Ms. Marvel #1 Review

By: Rob Neil Gruszecki

Kamala Kahn, a young Jersey city native and Avengers super fan is sick of being left out and ignored at school. Her strict parents and disciplined upbringing has made it difficult for her to experience the same teen years that her peers do and all she wants at this age is to have a normal life and fit in. Soon Kamala will be given an opportunity that will display her greatness, ability and potential. With a waft of smoke and a rebirth, Kamala will be set on her path to achieve something astounding, something that will change and help the world, something marvelous.

It’s hard to talk about the new Ms. Marvel title without acknowledging the ‘controversy’ leading up to its debut. Now personally, I’d like to think that we as readers have moved past the fact that a superhero title that doesn’t have a muscle bound, white male as its lead, is big news. Diversity in comics should be as commonplace as Batman brooding or another event comic announcement. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that reality yet but each day more steps are taken in the right direction and I am glad that Marvel seems on that path in displaying the most beautiful aspects of humanity with its vast cultural mosaic of life. It is truly refreshing to see a ‘different’ type of hero take centre stage instead of the same archetype we see in everything else, so immediately I welcomed the addition of Kamala Kahn, a Muslim-American teenager, onto my subscription list.

All-New Marvel Now’s Ms. Marvel is not only a culturally significant and important title in comics but is also truly an excellent story of a girl struggling to define herself in the most confusing and frustrating years of a young person’s life. Inundated with sensory stimulation and hormonal energy, the teen years are filled with dread, crisis, loss, struggle, heartbreak, love, passion, exploration, expansion, warmth, discovery, doubt, faith, and a myriad other new sensations that are all thrown at you simultaneously. The path to define yourself within these constricting, contradicting and confounding times are paved with tribulation and growth and what G Willow Wilson (Cairo, Air) and Adrian Alphona (Runaways) have concocted with this new volume and age of Ms. Marvel captures all these elements with Kamala and tells a deeply personal and empathetic story.

The superheroics are barely explored in this first chapter of Ms. Marvel and you won’t even notice as your connection with Kamala as she navigates her way through the obstacles of being different in a judgemental world and hierarchical social circles are captivating and emotionally driven in a way that few mainstream comics are. As you travel alongside this frustrated girl with a passion for the heroes of her time you will feel sympathy, endearment and ultimately kinship that will guide you to the last few pages with curiosity, wonder and excitement.

Wilson scripts with a personal touch that has been a joy to read since picking up her ongoing series Air from Vertigo which was untimely cancelled. She conveys a real understanding of her characters and bridges you directly to them, fully realizing her players and environment before just diving into the deep end. Paired with Adrian Alphona’s indie kind of delivery that forms his panels with fluid storyboarding and expressive faces, the book is a real creator-driven project. Alphona’s style reminds me of Nate Powell or even Hayao Miyazaki just in the expressiveness and diversity of character designs and presents a really raw and real feel.

G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona have really come together to craft an important, entertaining, evocative and exciting comic with Ms. Marvel #1. I would highly recommend this series to all ages as a new take on action and heartfelt drama that brings the comic to life.

Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday warrior

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