If you’ve been wanting to read the adventures of a new superhero in a world filled with said hero’s idols and what not, then Ms. Marvel absolutely has to be the book you should be reading. If you want to read a book about a teenage superhero struggling with the first steps in a world of heroics and the resultant headaches, Ms. Marvel is the book for you. If you want to read a book about a female teen superhero, Ms. Marvel has to be your first stop. And if you want to read a book about a female teen superhero of colour AND a faith not Christian or atheist or whatever, then Ms. Marvel has to be at the top of you reading pile.
In their first two issues, the creative team of G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring have done something incredible. They’ve managed to write a female teen superhero, who is Muslim and the daughter of first-generation Pakistani immigrants, without any grandiosity or pomposity. This is a book that connects with the average reader and gives them something unique and yet familiar. The new issue, out yesterday, is the best issue yet and it solidifies what kind of a character Kamala Khan is going to be and how she is going to tackle her superhero identity of Ms. Marvel.
In the first couple issues we saw how the Terrigen Mists from the end of the Infinity event last year ended up affecting the life or a plain jane teenage Muslim girl named Kamala Khan in New York. She left home one night, snuck out for a party rather, and ended up getting caught in a Terrigen cocoon that transformed her from a regular human being to an Inhuman. Now, she has polymorphic powers (there’s some weird slang differentiation here that I don’t recall at the top of my head) and can embiggen or enshorten any part of her body, and even change her appearance as well. Of course, being a teenager, she has to do with not just superheroics, but with navigating her daily life alongside her conservative parents and an obedient elder brother.
In the third issue, we see how Kamala continues to explore her new powers and how she continues to get into one trouble after another. She has already been placed under a curfew by her parents and on top of all that her powers both frighten and excite her. It is a conundrum all right, one that she is uniquely placed to confront and overcome, I have to say.
What I love best about this series and this issue in particular is how normal Kamala’s life is, in general. Sure, the book has all the hallmarks and tropes of the genre with a brand-new superhero but there’s such a deep sense of normality to all of it that it just makes me wonder if it is the seeming realism of the stories or that G. Willow Wilson is just that good. Which could be the same thing I suppose. And in many a way, Kamala is the new Peter Parker, or Peter Parker as he was in teenage years when he first got bitten by a radioactive spider. The stories are on the same sort of scale, and they deal with everyday problems for the hero.
Another great thing is that after doing some very basic and “normal” heroics in the last couple issues, this issue Kamala has to deal with her face criminal heroics, and this is where the issue kicks into character development overdrive. Some familiar words come to mind: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility. Wise words said by a wise man many, many years ago. They apply here too, and we see just what kind of a hero Kamala intends to be as the new Ms. Marvel.
Once again, Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring deliver some stunning artwork. I loved how Kamala and her supporting cast looked all through this issue. Strong characterwork and visual story-flow combined with strong sense of colour with lots of excellent moments all through the issue. I just love when Kamala freaks out. It is rather cute. Alphona and Herring make it all rather cartoony and yet realistic in a way, so that helps too. The best panel in the entire issue has to be the final page. Just the sense of dread and abnormality that it evokes is enough to give me shivers.
Overall, another highly exciting and satisfying read from a top-class creative team.