A bit of my tiny contribution to the epic London Graphic Novel Network discussion on the book by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, which is worth reading in full:
What is interesting for me about Ms Marvel is that her superpower is to change her appearance. Being a teenager is partly about experimenting with different looks and identities, and in Kamala’s case her shapeshifting brings out the (mostly subconscious) pressure she feels to conform to a certain western beauty standard – something which is not readily available to her because of her race. It’s quite a powerful moment in the comic when you realise that she is not going to take advantage of the ability she suddenly gets to appear white, blond, sexy, etc. Instead, maintaining that surface-level disguise is a distraction from the real work of saving the day. She commissions a real costume so she doesn’t have to worry about what she looks like anymore.