Kamala Khan is a fairly new addition to the Marvel Universe. Created by Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker, along with writer and artists G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona and Jamie McKelvie, Ms. Marvel first appeared in Captain Marvel #14 in 2013. She has since become one of the premier Muslim superheroes in comics and is known for her positive personality and inner fortitude. That being said, she often gets a bad rap for her inhuman powers being too similar to Mr. Fantastic’s. In reality, her powers are almost entirely different and even more powerful.
While Mr. Fantastic is known for his superior intellect, the powers granted to Reed Richards after his exposure to cosmic rays allow him nearly limitless elasticity. While this helps him with multi-tasking and experiments, his powers are limited to his stretching ability. Ms. Marvel can also stretch her molecular structure, but in ways Richards could only dream of. Kamala is a polymorph, which means that she can use her elasticity to shapeshift.
Typically, Kamala is shown using these abilities to grow her hands for powerful punches or her feet for devastating kicks, in conjunction with her stretching abilities. But what separates her from her contemporary is that she can also shrink her entire body and grow — like Ant-Man but without Pym Particles. In comparison, Mr. Fantastic can compress or expand his body but can’t shrink down or grow as Kamala can.
Kamala can also shapeshift and change her appearance as needed. While Reed can change his facial features to look like another person, Kamala can change her entire look to fit someone else. This is immediately showcased when her powers first appear, emerging from her cocoon looking exactly like her idol, Carol Danvers. Kamala can also change form into inanimate objects like couches. However, this ability hinders her most unique and powerful ability, to heal, as she can only do so once shifted back to her true form.
Like Wolverine, Kamala can heal from injury, though not to the same extent as Logan, who can heal even after grievous bodily harm. Kamala has been shown surviving gunshot wounds, but it takes time to completely heal. This also takes up a lot of her energy. As a result, she puts more focus on healing than she does shapeshifting. However, the healing factor also grants her enhanced durability, allowing her to hit harder and stay in the fight much longer. This is another area where Kamala succeeds over Reed Richards, as he lacks a similar healing factor.
In her short time as a hero, Kamala Khan has proven time and again that she has what it takes to fight in the big leagues with the power to back it up. She’s also proven that while she uses her abilities to stretch and hit hard, she’s nothing like Mr. Fantastic. Hopefully, her new Disney+ series, Ms. Marvel, will also put her skills and strength to the test. But no matter what, her powers set her apart from even the most basic stretching abilities. Not to mention that her control over those abilities makes her even more powerful than the Fantastic Four’s leader.
Starring Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan/the titular hero, Disney+’s Ms. Marvel series has yet to receive a release date.