Excelsior! Ms. Marvel Reborn as Muslim-American Teenager

Ms. Marvel (Artist: Adrian Alphona)

Here's a strong candidate for the key recruit in "Marvel's The Avengers 3" ... or, dare we say it, the star of her own stand-alone film?

One of Marvel's most popular characters is getting a major makeover as a brand-new interpretation of Ms. Marvel will be hitting comic book stands next month. And emphasis on the "brand-new," as our new female superhero bears little to no resemblance to her predecessor.

The new Ms. Marvel is Kamala Khan, a 16-year-old Muslim-American teenager living in Jersey City and struggling with her parents' high expectations regarding a future she has little interest in. Then, one day, she's suddenly bestowed with super-powers and, well, that pretty much changes everything.

Ms. Marvel

This is a far cry from the original blonde-and-blue-eyed Ms. Marvel, a "bold new super-heroine in the senses-stunning tradition of Spider-Man," as described on the cover of "Ms. Marvel" No. 1 (January 1977). The first Ms. Marvel was Carol Danvers, a highly skilled Air Force major and CIA operative who gained super-powers after an accident with an alien Kree device left her as a perfect hybrid of Kree and human genes. She was a creation of writer Roy Thomas and artist Gene Colan, first introduced in "Marvel Super-Heroes" No. 13 (March 1968).

The old version of Ms. Marvel has been a fixture on TV cartoons, including "Super Hero Squad," in which she was a featured player, as well as appearances in "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" and "Ultimate Spider-Man."

The new Ms. Marvel looks to expand the ethnic boundaries of the Marvel universe, though without any specific political or cultural agenda.

"The inspiration for the new 'Ms. Marvel' series stemmed out of a desire to explore the Muslim-American diaspora from an authentic perspective and yet, this story isn't about what it means to be a Muslim, Pakistani or American," says "Ms. Marvel" series editor Sana Amanat. "Those are just cultural touchstones that reflect the ever-changing world we live in today. This is ultimately a tale about what it means to be young, lost amidst the expectations bestowed upon you, and what happens when you get to choose."

The Khan family from Ms. Marvel

The new Ms. Marvel may have also been partly inspired by "Persepolis," the acclaimed black-and-white French language graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi depicting her childhood up to her early adult years in Iran during and after the Islamic revolution. Originally published in 2000, it was later adapted into an animated feature film in 2007 and received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature.

No matter what her creative origins might be, the new Ms. Marvel looks to already be a hit, as social media reactions have been extremely positive:

Ms. Marvel

Kamala Khan will first appear in January 2014 in an All-New Marvel NOW! Point One comic book before headlining her own "Ms. Marvel" title beginning in February.

The creative team consists of G. Willow Wilson ("Air," "Mystic," "Alif the Unseen"), an acclaimed novelist and multi-Eisner nominee whose writings about modern religion have appeared in such outlets as New York Times Magazine and The Atlantic; and artist Adrian Alphone ("Runaways," "Uncanny X-Force").

Back in May, in a passing reference, The Hollywood Reporter noted that Marvel had a script banked for a Ms. Marvel film. But, based on the chrononology, it would seem that treatment involved the character's original incarnation.

So ... how long before we see the rebooted character as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? We have a feeling Joss Whedon raised an eyebrow or two this morning. Let the casting speculation commence.