Do you remember when Kamala Khan died? The death of Ms. Marvel was heavily publicized, complete with months of hype, convention teases, and an official announcement in Entertainment Weekly. In fact, Zeb Wells called it the most shocking issue of Amazing Spider-Man in 50 years. The story was also given a special epilogue called Fallen Friend: The Death of Ms. Marvel #1, which featured Kamala’s family and friends grieving for her.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for X-Men #25!
This sounds like it would be an unforgettable story, unless you live in the Marvel Universe. Kamala Khan was recently revived by the X-Men in Hellfire Gala 2023 #1, which sets the stage for her upcoming solo title Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant. However, it wasn’t enough to simply revive the heroine. As revealed in X-Men #25 (written by Gerry Duggan and penciled by Stefano Caselli), Marvel is working to make sure that everyone in the Marvel Universe will forget her death.
How did Ms. Marvel die?
First, a quick refresher on the death of Ms. Marvel. In Amazing Spider-Man #26 (2023), a villain named Rabin tried to kill longtime Spider-Man love interest Mary Jane Watson, believing that Mary Jane’s death would complete an ancient ritual. Due to this belief, Rabin caused a big scuffle in New York City, with the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Gold Goblin, and Ms. Marvel all working to defend Mary Jane.
Using her shapeshifting powers, Kamala Khan disguised herself as Mary Jane, luring the villain away from his true target. Believing Kamala was Mary Jane, Rabin impaled Kamala, and she died from her injuries. It didn't take long for the consequences to begin, as Rabin’s deity killed him, declaring that he sullied the ceremony by sacrificing the wrong person. Kamala may have lost her life, but the gambit saved Mary Jane and stopped the villain. For a deeper dive on the circumstances behind Kamala’s death, check out this article.
After the publication of Amazing Spider-Man #26, Marvel's comic storylines largely ignored Kamala’s death. Her death was acknowledged in X-Men #23 (2023), subsequent issues of Amazing Spider-Man, and Fallen Friend: The Death of Ms. Marvel #1. But aside from that, other Marvel books didn’t seem to acknowledge the death at all. In fact, Captain Marvel #50 (2023), which was published weeks after Kamala’s death, focuses on Carol Danvers grieving another hero’s murder.
What we did learn in Fallen Friend: The Death of Ms. Marvel #1 was that Kamala’s family created a cover story around her death, telling others that Kamala was killed during Rabin’s rampage through New York. This allowed Kamala’s family and friends to mourn her without revealing her secret identity as Ms. Marvel. However, as we saw in X-Men #25, the extra effort was for naught.
Marvel erases a story they heavily publicized two months ago
Hellfire Gala 2023 #1 begins with the X-Men using their resurrection powers to bring Ms. Marvel back to life, and then telling her that she’s a mutant. Apparently, they’ve known this for some time, but chose not to share that information with her. After Kamala’s resurrection, the Hellfire Gala went off the rails with a mutant genocide, and the X-Men becoming fugitives. In other words, Kamala picked a perfect time to join the team.
By the way, Kamala’s death in Amazing Spider-Man #26 was published on May 31, 2023, and her revival in Hellfire Gala 2023 #1 was published 8 weeks later on July 26, 2023. According to the Hellfire Gala 2023 #1, Kamala had only been dead for a few days. And due to the nature of the X-Men’s resurrection procedure, Kamala has no memory of her death. In X-Men #25, we learned that she wasn’t the only one.
As Kamala prepares to reunite with her parents, she expresses some apprehension about the reunion. “When they ask why I’m back, I’ll have to tell them that I’m a mutant – oh, and we’ve all been framed for murder,” Kamala tells Emma Frost. But the powerful psychic reveals that she’s already taken care of any complications. “In a moment, your family will wake up and believe you have been on a school trip to Washington DC. All traumatic memories of your death have been erased,” Frost tells Kamala.
“This afternoon, I visited the New York coroner’s office. I’ll cut to the end: Nobody has any recollection of you dying. There will be no death certificate,” Frost continues. Is Emma Frost powerful enough to brainwash the entire planet? Apparently, that’s the case, if the story requires her to do so. But that isn't all. While wiping the minds of Yusuf and Muneeba Khan, Frost also erased their memory of Kamala’s life as Ms. Marvel.
“Unfortunately, your parents won’t know how complicated, brave and wonderful their daughter is. They won’t know she’s an Inhuman, a mutant or that she is secretly Ms. Marvel,” Emma tells Kamala. Why would Emma go through the unnecessary extra step of doing this? Wouldn’t it create more tension in Kamala’s life?
Whatever Emma's reasoning is, Kamala expresses gratitude at this news. Kamala is able to reunite with her parents, who ask how her Washington DC trip went.
What does this mean for Ms. Marvel?
The way Marvel has handled Ms. Marvel’s death and return has been nothing short of bizarre. A few months ago, her death was promoted as the most shocking issue of Amazing Spider-Man in 50 years, but now none of the characters remember it, including Kamala. The short time between her death and return also seems to cheapen the entire affair.
The controversary surrounding Kamala’s death did generate interest in Amazing Spider-Man #26, so perhaps it did its job. A revival is also a good way to promote a new series. However, there were already plenty of reasons to buy Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant without a death and resurrection. The first issue goes on sale August 30, just in time to catch some hype from the upcoming Marvel Studios film The Marvels. The MCU movie will feature Iman Vellani reprising her role as Kamala Khan. Vellani will also be co-writing Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant, alongside Sabir Pirzada.
Mindwiping Mr. and Mr. Khan is an interesting way to set up the new series. It will give Kamala more drama, as the young heroine struggles to hide her secret identity from her parents. This also complicates events over in Amazing Spider-Man. Norman Osborn was deeply affected by Kamala’s death, and the experience has brought him and Peter closer together. What happens now that neither of them will remember it? Or does Emma’s mindwipe only affect civilians?
In some ways, Emma Frost’s mindwipe serves as a reset, setting the stage for Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant. Still, if this was the plan all along, the execution feels sloppy. Why build a memorable event, only to have every character involved forget about it?