As the past 10 months have made clear, New Jersey is chockablock with heroes. To the best of our knowledge, however, none can shrink to several centimeters in size, sprout translucent wings and emit bursts of electricity from her hands or change shape at will and extend her arms and legs. The wings, logically enough, belong to The Wasp — aka Janet Van Dyne, born in Cresskill. Van Dyne is the socialite daughter of wealthy scientist Vernon van Dyne, who’s killed by an alien entity unleashed during one of his experiments. Actually, the stumbling block to this backstory isn’t the wasp wings and “stinger” bolts, it’s that it takes place in the leafy suburb of Cresskill, which had a median family income of $128,382, according to the census bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey. The Wasp is the creation of Marvel Comics.
Ms. Marvel — aka Kamala Khan — is a 16-year-old Pakistani American from Jersey City who discovers she possesses Inhuman genes. That’s Inhuman with a capital “I” — in superhero-land it refers to “a race that was evolutionarily advanced when human beings were still in the Stone Age.” Those genes give her the power to shape-shift at will. They also speed her ability to heal. That ability comes in handy when Ms. Marvel battles a human-sized rogue cockatiel created when a local scientist attempts to clone Thomas Edison but zaps his pet instead, resulting in a monstrous creature with a mad, but brilliant brain. And you thought Cresskill was weird?
Khan is Marvel’s first Muslim character to headline her own comic book.
Tracking down superheroes isn’t an easy task — the whole secret identity thing, right? If you know of others based in the Garden State, give a shout. Surely there’s a superhero in South Jersey.