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March 21, 2014 / Jett

Ms. Marvel #1 Review

By the time I started reading comics, Carol Danvers had already left her Ms. Marvel persona behind to become Captain Marvel. I have no preconceived notions for what that character should be beyond her signature lightning bolt bathing suit, but the new Ms. Marvel definitely caught my eye. Not only for the fact that Muslim characters are rarely featured in western comics, but because it’s something I can empathize with. I’m not of Muslim descent myself, but many of my friends are, as I grew up a community with a large Muslim population. With issue #1 having recently hit store shelves, Steff picked up Kamala Kamal’s debut outing and I gave it a read.

Kamala is a Pakistani-American teenager living in New Jersey. As if life wasn’t hard enough being a teenager, she also has to deal with the inherent cultural hurdles of her situation. She’s pressured by her parents to follow Muslim tradition, but pressured the other way by her American classmates to assimilate with their culture. While I think her Yankee peers are fairly run-of-the-mill, I think she and her family are very well realized, especially considering the fact that any subtle mistakes could have put this story on shaky ground.

Besides that, we also learn that she’s a huge fan of super heroes. Then again, who isn’t? In particular, Carol Danvers is her idol. Kamala comes off as likeable and quirky. So far, she seems like someone that’s going to be easy to root for.

If I were to criticize the book for anything, it’s for the way in which they handle the big reveal. Not sure if she was in the midst of a fever dream, or if the Avengers also have the ability to hand out super powers to anyone, but it’s not really clear exactly how she becomes Ms. Marvel. If there’s any consolation, the way in which she’s portrayed as Ms. Marvel will definitely keep readers scratching their heads, especially for those who have seen what she’s actually going to look like going forward.

Rebooting Ms. Marvel in this way looked to be a big risk on paper, but proved to be a success. I really like this approach not just for bringing a new aspect to western super hero comics, but because it’s well done in its own right. Looking forward to seeing Kamala kick butt in the next issue!

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