It’s time for Ms. Marvel to make Spider-Man‘s greatest mistake – revealing her secret identity to the world. There was a time when secret identities were all the rage among superheroes; characters as diverse as Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, Iron Man and even Captain America went to incredible lengths to preserve their privacy. Tony Stark once went so far as to use an orbital satellite to erase the world’s memory of his true identity, while Steve Rogers hilariously staged his own death, leaving a fake ‘Steve’ mask at the scene in a convoluted attempt to create a new secret identity.
But now, the superhero fashion seems to be changing. Superman recently outed himself as Clark Kent in a press conference, and Tony Stark hasn’t bothered to keep his superhero identity a secret for years. Despite the changing tides, however, secret identities are still important to many heroes. Daredevil has fought tooth and nail to retain his mask, even in prison, while Spider-Man’s life was ruined when he outed himself to the public, resulting in a sniper targeting his Aunt May and Peter turning to Marvel’s devil just to straighten things out. Marvel’s teenage superheroes understandably guard their secret identities with great care, and in some cases even family members don’t know their children or siblings are putting their lives on the line every day. And yet, it’s time for one of the most prominent young heroes to give up her secret identity.
The problem is that, as a result of legislation that forces teenage superheroes to register with the US government, Kamala Khan is in a no-win scenario. She is actually the poster child of this legislation, because in her civilian identity she was injured during a Champions mission, and the law has consequently been called “Kamala’s Law.” Despite this, it is one she is implacably opposed to on moral and ethical grounds, and as Ms. Marvel she has led the last few Champions in a daring resistance to the CRADLE task force’s hunting of young heroes.
There is no easy solution to this dilemma. It is not enough to make a stand; somehow, Ms. Marvel has to win hearts and minds. She has to persuade people Kamala’s Law is wrong, and that young heroes such as the Champions are actually a force for good. She will not achieve this goal through any act of heroism, because the public will always remember the one near-tragedy that came close to costing Kamala her life.
But there is a solution. Ms. Marvel will need to take a leap of faith, choosing to give up her superhero secret identity. This action would immediately change the whole situation, because suddenly Kamala Khan would no longer be seen as an innocent victim who was caught in a vigilante crossfire, but rather as a brave young woman who chose to step into harm’s way. This is the only way Ms. Marvel can begin to win hearts and minds in Marvel’s new Civil War.
There will be a price, of course; Spider-Man’s example proved that, because his whole family wound up in the crosshairs of a sniper’s bullet. But there is no reason history has to repeat itself in Ms. Marvel’s case. Spider-Man is traditionally a loner, but Ms. Marvel is unquestionably a team player who has earned the loyalty and protection of everyone from the Avengers and X-Men (at least if Cyclops has anything to say about it) to young superheroes around the world. If Ms. Marvel can reveal her identity from a position of righteous honesty and faith in her allies, it’s possible she can turn Spider-Man‘s worst mistake into her greatest triumph.