The new Ms. Marvel #1 that came out Wednesday has been receiving a lot of accolades, both from the comics press, which has showered the book with positive reviews, and fans, who have taken to posting photos of themselves on social media with the Ms. Marvel #1 cover covering the bottom of their faces. However, none of these endorsements has garnered quite as much attention as a recent selfie posted on the Instagram account of leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, who called the comic "one of the most compelling first issues of a mainstream superhero book I've read in a long time."
According to sources within the Vatican, Pope Francis was particularly a fan of the realistic manner in which Pakistani-American main character Kamala Khan was portrayed, not as a sensational stereotype, but as a real teenage girl struggling to fit in both in her religious home and at school amongst non-Muslims. The Pope reportedly also enjoyed the focus on regular life and slow burn to superheroics. Picking up the book was a no brainer, since the Pope has followed Adrian Alphona's art since Runaways, but he was said to be very impressed with G. Willow Wilson's storycraft as well, particularly her ability to subtly world build and create interesting supporting characters without obvious exposition.
"I can't think of anyone else who could create such a realistic and believable world in such a short time frame," Pope Francis reportedly said, quickly adding, "Well, maybe one guy."
While most religious authorities consider the Pope's taste in comic books to be a private matter, his praise for Ms. Marvel #1 has sparked outrage in some small but extreme segments of the Christian community, known commonly as "the batshit crazy" ones.
"I respect the Pope for all he's done in helping the poor and leading a global effort to fight poverty and achieve world peace," said Zebediah "Bubba" Hill, a scrap metal collector from Paducah, Kentucky, who is actually a Baptist, not a Catholic, but feels the Pope's actions reflect on all Christians, "even the Jews."
"But his support of a terrorist comic book is way out of line," Hill told us. "It just isn't right."
"I don't think whether or not I'm a racist moron has anything to do with it," Hill explained after we tried to tell him that it was ridiculous to consider all Muslims terrorists. "That's my opinion, and it's my right as a 'Murican to express it."
Hill wasn't the only one to feel outraged over Pope Francis's reading habits. He wasn't even the only one nicknamed "Bubba." All over the internet today, "Bubbas" were coming out of the woodwork to condemn the Pope's actions and call for an apology from the beleaguered religious leader.
"I don't see why Ms. Marvel couldn't have faced all of the same issues in the comic while being a Christian," complained Rev. Billie Jo "Bubba" Farmer, an evanglist minister in Cedar Bluff, Alabama, who seemed to be missing the irony of her own statement.
"Christians face a lot of adversity too," she argued, citing "that war on Christmas that Fox News is always talkin' about" and a recent online spectacle in which Bill Nye (The Science Guy), who she called "a bully," debated Ken Ham over Creationism vs. Evolution.
The sentiment eventually became so overwhelming that Pope Francis was forced to address it publicly.
"I don't see why it's such a big deal," said the pontiff during his sermon at tonight's papal mass at Saint Peter's Basilica. "Liking Ms. Marvel #1 is not an endorsement of the Muslim religion. I still believe that Jesus Christ is the one true savior, and I disagree with the Muslims about certain facts and beliefs, but I acknowledge that people who believe in other gods exist, they're regular people like anyone else, and there's no reason they shouldn't be represented in comic books."
History will have to judge whether or not Pope Francis is right, but the fact remains: Ms. Marvel #1 by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona is a smash hit, and if you haven't read it yet, you're missing out on some extremely intelligent online discourse. Head to your local comic shop and pick up a copy today!