This 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.