Marvel Comic’s fourth Ms. Marvel incarnation, Kamala Khan, is a 16-year-old, Pakistani-American hailing from Jersey City. She’s an exceptionally unique character for several reasons. Firstly, she’s Marvel’s first Muslim character to headline their own comic and I point this out for good reason, it plays a fundamental role in issue #1, possibly the entire series. Second, she’s extremely meta. She writes Avenger fan fiction and worships Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel, the character she ends up embodying. Lastly, she’s a walking contradiction. An innocently fierce, obediently strong, and shielded teen with a heart of gold yet a loveable stubborn streak.
“Ms. Marvel” #1 took me back to the days of being the misunderstood teenager, fighting with parents and their strict rules, reading comics and doing very uncool things on the weekend. Hell, it took me back to yesterday when I decided to rearrange my Frankenstein’s Monster figurines. I may not be 16-years-old anymore but the sentiment that Wilson’s writing conveys is universal, everyone is misunderstood in some aspect of their life. And everyone wishes they could escape their own reality by becoming that which they admire the most.
After sneaking out to attend a party she is absolutely prohibited to attend, Kamala realizes that Bubblegum-Blondie and Jocky-Jock aren’t as nice as her naïve mind would have her believe. After being tricked into a sip of alcohol—immediately spat out—and told she smelled like curry, she rushes away from the beach party just as an eerie blue fog cloaks the partygoers. As it eventually envelops a frustrated and distraught Kamala, she begins her descent into somewhat of a hallucination. Thinking that the little bit of alcohol she spat out is making her drunk, she doesn’t seem hugely shocked when Danvers’ Captain Marvel, Captain America, and Iron Man appear to her.
It’s not until Captain Marvel asks Kamala who she wants to be in life that things get really real, real fast. Because Kamala wants to be Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers before she became Captain Marvel), and although Captain Marvel grants that wish like a genie in a bottle, she leaves behind some ominous parting words, “It is not going to turn out the way you think.” Leaving you to wonder at the fate of this young Ms. Marvel. Is it possible we have a future villain on our hands?
Kamala’s not bitten by a radioactive spider or merges DNA with a superhero. She is simply, as Captain Marvel puts it, totally rebooted. I suspect this is going to be an incredible series for young and old Marvel readers alike. Kamala is relatable and authentic, inimitable and intense. She has a chance to be something in life that we all secretly wish we had. But the real fun will begin when Captain Marvel’s words start hitting home. It is not going to turn out the way you think.
Some of the overt stereotypes (all across the board) were a little obvious, causing the story line to feel simplistic. I would have loved to see a little more dimension in both Kamala and the peripheral characters. But regardless, the themes of “Ms. Marvel” #1 plant themselves deep in our chest because we’ve lived them before. And perhaps that’s why stereotypes are utilized. Conceivably, if Wilson continues with this familiarity the comic will truly stand the test of time.
Rating: 4/5 Skulls
Review by – Bree Odgen