It’s a little weird reading comics after so many years. I used to be an avid collector and dreamt of being an artist one day, until I figured out that I could get more entertainment for less money by reading novels.
So I haven’t really read many comics in about 20 years. But I do miss the art.
The art here by Adrian Alphona and David Lopez is pretty great, though very different, stylistically. Alphona is looser, less compact, which is actually perfect for the characters. Ms. Marvel is young and new, she’s just figuring out what her powers are. The seeming lack of polish adds an extra layer of insecurity to the story that I found pleasant.
53. Ms. Marvel (Vol. 1): No Normal by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona (4 stars; reviewed 12 times with an average rating of 4.09)
There is a long, well recognized history in comics that some of the greatest creators were young Jewish men creating empowering characters for a world that was often very antagonistic towards them.
Jerry Siegal and Joe Schuster created Superman in 1933, and he first appeared in Action Comics five years later. Bob Kane and Bill Finger created Batman shortly thereafter. Meanwhile, in 1940, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created Captain America. Stan Lee would work on some of these early issues, and go on to create (with Jack Kirby) most of the other iconic characters we are currently enjoying in movie form: the X-Men, Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, the Avengers, Daredevil, Spider-Man…….
All of these men were Jewish and worked both immediately before WWII and in the decades after. That fighting against hatred, injustice, and tyranny were major themes of comic books is no coincidence.
Ms. Marvel has a good pedigree in that regard. Kamala Kahn is of Pakistani heritage living in post 9/11 Jersey City. And her ethnicity and Islamic roots are very much a part of her character. Writer and co-creator G. Willow Wilson is Muslim and lived in Egypt in her 20s.
Fundamentally, though, this is more Spiderman than Captain America. Ms. Marvel isn’t overtly political. Kahn is 16 years old, and she’s trying to navigate the treacherous waters of adolescence while being given great power. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that her religion or ethnicity are incidental (neither are), but it’s written well enough to not feel like there’s a message here. I think Wilson did a superb job creating a likable, familiar character that fits perfectly into the typical teenage superhero trope while also having her be Muslim and Pakistani.
I don’t know that the book pulled me in enough to cause me to read the next volume (I’m still not much of a comic reader), but I find the book to be enjoyable.
54. Captain Marvel (Vol. 1): Higher, Further, Faster, More by Kelly Sue Deconnick & David Lopez (3 stars; reviewed 3 times with an average rating of 3.0)
As I understand it, Marvel keeps changing the identity of Captain Marvel to maintain the trademark on the name. Carol Danvers, the Captain Marvel in this book, is supposed to be a fan favorite, and will be getting her own movie.
She is, I suppose, Marvel’s response to DC’s Superman. She can fly, is virtually indestructible, and super strong. She’s also an Avenger, and has been tasked, by Tony Stark, with helping the Guardians of the Galaxy.
And that’s….pretty much all I really remember about this book. I read it to give myself a George RR Martin break, so it’s been a few weeks, but this story just didn’t stick with like Ms. Marvel did. Which I guess means I’m recommending that you skip it if you weren’t really looking forward to it already. It wasn’t bad, per say, but unremarkable and relatively forgettable.