Who Is Red Dagger in MS. MARVEL? His Comic Origins and MCU Role, Explained

Ms. Marvel episode four takes our titular teen heroine to Karachi. While there, she uncovers more truths about her powers, her great grandma Aisha, and meets a new… ally? Kareem helps her get out of a jam and seems like a cool guy, right? But who is Kareem in Ms. Marvel and what’s the deal with Red Dagger? We’re here to break down how he fits into Ms. Marvel‘s comic book past and her MCU future. 

Spoiler Alert
Who Is Ms. Marvel‘s Red Dagger?
A still from Ms. Marvel shows Kareem A.K.A. Red Dagger standing in the ornate Red Daggers hideout
Marvel Studios

Comic readers first met Kareem a.k.a. Red Dagger in 2016’s Ms. Marvel #12. The issue from G. Willow Wilson, Mirka Andolfo, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna saw Kamala head to Pakistan. With her estranged bestie Bruno off on an exchange trip to Wakanda—something we’re seeing reflected in his upcoming Cal-Tech admission in the series—she’s more alone than ever and seeks out solace in her family. As soon as she reaches her Nani’s home, Kamala discovers that her grandma has a guest, a young student named Kareem. It turns out that his mother went to school with Muneeba and Kamala’s Aunt Aisha. In an interesting twist, we see that come into play in this Ms. Marvel episode as Kareem becomes even more deeply connected to Aisha. 

It’s soon revealed that Kareem has a double life as a sweet-hearted student and as a vigilante who keeps the people of Karachi safe. In the Ms. Marvel comics, Red Dagger is a grassroots hero. But in the TV show, we see that adapted as the Red Dagger becomes a mantle that many warriors have taken on in order to protect the world from the ClanDestines. The show portrays him as a skilled fighter and dedicated hunter of the Djinn, but how does that line up to the comics? 

What Are Kareem a.k.a. Red Dagger’s Powers in the Marvel Comics?
The cover for Ms. Marvel #24 shows Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel tied to the Red Dagger with his signature scarf
Marvel Comics/Valerio Schiti

Red Dagger is more of a classical teen superhero in the Ms. Marvel comics and Kareem’s powers are essentially his expert marksmanship and knife and hand-to-hand combat fighting skills. His drive comes from grit, determination, and a need to keep his people safe. Kareem is also a marksman and knife fighter in episode four of Ms. Marvel, obviously retaining this from the comics. His signature weapons are throwing knives and he’s very good at using them. He’s only been in 10 issues, so there’s not much more to dig into. But we’ll likely see his role and power set expanded in the MCU.

What Is Red Dagger’s Connection to Ms. Marvel in the MCU?
A still from Ms. Marvel shows Kareem AKA the Red Dagger and Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel standing in Karachi in superhero poses
Marvel Studios

Unlike the comics, we meet Red Dagger before we meet Kareem. His connection to Aisha is reimagined here, not as a familial friend but as a deadly enemy. In the MCU, Kareem—or Kimo, as his friends call him—has been trained to find the ClanDestines and the bangle in order to stop them from destroying the human world. Apparently the exiled Djinn want to tear down the veil between Noor and Earth to remake Kamala’s world into their own. The Red Daggers have long been trying to stop that from happening and Kareem is their newest mantle holder. Kamala makes a deep connection with both Kareem and Waleed here, becoming a sort of honorary member of the group. At this point, Ms. Marvel doesn’t have to worry about Red Dagger being an enemy. But there’s always a small plot twist chance.

Will Red Dagger Play a Larger Part in the MCU?
A still from Ms. Marvel episode four shows Red Dagger in a super hero pose on the Karachi train station platform
Marvel Studios

It seems pretty likely at this point. If we look at the comics, his role would be more of a love interest and dramatic love triangle instigator than anything else. After his first appearance, Red Dagger didn’t appear in the comics again until Ms. Marvel #23. Relocating to New Jersey, Red Dagger became an ally and annoyance to Kamala in her hometown. He also caused issues between the teen hero and Bruno when the latter returned from Wakanda and saw the pair smooching. 

We assume that with the MCU expanding and needing more heroes than ever to keep the franchise alive, Red Dagger will likely have a bigger role to play in Ms. Marvel and beyond. As we move forward we expect to see more teams like the Young Avengers, Champions, and offshoots appear. It feels natural to us that someone like Kareem could play a big part in those plans. What will really let us know, though, is how the story of the ClanDestines ends. If the Djinn are defeated by the end of the season, the need for the Red Daggers might be less. But if they represent a bigger threat to the MCU, then there’s even more reason for the hero to stick around. 

Featured Image: Marvel Studios

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