Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson (2014)
Kamala Khan is a 16 year old Muslim girl from New Jersey. Kamala, who writes Avengers fan fiction, is tired of being “different” and wishes she were more like Captain Marvel. She gets her wish, giving her the ability to shape-shift, and dons the superhero name Ms. Marvel.
This was the first comic book I’ve ever read, so I don’t have anything to compare it to. I chose to read it as part of a reading challenge I’m doing this year.
I think it’s super cool that the superhero is a Muslim girl (yay diversity!), providing some insight in what it’s like to grow up as a Pakistani American. Ms. Marvel mentions Pakistani traditions, clothing, dietary restrictions, and religious practices. Kamala struggles to balance family life (her parents have strict rules and high expectations) and social life (her white American friends want to party and drink). I wish her white American friends were less stereotypical, but maybe they’ll introduce more characters in future releases.
That said, it’s not all about Kamala being a Pakistan American; that just happens to be her background in this coming-of-age superhero story. I really liked the colorful art and the writing was good, though the plot didn’t seem to be terribly original for a comic book.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Ms. Marvel. It was a fun read, I liked the cultural diversity, and Kamala makes a great role model. As someone unfamiliar with comic books, I didn’t have any problem jumping in to this one. It might have been useful to know about Captain Marvel beforehand (I’d never heard of her before), but it wasn’t necessary.
Bonus points for having an adorable winged sloth that occasionally showed up in the background. <3
You might like this book if you are interested in…
- Comic books, especially Marvel
- Muslim role models
- Geeky girls who kick butt
- Cultural diversity
- Coming-of-age stories
- Adorable winged sloths