This was just what I needed after A Dirty Job. I quickly zipped through volumes 1 and 2 of the new Ms. Marvel series and loved EVERY. SINGLE. FRAME. The most important thing you should take from this review is that you should go buy Ms. Marvel comics, and maybe a costume, too. Lets give Kamala Khan all our money and hope Marvel keeps her and keeps her awesome.
Kamala Khan, our new Ms. Marvel, is a 16 yr old muslim, Pakistani American girl who lives in Jersey City. She goes to high school, she is a comics nerd, she writes X-men fan-fiction. She begins caught between two worlds and it only gets worse when her powers are awakened. She is funny, smart, geeky and awkward. She writes superhero fan fic and she’s a gamer. She loves her family, but they do not understand her, superhero powers or not. As with most teen girls, she feels isolated and uncertain of who she wants to be. As with many children of immigrants, the pieces of her identity don’t fit together smoothly.
I don’t want to take away from the innate awesomeness of Kamala Khan by talking about boobs, but I do need to talk about boobs. I have boobs, I like them, they can be both useful and attractive. Comic books have a reputation for making boobs a central feature of their females characters. It isn’t limited to superhero comics – please see Mrs. Julien’s review of the Outlander graphic novel. Boobtastic and otherwise scanty costumes in superhero comics are so common there are a number of websites devoted to the issue. I also discussed it in my review of Guardians of the Galaxy: Legacy. Miss Marvel/Ms. Marvel/Capt. Marvel has gone through several costumes and recently acquired pants. Yay, pants!
What is that sash even for?
When Kamala’s powers awaken and she assumes the identity of Ms. Marvel, she initially decides to go old school, politically incorrect Ms. Marvel with no pants and thigh-high high-heeled boots. And blond. She must be white and blond in order to be Ms. Marvel. She quickly comes to understand the value of pants. In just a few pages, G. Willow Wilson lays out the problem with representation in comics. And then moves past it without sledgehammering the lesson home. She does make the point quite pointedly, but not ungracefully.
Ms. Marvel gets an enemy, a mentor, a team, and a sidekick. It’s not a dark origin story. Which was fine with me. There will be plenty of time for Kamala to experience angst, loss and betrayal. I enjoyed Kamala’s adventures more than I can express. Volume 3 comes out this summer.