You must have heard about Ms. Marvel – it’s the most important comic of 2014; it even says so on the cover! What’s so important about it? The new Ms. Marvel, Kamala, is a muslim. I cannot believe that it’s 2015 and stories with non-white, non-Christian people is still such a big thing. It is a step in the right direction though, that is; it’s another story.
So this review will focus on the actual story. Which is an origin story. I love a good origin story – and this one is good. Kamala is young and geeky, there is a hint of Peter Parker to her adorableness, she is funny and confused. Really, she’s just a young girl dreaming of super powers…with no clue what to do with them.
There is nothing more human than being faced with suddenly having superpowers; Super powers bestowed to you by Captain Marvel through a mysterious fog in the middle of the night. Kamala is forced to face the question of who she is and how she should be this whole other being thrust upon her. The reason origin stories are so good is because we, as readers, are forced to face the questions with Kamala. How would I change? Who would I have been with super powers. And it is an escape from the fact that all of us possess power, yet little incentive to change – there is always a possibility to escape, to run away into books, into music, into songs with a beat you can dance to. This is why we need the origin stories; to see Kamala transform her self into Ms. Marvel. She is the change we wish to see in ourselves.
But then she fails; her first big boss-fight and she runs away. She recognizes that she is losing and there is no miracle turnaround; she assesses the fight against her abilities and then she bolts. In a refreshing story arch she returns home and she realizes: “As great as it feels to be powerful..I kind of want my mom”. And in this loss she learns she can be a hero in her own way.
Every person must find their way in life and Kamala is a shining beacon on this path. She brings her friends along, she is level-headed and she lets people help her. This is far from the lone superher, and also proof that no one need die to create a good origin story. This is a cute, funny book filled with delicious pop culture references that make it ultra-contemporary. It is a classic origin story where we see Kamala transform and realize; We can transform with her, super powers or no, we all have to find our own way in life.
“Good is not a thing you are. It’s a thing you do”.
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