I’ve tended to read specific graphic novels and comics and not really venture out of my comfort zone but I found Ms. Marvel Volume 1 for free on Kindle Prime Reading and thought I’d give it a go. It had been pretty highly recommended and I was interested to see this take on a muslim teenager becoming a superhero.
It was obviously a first volume so we had a fair amount of info dump and exposition but the bones of the story were solid. I can’t judge American muslim teenagers that well (being from the UK) but she felt realistic when I compared her to my friends here in Leicester. General parental issues with westernisation but still wanting their daughter to fit in and have a good life. Kamala Khan definitely felt familiar to me but in a way that wasn’t stereotyped.
I also liked that a working knowledge of the Marvel universe helped with the plot – the use of Terrigen to give Kamala her powers. And it was fun to watch her struggle with the practicalities of becoming a hero; where do you get the stretchy costumes from and the outfits aren’t particularly modest!
It was also good to see a more realistic take on the world in that this wasn’t a story about super villains taking over the world but more localised in scale and something that you are prepared to accept a 15 year old dealing with. The worry of those around her – both those who know her abilities and those who don’t – also felt honest and real given her age, race, and religion.
In terms of visuals the artist has a detailed, slightly punky and exaggerated, style which works well for the comic. Each panel is packed full of detail and some interesting skewed angles. It fits with the urban nature of the comic and character.
It’s definitely worth a read and I will probably pick up some more of the series. And I’m looking forward to Kamala getting her own movie soon.