This Unsatisfactory Character Type Will Be Retired in Marvel

This Unsatisfactory Character Type Will Be Retired in Marvel ...

This week,Ms. Marvel has one of the most unusual surprises in the Marvel Cinematic Universe''s history. (In other words, spoilers will come up if you want to know something.)

Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) has acquired super powers, but does not know where they came from. Najma, a warm and friendly lady who helped Kamalaavoid arrest after a rescue mission went wrong, explains how her powers stem from her ancestors. One of them was a member of an ancient interdimensional race known as the Clandestines.

Najma goes on to describe where the bangle came from, and how Kamala''s great-grandmother found it. In a sweetly supportive voice, she encourages Kamala to embrace her destiny and to use the bangle to return the exiled Clandestines to their homes. She allows Kamala to return to the country to decide what she should do and to explore her powers more fully.

So obviously about three scenes later,Najmaturn turns out to be pure evil and attempts to kill Kamala and her whole family in order to steal the villain.

Najmas'' actions will not shocklongtime Marvel viewers. She is the latest example of a Marvel stock villain type: The seemingly benevolent mentor who is secretly a power-mad conqueror. At this point the company has repeatedly lost its capacity to startle an audience.

It may be useful that Marvel Studios'' most famous villain was a mentor-gone-bad figure. Stane was Tony Starks fathers partner in Stark Industries; after Tony''s father''s death, Stane kept the company running until Tony was ready to take over the business.

SoObadiah Stane would have us believe! Hes secretly hired a terrorist organization known as the Ten Rings to kill Tony so that he may control Stark Industries. When that plan fails, Tony steals his Iron Man software and creates his own suit of armorto use against his former friend.

When Marvel doesn''t have a really well-established canonical villain to draw on for a particular movie or show, their default choice is an evil mentor figure. InGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, they rewritten the past of former Marvel Comics character Ego the Living Planet (played by Kurt Russell) to transform him into a sweet cosmic being whospentdecades looking for his missing son, Star-Lord.

SoEgowould let us go! In fact, Ego wants to steal Star-Lords power for himself.

Captain Marvel, who lives in the Starforce, believes in working for a peacekeeping group of warriors named Jude Laws Yon-Rogg. He only wants to help Captain Marvel save the galaxy as a member of Starforce.

So, Yon-Rogg would have us believe! In the light of the accident that gave Captain Marvel her powers and erased her memory. He wantsto take that powerfor himself, and hell kills Captain Marvel to get it.

After two movies, Spider-Man receives his own evil mentor in the form ofFar From Homes Mysterio. In the film, Mysterio presents himself as a displaced hero from another reality.

Or so Mysterio would have us believe! In fact, he uses advanced drone technology to make it appear that he has superpowers. He wants Iron Man bequeathed to Spider-Man before he died, and he uses the ruse that hes a distant soul from across the multiverse to get it.

The secretly evil mentor trope has become even more prevalent in Marvel. TheEternals spend the majority of their movies believing they are on Earth to protect the populace from the evil Deviants, only to realize that their Celestial master Arishem has been lying to them about their true purpose for centuries.Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens with a different dimension Dr. Strange is trying to stealAmerica Chavezs abilities. (Youre killing me! she tears as he gains dimension-hopping energy. I know

Most Disney+ shows have included a sinister mentor figure as well. Kate Bishop discovers her mother works for the Kingpin. InMoon Knight, Marc Spector, and Steven Grantlearn believe Khonshu may be manipulating them to his own less-than-noble purposes. Now theresMs. Marvel, which barely goes a whole episode before revealing thatNajma and the Clandestines are not helping Kamala out of the kindness of their hearts.

All these examples don''t include even the more generalized surprise villains in Marvel films and shows, like Laurence Fishburnes Bill Foster fromAnt-Man and the Wasp, or the less uninteresting (albeit morally ambiguous) mentors, like the Ancient One from the originalDoctor Strange, who reveals where her immorality comes from.

After 28 movies and a half-dozen television shows, it''s difficult not to repeat yourself occasionally. Many Marvels movies and comics willfully and deliberately recycle the same basic story elements over and over: The arrogant jerk who discovers the importance of selflessness and responsibility; theteam of outsiders coming togetherto learn the power of friendship and teamwork. For longtime Marvel fans, there''s a lot of pleasure inwatchingthesestock beats over and over.

These mentor figures are meant toastonish us when a character like Najma appears in a Marvel film or series. It''s only a matter of time before they break bad and reveal their true colors.Marvel would be wise to paint their antagonists with somedifferentshades, at least for a while.

(Or if so, I would have you believe).

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