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Marvel's real motive behind Ms. Marvel's death and resurrection revealed

Marvel discusses Kamala Khan’s death and says the quiet part out loud

Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant #1 variant cover
Image credit: Stanley 'Artgerm' Lau (Marvel Comics)

The saga behind Ms. Marvel’s death and return continues to get even stranger. In the past few months Marvel has killed Kamala Khan, ignored her death, quickly revived her, and then retconned her death completely. It’s an understatement to say that this storyline has been an odd affair. Guess what, it just got even stranger. Over in the letter pages for Amazing Spider-Man #32 (written by Zeb Wells and penciled by Patrick Gleason), editor Nick Lowe revealed why Marvel killed Kamala. His explanation was interesting.

A brief timeline on Ms. Marvel’s death and return

Kamala Khan dies in Spider-Man's arms
Image credit: Marvel Comics

Before we dive into Lowe’s explanation, let’s briefly recap the odd events that led us here.

Marvel explains why they really killed Kamala Khan

Ms. Marvel new costume
Image credit: Marvel Entertainment

The letter pages in Amazing Spider-Man #32 featured readers responding to the events of Amazing Spider-Man #26. Editor Nick Lowe responded to their letters, and revealed how Ms. Marvel’s death came to be. “As for whether it was ‘cheap’ or not…We’ve been dealing with the fallout in the issues since, which speak for themselves character and story-wise, but I’ll give you a peek behind the curtain for some of the more meta elements,” Lowe wrote.

“As we were planning out Kamala’s story, the opportunity to take advantage of Krakoan rebirth presented itself. We wanted to make sure that we put the biggest spotlight on Kamala’s journey that we could, which is ASM. We had already brought Kamala into the series by then, so it seemed perfect. I still stand by the story in ASM #26. Kamala is a superhero. She showed up to a giant super-villain fight and got involved, which is what a hero does,” Lowe continued.

“She risked everything to save a life, which is what a hero does. It cost Kamala her life. Was she the central focus of the book or the story? Nope. But honestly, to me, that’s also life. Things happen that don’t go the way stories ‘should’ go. But what Kamala did was completely in character on the biggest stage in comics, getting more people talking about her than had in years.”

Unpacking Lowe’s statement

Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant #1 variant cover
Image credit: Marvel Entertainment

Essentially, Lowe revealed that Ms. Marvel joining the X-Men and getting a new title was planned prior to her death. In order to maximize the attention to this new title, Marvel decided to kill her off. Yes, Kamala Khan’s brief death was pitched to sell her new series. This revelation is not shocking, we cynically suspected as much. However, Lowe’s statement feels like he’s saying the quiet part out loud. Yes, character deaths are meant to bring more attention to a comic, but as a fandom we like to at least go through the pretense of pretending this is all for artistic purposes.

Speaking strictly for myself, I don’t necessarily agree with how Lowe addressed Kamala not being the central figure in her own death story. While this is true to life, this is a comic book where creators can choose how the stories for characters develop. The context matters too, because Kamala is one of the only Muslim-American superheroes in comics.

For that reason, making her a supporting player in her own death story seems wrong. Plus, Emma Frost erasing the world’s memory seems to cheapen the whole affair. Between the nature of her quick return, erasing the world’s memory, and Lowe’s statement, it seems like every new development just makes Kamala’s death and return a bigger quagmire.

I’m hoping the new series breathes new life into the character, and I’m excited to see where Iman Vellani takes her. If it’s a fun direction, it might make this entire affair seem worthwhile.

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