SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "Ms. Marvel" #12, which is on sale now.
"Civil War II" has been rough for Kamala Khan. In her first major event as an Avenger, the young Ms. Marvel felt the joy of being trusted by her hero Captain Marvel. She also felt the pain of disagreeing with her hero and having to take a stand against her. On top of all that, her actions resulted in the hospitalization of her oldest friend Bruno, and now that friendship looks like it's over.
Because of all that stress, "Ms. Marvel" #12 (from writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Mirka Andolfo) finds Kamala taking a much needed leave of absence as she spends a month in Karachi with her extended family. And yes, as the daughter of immigrants, Kamala has a lot of extended family in Pakistan.
Kamala stays in the building owned by her maternal grandmother, even getting the very room that once belonged to her mother. Of course getting that room means the current tenant has to be temporarily moved. That current tenant? A teenage boy named Kareem, a family friend that's staying in the room while he studies for his university entrance exams.
Being a superhero, Kamala's getaway is not without incident. Mere hours after landing in Pakistan, she hears an explosion. Kareem explains to Kamala that water cartels are blowing up water sources in order to force people to buy from them.
Since she's on a break from her heroing, Kamala tries to not get involved. After all, she didn't even bring her superhero suit! She instead passes the time praying, listening to stories, riding horses, visiting the beach and writing in her journal. But the explosions don't stop, and Kamala learns from Kareem that they've become all too common in recent weeks.
"The corruption, the chaos...so many people are leaving now to get away from it," says Kareem. "Going to the UK or the U.S. or the Gulf. Sometimes I think, 'If everyone leaves, who's left to fix things?' And then I think, 'What exactly is left to fix?'" Kamala insists that there's "a lot worth saving" in Karachi, but Kareem replies that "doing the saving breaks your heart."
With that, Kamala cobbles together a version of her costume and takes the fight to the water cartel's truck, using her metamorph powers to knock it off road and apprehend two cartel members.
And that's when we meet Laal Khanjeer (or The Red Dagger), one of Pakistan's own superheroes. And no, he's not too thrilled about an outsider like Ms. Marvel stepping in.
He's angry that Ms. Marvel destroyed the truck and its water while stopping the cartel. As he explains, there's another side to this problem; there are people that don't have access to water that are glad the cartel's selling it to them. Ms. Marvel and The Red Dagger makes amends and shake hands before separating.
The next morning, both Kamala and Kareem look a bit frazzled, as they share one final conversation before she returns to Jersey City to face her problems. While it's not explicitly stated in the issue, it's heavily hinted that Kareem is the Red Dagger; reading his speech to Kamala earlier in the issue almost reads like an admission after reading the Red Dagger's introduction.
Whether or not we'll see more of Laal Khanjeer remains to be seen, but the introduction of this character establishes that there are plenty of superheroes active in Pakistan. "Ms. Marvel" #13 arrives in stores on November 30.