You are about to see something amazing, nah, marvelous.
I am about to write about a non DC Comic.
As a Geek who has experienced Marvel many many times over the decades, their is nothing I intrinsically hate about the company, it’s just that the vast majority of my readings have been DC. My solitary comics box full of Marvel’s contains almost the entire Peter David run of the Hulk, a whole whackload of Mark Gruenwald’s Captain America and a smattering of other series and whatnots.
But Marvel as a company drove me nuts with the garbage they called Civil War, and topped off my anger with the travesty of One More Day. So except for a copy of Hawkeye, an okay book for me, I have not picked up a Marvel in almost a year.
And now, after another pruning of bits of The New 52 off my list (goodbye Green Arrow, Justice League Dark and Justice League League 3000, on probation Justice League America) I knew Marvel needed another look see. And just at that moment, the new Ms. Marvel was announced, followed by Original Sin. And my getting Ms. Marvel was also prodded along by @ChristasBooks and @ArdoOmer constantly cheering the project along.
And these both felt like the perfect jumping on point for this old DC junkie.
So shortly after it’s premiere, Ms. Marvel #1 came into my possession.
My Ms. Marvel, from my wee little childhood, was a character that I knew very little about and really hated the costume. Than she showed up in the Avengers, sported a neat new black outfit and suddenly was in a tale where she became the unwed mother to her own husband. Just google it and trust me. After that she was changed around, hanged with the X-Men for awhile, and besides that I have little clue, but I know it was confusing.
So Marvel creating a brand new Ms. Marvel is no surprise. And the directions they have taken with the character are truly inspiring and well done.
The first new direction, the one the media, the internet, and the entire universe seem to go on about, is that this new Ms. Marvel is Muslim. Now comics have traditionally been very very underrepresented in anything that is not straight white male punching out the bad guys, which is obvious to anyone with even the most cursory knowledge of the industry. Attempts have been ongoing for decades to rectify this, all make the medium more reflective of the real world, with results that can best be described as meh to getting better. Google Tyroc and Entrano for the horrifying worst.
Now faith for superheroes is quite often a no-go, same as politics. Not only are writers afraid to offend, but so are the companies. The best writers know how to properly deal with these character traits and feel believable and sincere. Read Roy Thomas’s run on Infinity Inc. for this style.
The second new direction, the one not noticed that much by the outside world, is that Ms. Marvel is a teenage fangirl. She writes fanfic, has an active online life, and thinks the Avengers are the bestest of them all. Doing this, without appearing goofy or condescending, is difficult, and Marvel going this way is very current.
So these two ingredients are just part of the DNA of this new Ms. Marvel. A character who encompasses so many other things as well.
We start with Kamala, a sixteen year old whose family is from Pakistan. She lives in Jersey City, has friends, a social life, and constantly wishes she could fit in more. Some people are mean to her, partly for her faith, partly for her culture, and partly just because. Her family is caring and completely non-understanding of not only Kamala’s regular so-called teen life, but of her online greatness. The need for independence and the want for inclusion brings about a decision by Kamala, one that leads to a strange experience resulting in her becoming the new Ms. Marvel.
The character and plot threads are plentiful here, and writer G Willow Wilson has wisely made nothing feel fake or forced. All sorts of possibilities exist, many years worth, of what Ms. Marvel will become like in the superhero realm, in the homefront, and in the wilds of school. Artist Adrian Alphona brings a nice realistic style to Kamala, which I love, but occasionally veers into a more cartoony feel with the supporting players, which I dislike.
How will her world saving debut go? What will happen when Ms. Marvel meets her heroes the Avengers? Will J Jonah Jameson trash her if her faith goes public? And will her brother finally get a job?
The set-up is all here, with a fine character, backstory, and interesting surroundings. This all new Ms. Marvel also has a waaay better costume than the original.
…is currently reading Zen And Now by Mark Richardson