Society has changed, and so have its superheroes. Captain America is black, Thor is a woman and Ms. Marvel is Muslim. Jesse Holland tries to explain what it all means over at the Associated Press:

“Roles in society aren’t what they used to be. There’s far more diversity,” said [Alex] Alonso, editor and chief at Marvel Comics, who has also shepherded a gay wedding in the X-Men, a gender change from male to female in Thor and the first mainstream female Muslim hero in Ms. Marvel.

The change to a black Captain America is already having an impact outside of comics.

Even before the publication of the first issue, unauthorized images of the black Captain America were shown at a town hall meeting in St. Louis following the funeral of Michael Brown, who was 18 and unarmed when he was killed by a white police officer. This Captain America had his hands up saying “Don’t Shoot,” a slogan protesters have used to highlight the number of African Americans killed by police.

Read more.