Today saw the release of what is probably the most talked about series in All New Marvel Now. Just take a quick search on Google News for Ms. Marvel and you’ll see dozens of news articles from the last few days alone, and most of them not comic websites. And why wouldn’t this series be talked about? It’s about a teenaged Muslim girl who becomes a superhero. There’s bound to be discussion about that, from both those excited for the book and naysayers. Is the comic good though? Well, thankfully yes.
Kamala Kahn doesn’t know where she fits in this world. She’s a Pakistani American who very much respects her family and culture, even though she’s not a fan of the restraints it brings. She’s a little socially awkward and has what some of her acquaintances consider an unhealthy obsession with superheroes. The story does an excellent job balancing between character introductions, Kamala’s Muslim faith and the story, with none of them overshadowing the others. While her faith is important to her character, she’s still perfectly relatable as someone who wants something more substantial in her life. It also strikes a near perfect balance between drama and humour.
The comic ends with her origin story as a superhero in a very entertaining way. We’ve seen the inhuman cocoons before, but now we see it from the perspective of someone trapped inside. She’s hallucinating about the heroes she dreams so much about. She emerges with her newfound powers of polymorphing, suggesting that the next issue is all about her learning about her new powers. I found the added touch of emerging while looking like the original Miss Marvel a nice touch, showing that her subconscious self is already learning to control her abilities. There’s no doubt she’ll be kind of excited about gaining powers, which only adds to the charm.
The art is just as charming as the story itself. There’s a slight cartoon style to it, but there’s a balance between that and realism. The frequent details in the environment often help tell the story, or at least offer a few extra laughs. Just look closely at the newspaper Kamala’s dad is reading. There’s an almost dreamlike quality to the fanfic scene and in Kamala’s hallucinations that helps sell the weirdness going on.
Some of Marvel’s advertising for this series compared Kamala to Peter Parker’s early years. After reading this issue, I believe that is a worthy comparison. While I doubt the new Ms. Marvel will ever be as successful or well-known as Spider-Man, I hope this series does well. This issue could have gone wrong in so many ways, but instead it gets virtually everything right. If you’re a Muslim whose been waiting for your own superhero, here she is. If you’re a fan of Carol Danvers, you should give this a shot. If you enjoy Peter Parker’s early years, this is worth checking out. There are a lot of comic fans that will very likely enjoy this issue. Just read it.