Kamala Khan has taken on a number of foes as Ms. Marvel, including the very real villains that are gentrification, Islamophobia, and racism, as well as Donald Trump (which is not actually in the comics, but is a great fan-made image). The latest issue of the Pakistani-American and Muslim character's comic provides the backstory of Khan’s heritage, taking the reader straight to 1947, right in the midst of the Partition of India.
When India gained independence from Great Britain that year, the country had been hurriedly divided up according to religious and geographic lines, sort of a horrific last-minute goodbye present from the U.K. that only fueled the already tense and violent religious and ethnic tensions. Millions found themselves in the “wrong country” and packed up their lives to trek to the “right” side of the border in what is considered the largest mass migration in human history. Hundreds of thousand of people lost their lives in horrific religious massacres.
In a flashback, Ms. Marvel focuses on Kamala’s Muslim maternal grandparents Kareem and Aisha, who is pregnant, as they flee their Bombay homes for Karachi, Pakistan. The India-Pakistan tensions mirror the overarching Civil War II storyline.
Ms. Marvel is consistently praised for its progressiveness, but to take the reader back in time and shed light on a dark and violent moment in India and Pakistan’s history shows that the authors don't just want to deconstruct the idea of a monolithic South Asian identity. They want to explore what it means to be an immigrant.