Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal |
by G. Woodrow Wilson & Adrian Alphona (Marvel, 2014)
A Pakistani-American female lead in a superhero story would be enough to cause a huge amount of buzz around a comic. But Kamala Khan, a Muslim girl from New Jersey and the new Ms. Marvel, is a well-written, likeable and fun character to boot. She's an adorably kooky, very real person with a life, family and background of her own, trying to balance her superhero life with school, friends and family expectations. Helped out by a decent story and a good stable of supporting characters, No Normal is a great new series for the most recent Marvel line.
Exposed to the Terrigen Mists as part of the fallout of the Infinity storyline, high-schooler Kamala Khan meets Ms. Marvel in a sort of dream-state and takes on her powers after wishing she could be just like the superhero. She gets her wish, in more ways than she realized: not only does she take on the powers of Ms. Marvel, she physically becomes the blond-haired hero whenever she suits up. It's a perfect way to protect her real identity, but shapeshifting can have a huge impact on an already complicated identity struggle. Kamala just wants to fit in at school and do all the things her classmates do, but it's just about impossible due to the strictness of her traditional family. There's nothing evil or bad about her family; they are devoted to their values and that's part of what informs, and strengthens, Kamala's character as a hero.
Kamala's family are immigrants in a land that can be hostile to Muslims, a factor that really adds to her underdog status. But most heroes are, and that's what makes her appealing. Despite her powers, she's just a kid trying to figure it all out. Like the early teenage Spider-Man, Kamala is awkward yet brave, kooky yet smart, and all-around endearing.
The art is terrific and the action isn't bad at all. The new Ms. Marvel is an engaging, relatable 16-year-old superhero. This is a terrific comic for girls and anyone who likes unique, new stories.
26 September 2015
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