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Ms. Marvel #1 (Classic, politically incorrect costume Spoile

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Ms. Marvel #1 (Classic, politically incorrect costume Spoile

Postby Punchy » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:56 am

Most of the discourse around the launch of this new Ms. Marvel series and character has been about how ‘important’ it is, how you need to buy it to support diversity in comics and all that stuff. But to me, all of that means nothing if the actual comic itself is bad. We shouldn’t praise comics for being diverse or important, they should just be good. And luckily, on the basis of this first issue, Ms. Marvel is not only good, but very good indeed. After only 1 issue, G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona have created an engaging, unique character in Kamala Khan, and a character with a different perspective and style from most of what is on the stands, and a title that could very well go up there with Ultimate Spider-Man and Runaways as the best teenaged superhero titles ever.

Wilson is taking things fairly slowly here, as the superhero element doesn’t really kick in until right at the end of the issue, but that works for me. Kamala is a new character, and we need to know what her life was like before she became a superhero. People complained about Ultimate Peter Parker not becoming Spider-Man for like, 4 issues, but it made the origin that much more impactful, and the same applies here. The issue begins with Kamala and her friend Kiki (AKA Nakia) in a convenience store talking to Bruno, another friend who works there. From the very first page we are seeing Kamala struggle with her identity as a Muslim as she eyes up a bacon sandwich, wanting to try it, or just smell it. A bit more tension is introduced when some white fellow students also come into the store. Wilson writes this scene very well, as Zoe and her boyfriend aren’t at all outright racist, but they do display ignorance about Muslim culture.

I know I shit-talked praising comics for simply being diverse earlier, but I think this title could do a good job at educating people about what Islam is like and challenging stereotypes. We see that again in Kamala’s home-life, which shows a varied range of devoutness. After seeing a bit of her Avengers fan-fic (which was dumb, but funny, and sure to endear the character to fans), it’s time for dinner. Kamala, as we’ve already seen feels chafed by her culture, but her parents actually seem fairly moderate, chastising her brother for praying too much, and showing that he uses religion as an excuse for not getting a job. We also see this with Kiki, who has recently started wearing a headdress, which her parents are actually opposed to. It seems that many people view all Muslims as fundamentalists who worship constantly, but, just like Christianity, some people are just moderately religious. It’s a spectrum and Ms. Marvel is showing a lot of different sides of it. Kamala asks to go to a party she was invited to by Zoe, but her dad forbids it, causing her to sneak out.

The party is pretty damn awkward as the dumb jock Josh gives her some booze, and is generally pretty offensive. I like the fact that Kamala seems trapped between two different worlds, she feels like her home life is too restrictive, but is out of place in amongst the non-Muslim kids at school. Perhaps the most important part of making the character a Muslim is that it makes her an outsider, which I feel is important for teen heroes. Every teen, no matter their race, feels like an outsider, like nobody understands them, and superhero comics need to convey that. Back in the 1960s, liking science and wearing glasses was enough to make Peter Parker a bullied outcast, but now, stuff like that is ‘cool’ so the best way to make someone an outsider is culturally. Kamala isn’t out-right bullied like Peter Parker was, but there’s definitely tension there.

Kamala leaves the party after Bruno tells her to, and she wanders right into a mysterious mist. This is the Terrigen mist from Inhumanity, but wisely, Wilson doesn’t say that, it’s better to make this stand on it’s own for now. Kamala is knocked out, and has a vision of Captain America, Iron Man, and most importantly, Captain Marvel. They are speaking Urdu and basically tell her that she’s at a cross-roads, and she needs to decide who she wants to be. She tells Captain Marvel that she wants to be a like her, and when she comes out of her cocoon… she is! Kamala comes out looking exactly like classic Carol Danvers, in her old costume, and white as white can be. This was a great ending, and one that surprised me. Kamala didn’t want to be different and brown, and now she isn’t, but I don’t think it will make her happy.

Adrian Alphona’s art is a big part of why this issue was so good, I’ve been a fan of his ever since Runaways, and it’s great to have him back in comics, and on a teenaged character. I like the adjustments he’s made to his style too, it’s a bit more cartoonish and stylised, but it really works. Every character is recognisable and seems to have personality, and hey, he draws one hell of a creepy mist.

This was a very enjoyable debut issue, G. Willow Wilson, who I haven’t read anything from before, has really delivered here, the characters feel real, the depiction of Islam is realistic and not sensationalised, and whilst the superheroic elements aren’t really a factor yet, I’m excited to see how they are handled. Don’t buy Ms. Marvel because somebody told you to because it’s important and fits into an agenda… buy it because it’s great.

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Re: Ms. Marvel #1 (Classic, politically incorrect costume Sp

Postby alaska1125 » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:01 pm

Agreed, Punchy. Don't buy this book to send a message...absolutely buy it because it was one of the best books on the stand. It's rare that I become as attached to a character in one issue as I have with Kamala. Great start to what I hope becomes a decent run.

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Re: Ms. Marvel #1 (Classic, politically incorrect costume Sp

Postby Draco x » Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:09 am

Nice review as usual, Punchy. :D :D

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Re: Ms. Marvel #1 (Classic, politically incorrect costume Sp

Postby Food Eater lad » Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:54 am

I am not saying this is a stunt to grab attention. But even if it is, who cares? The Fantastic Four were a stunt to grab attention, and it fucked rocked. The Black Panther was a stunt to grab attention and he fucking rules. Thor was a stunt....etc.

Many of Marvel's greatest characters were stunts that worked and stayed, from the New X Men, probably the best comic book stunt of all time, this this New Ms. Marvel.

Some didn't work, like US One, and the New Universe.

Makes sense that right now Marvel would try a stunt with a muslim heroine. Why not? If it works, great, if it doesn't it can't be any worse than say, Blackwulf.

The history of Marvel Comics is the history of stunts in comics.
"Diversity equals division"

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Re: Ms. Marvel #1 (Classic, politically incorrect costume Sp

Postby Punchy » Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:04 am

Food Eater lad wrote:I am not saying this is a stunt to grab attention. But even if it is, who cares? The Fantastic Four were a stunt to grab attention, and it fucked rocked. The Black Panther was a stunt to grab attention and he fucking rules. Thor was a stunt....etc.

Many of Marvel's greatest characters were stunts that worked and stayed, from the New X Men, probably the best comic book stunt of all time, this this New Ms. Marvel.

Some didn't work, like US One, and the New Universe.

Makes sense that right now Marvel would try a stunt with a muslim heroine. Why not? If it works, great, if it doesn't it can't be any worse than say, Blackwulf.

The history of Marvel Comics is the history of stunts in comics.


This is true, but the point is that behind those stunts... and this one, are good comics.

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Re: Ms. Marvel #1 (Classic, politically incorrect costume Sp

Postby alaska1125 » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:53 am

I get why cynics would consider this a "stunt". I'd prefer it view less as that and more as a natural progression in the development of solid, relatable characters.



Oh, FFS, who am I kidding? Myself? Apparently. Still, a very solid book that deserves attention on quality alone.

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Re: Ms. Marvel #1 (Classic, politically incorrect costume Sp

Postby Food Eater lad » Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:03 pm

It is a stunt, as most Marvel Customers are not teenaged female muslims. Good business is all about taking risks. Marvel would be dull if they didn't take risks.
"Diversity equals division"

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Re: Ms. Marvel #1 (Classic, politically incorrect costume Sp

Postby Grayson » Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:01 pm

Since I picked up Loki: Agent of Asgard based on Punchy's review this week, I decided to give this book a try for the same reasons. I wasn't as impressed with this book as I was with L:AoA but like L:AoA is did show some promise. Unfortunately, I didn't find myself instantly attached to any of these characters, that's not to say that I didn't like Kamala or that I didn't feel bad for her situation. I just wasn't as drawn in as some of you were but I am willing to give this book a few more issues before I make up my mind. It was decent but I don't think it's something that I would ordinarily read regularly.
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Re: Ms. Marvel #1 (Classic, politically incorrect costume Sp

Postby MistaT » Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:30 pm

My favorite comic from last week. Really great issue from beginning to end.

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Re: Ms. Marvel #1 (Classic, politically incorrect costume Sp

Postby e_galston » Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:42 pm

Really glad i put this on my pull list, i really enjoyed it
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Re: Ms. Marvel #1 (Classic, politically incorrect costume Sp

Postby doombug » Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:48 am

This read a lot like when DC introduced us to Jaime Reyes and I mean that as a very big compliment. This was a very fun first issue.

It has obvious vibes of Runaways (due to its artist) and is very much an identifiable character in Kamala. I'm very excited to read more.
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Re: Ms. Marvel #1 (Classic, politically incorrect costume Sp

Postby AngusH » Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:23 pm

I bought this just to see how bad/forced the Muslim references were.... and was very pleasantly surprised. I liked the fact they changed up the "traditional dad" forumula, but the whole thing was just written pretty darn well. Didn't expect to be picking up #2, but I will be.

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Re: Ms. Marvel #1 (Classic, politically incorrect costume Sp

Postby guitarsmashley » Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:30 am

I thought the issue was alright, I'm hoping it gets better as it goes and it will get another issue from me of course I could nerd it up and start wondering which of her parents will also be changed in an inhuman?
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Re: Ms. Marvel #1 (Classic, politically incorrect costume Sp

Postby Stephen Day » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:42 pm

doombug wrote:This read a lot like when DC introduced us to Jaime Reyes and I mean that as a very big compliment. This was a very fun first issue.

It has obvious vibes of Runaways (due to its artist) and is very much an identifiable character in Kamala. I'm very excited to read more.


Jaime and his family were exactly what I was thinking of as I read this first issue. I the exact same reaction to this series as I did to Blue Beetle.

Instant love at first read. :-D
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