Since her creation in 2013, Marvel’s Kamala Khan–the comic book company’s new Ms. Marvel–has been one of its biggest hits. The teenage hero captures the classic Stan-and-Jack tension of a real person, living in the real world, with real problems (also, that alliterative name!), and the fact that she’s a Muslim teen from Jersey City just makes her more singular and real to readers hungry for a character with a unique perspective. That’s probably why she started appearing over anti-Islamic ads on San Francisco buses as a wheatpaste image, and why Barack Obama told Marvel editor Sana Amanat, who co-created the character, that “Ms. Marvel may be your comic book creation, but I think for a lot of young boys and girls, Sana’s a real superhero.” So it just makes sense that, as Marvel opts to educate its readers on voting, they’d leave Spidey, Wolverine, and Iron Man on the shelf, and have the enthusiastic hero take to the streets to talk voting rights.
In Ms. Marvel #13, out this month, the hero takes to the streets of Jersey City to canvas and start up a voter drive. Marvel released a five-page excerpt from the issue early, in advance of election day. While there’s a certain PSA-like element to the scene, of course, the fact that Khan’s personality is about 50% Peter Parker and 50% Leslie Knope means that the idea of her going door-to-door, in full costume, to urge people to vote feels true and authentic to the character. (Although this may not be a year in which she has to worry about low turnout.) In the end, participatory democracy proves as worthy a cause for the hero as battling Thanos–and one whose stakes are equally high.DS