Ms Marvel Volume 1 by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

/ posted in: Reading

Kamala Khan is an Avengers fan fiction writing sixteen-year-old girl in Jersey City.  She wishes that she wasn’t known for being different than her classmates.  Her family immigrated from Pakistan and is Muslim.  Kids know that her parents are strict and that she eats weird food.

When she is given the opportunity to become Ms. Marvel, her first thought is to tell The current Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers)  that she will be using the original costume and boots with a wedge heel to be authentic just like the geek girl that she is.  She turns into a tall, blonde woman in a revealing costume and realizes that this isn’t what she thought it would be.  It turns out that the boots pinch and the leotard rides up.

She’s not very good at being a super hero either.  She can’t quite get control of her powers and her first attempts at saving people have a tendency to make things worse instead of better.  Besides, she’s grounded for sneaking out at night.

I’m not a huge graphic novel fan.  They are too short to interest me usually.  But, I had heard of this one because of the change from the blonde Ms Marvel to the Pakistani Ms Marvel.  I decided to check it out.  I didn’t realize before that it was written by G. Willow Wilson who wrote The Butterfly Mosque about her conversion to Islam.  My review here.

I liked the idea of choosing a girl who was so well versed in super heroes that she had thought out what she would do if she ever had the chance and then having her realize that it isn’t going to be like her fantasies at all.  I think all of us who are into any kind of genre think we know how to negotiate those worlds if we were thrust into them.  We are probably wrong too.

I loved the artwork.  The backgrounds are snarky.  I appreciate snark.  There is an ad for Fair & Pastey skin cream in a store window.  Kamala eats G.M.O’s cereal with the slogan “Listen to your gut, not the lawsuits.”

The characters feel real.  After complaining (not the first time apparently) about having to sit behind a screen during youth classes at her mosque so the imam and male students don’t see her, she and her friend sneak out to the local convenience store because they realize that the imam won’t be able to tell if they are gone.

This volume combined the first few comics into one book.  I’ll be interested to see where they take the character from here.