentor/predecessor Carol Danvers in “The Vanishing Point” as part of “Generations.” What is the outcome of that meeting, and how does it take place?
Wilson: It's so much fun that I really don't want to give too much away. Suffice to say that everything old is new again.
Nrama: What’s your favorite thing coming in Ms. Marvel that we haven’t seen yet?
Wilson: Well for one thing, Kamala's going to become an aunt! Her brother and his wife are about to have a baby, which means Kamala and Gabe are going to have an interesting new set of potentially hilarious challenges...
Here's the full solicitation for Ms. Marvel #25, due out in December.
Teenage Wasteland Part 1