Week #2: Ms. Marvel

Ms. MarvelThis week I read Ms. Marvel by Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona. I enjoyed this comic book a lot actually, the young protagonist was fun and exciting which All-Star Superman sorely lacked.

I found the main character Kamala Khan to be a likable and relatable teen, just trying to live her life. She is a Muslim girl living in New Jersey balancing school, family, a social life and a religious commitment that seems to ostracize her from the “cool” or “normal” people. On top of all this she becomes a super hero, finds out she is part alien and has to deal with a giant cockatiel telling kids they’re essentially a bunch of Duracells (you know, normal teenage stuff).

The thing I probably like most about this character is how much she is not like the normal superhero. Out of the numerous ways she is different discussed in class the most interesting is that there really is no love interest for Kamala Khan. You would think a 16 year old girl would have some kinda crush, but this just isn’t the case. This is weird for me as almost every notable superhero has a Mary Jane or a Lois Lane to go save or at least fall in love with. Hell, even dark brooding and cynical Batman makes time for the occasional lover. Now there is a predominant male lead in the series in the form of Bruno and there is even reference that if he was Muslim Kamala’s parents would set them up, but other than that he isn’t really portrayed as a romantic interest for Kamala and very much is not the damsel in distress for Kamala to save. I honestly don’t know how I feel about this, on one hand I like the separation from the norm but I do like characters like Mary Jane and Lois Lane and think they offer more complexities to the main protagonist.

The one thing I did not like about this comic was it’s villain. The Inventor is a clone of Ben Franklin merged with a cockatiel. Why is Ben Franklin evil? Why is he merged with a bird? How was Ben Franklin’s DNA recovered to clone him? Why Ben Franklin? Why is created at all, if you can clone a dead person and bring it to life you can probably just enact The Inventors plan yourself, instead of serving under your own creation. Don’t ask me any of these questions cause the comic just glosses over all these questions. The Inventor is just silly and really took me out of it, the fact that he is part bird seemed to be a repeated joke that wasn’t funny the first time and a really pointless character detail. For this series first big villain I feel that it is very important for him to be a well thought out character with motives and execution that make sense. He has to add to the story and not just be a force for Ms. Marvel to fight against, unfortunately he is just that.

5 thoughts on “Week #2: Ms. Marvel

  1. Hey Evan! I like that you brought up the absurdity that is the Inventor….why was he a bird? While I did like that the comic discussed millennials and the rebuke they face for being ” lazy” I did not comprehend the evil villain that is the Inventor. Ms. Marvel however was very relatable as a female superhero belonging to a minority in society. Unlike Superman who was painted to be almost Godly with Ms.Marvel we never forgot that behind the power was a a girl who we could ver much relate as as during fights she would react to pain and throughout the story readers see her struggle with her identity and culture while attempting to fit into Western society.

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  2. Hi Evan, I agree with your comment on Kamala being a relatable teen and overall a relatable character. The family struggles that a rise from her becoming Ms. Marvel are very realistic and put pressure on Kamala that she never thought she would have when she decided to become a superhero. Staying within the boundaries of her parents rules and keeping a vigilant eye on the criminal underworld of her city is no easy task. It makes one see all the problems and adjustments one would have to make when becoming a superhero, but more than that it shows the toll being a superhero takes on your personal relationships in a more realistic way. Which is something not many other comics relating to superheroes take into account. They do not make the character say if a put on this persona I am going to be giving up a huge part of my life and interactions with others that I will not get back. Most of them realize the sacrifice after they have been in the business for a while, not from the get go like with Kamala. This In think speaks to her determination to protecting the city she loves.

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  3. I found that it’s interesting that you’d prefer for there to be a romantic interest in Ms. Marvel. I think it’s a reflection of modern day feminism that there isn’t one – and doesn’t need to be. Sometimes adding a romance plot cheapens a lot of the third acts of media (*ahem* movies). Don’t get me wrong, a romantic plot that’s well thought out would be great, but i’d rather nothing compared to something that was added as an afterthought. In any case, we just read the first two volumes – i’m sure there’s plenty of time for there to be an introduction of some romance.

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  4. I actually completely agree with your opinion about The Inventor. I mean, I did have a soft spot for him, but I still found him strange and confusing. I had the same questions about how he was cloned, why he was cloned to be that specific person, and why he couldn’t use his cloning technology to pursue his plans.

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  5. Hey Evan, I really liked your thoughts on Ms Marvel not having a crush or any romantic interest. I never really thought about that but it is so true and very interesting to analysis. I agree with your thoughts on the inventor and I too thought that it was not very well thought out and didn’t add to the comic at all.

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