Few games drummed up as much excitement at this year’s E3 video game conference in June as the new Marvel’s Avengers title. But besides some early gameplay shots, there’s been practically radio silence from Marvel and Square Enix since. That is, until this epic reveal timed to New York Comic Con. We got a wealth of new details about the 2020 game, the most exciting of which was a first look at our badass protagonist, Kamala Khan, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel.
Kamala, who is only about six years young in Marvel time, threw us for a Snake/Raiden loop when it was announced that she is the sixth playable character in Marvel’s Avengers—and for all intents and purposes, the story’s main protagonist. Her origin story is heavily integrated into the events of the game’s narrative, giving us a lot of background to the character.
When Marvel’s Avengers debuted a three-minute-long trailer at E3, we learned that following the traumatic events of “A-Day,” which leave San Francisco in ruin, the Avengers (presumably) lose Captain America (even though we’re really not buying that) and disband. Then the heroes all get outlawed by evil comic mainstay A.I.M., a network that hates superheroes and believes the world can be saved with science and tech; you know the drill by now. What we now know is that at A-Day, Kamala, a noted superhero nut and Captain Marvel’s number-one fan, gets exposed to a mist, thus granting her elasticity and shape-shifting powers. Kamala then proceeds to work to reunite the shambled Avengers and take down A.I.M.
Kamala, a Pakistani-American teen, was introduced as Ms. Marvel in 2013, and she rapidly won fans over with her mix of extremely relatable fan-girl nature, coupled with her superhuman passion for criminal and social justice. Her late addition to the Marvel universe really could have felt like an artificially woke, “how do you do, fellow kids” moment, but it was handled with such grace and dignity that it’s hard not to absolutely love her. While Kamala did appear in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 for Switch earlier this year alongside a huge cast, Marvel’s Avengers will really give her the star role she deserves. (And there are reports that she’s getting her own live-action TV show on Disney+.)
Aside from the promising origin story, Ms. Marvel plays great in the video game. Actually, the whole game plays great. I got hands-on time playing with all six heroes—Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, Thor, and Ms. Marvel—and I’m honestly blown away. The amount of depth with each character feels nearly as flushed out as it was with Insomniac’s excellent Spider-Man game from last yet. And in addition to these six, Square Enix plans on adding more DLC heroes, all for free, post-launch, along with further customization options, including a Joe Fixit Hulk costume and retro Avengers outfits.