The publishers of comic books are obsessed with the politically correct. Diversity and quotas are more important than dispatching evil. Spider-Man has been reimagined as a black Hispanic teenager. The Green Lantern is out of the closet. Early next year, Marvel Comics rolls out a Muslim superheroine.
Ms. Marvel is a teenage girl, Kamala Khan, with a shape-changing superpower. She will need it to dodge bullets in her new hometown of Jersey City, N.J., and assassins in her native Pakistan, where a real-life teen superheroine, Malala Yousafzai, was targeted for death by the Taliban for merely advocating sending girls to school.
Most comic-book readers are male, but this comic is different. Instead of the usual heroine with bust and gams, like Wonder Woman, Ms. Marvel is fully covered in a modest red-and-black costume (with a yellow lightning bolt). Her face is shrouded not by a Saudi-style niqab full-face veil, but by a mask similar to Batman’s sidekick Robin.
Ms. Marvel, unlike her paper-and-ink comrades, won’t advocate for “truth, justice and the American way.” If she wants to find a place on newsstands in Muslim countries, she’ll have to be careful not to anger militant Islam, even if she takes on the Great Satan. She can take her cues from Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who traveled to Saudi Arabia last week to mend fences and promptly climbed atop one. When reporters asked him what he thinks of the growing protests of Saudi women demanding the right to drive a car, he replied that he’s all for equality except when he isn’t. “We embrace equality for everybody, regardless of gender, race or any other qualification,” he says. “There’s a healthy debate in Saudi Arabia about this issue, but I think that debate is best left to Saudi Arabia.”