With everyone up in arms about a new female Thor and black Captain America, I decided to check out another hero that was recently changed: Ms. Marvel. In a much quieter move in January, Marvel went ahead with their project to change the female Avenger to a Pakistani-American, Muslim girl.
What is the most interesting part of the Ms. Marvel move is, when it was first announced in 2013, she was met with virtually no negative backlash. Instead, she was met with an extremely positive outlook from both the comic book community and Muslim community. So who is the new Ms. Marvel?
Kamala Khan is just your everyday 16 year old from Jersey City, New Jersey. She goes to high school. She writes fanfics. She lives the struggle to fit in with the “cool crowd.” And, she fan girls over Carol Danvers. Except, Kamala has a special, secondary set of rules: Islam. No bacon (pork), no alcohol and modesty, are just to name a few extra rules in Kamala’s life.
Now on comic #5, Ms. Marvel has been steadily selling out. It has also been met with rave reviews, not just by the Islamic community, but feminists and comic book fans. Written by G. Willow Wilson and art by Adrian Alphona, Kamala’s stories are based off of real life anecdotes from editor Sana Amanat’s Muslim-American upbringing. The religious aspect is not forced down your throat, either. Think “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” lots of social memes, and stereotypes that will have you shaking your head, “yeah, my dad’s just like that.”
Why we like Kamala Khan:
Kamala Khan faces the real strife of being a geek girl, in a world where reality television is not reality. She is not part of the popular crowd. She sits on the fringes of being herself and giving in to the social memes. And like a normal teenage girl, she dabbles with the what-ifs of her decisions… such as sneaking out of the house late at night to attend a party.
While Kamala’s clothing restrictions may be caused by religion on the surface, every teenaged girl has faced it. Lately, the comic world has come under questioning about half naked heroines, and the need to play towards their budding female audience. This is a very graceful and simple solution to the problem. While on the outside, yes they are pandering to an audience, but they are NOT shouting it from the rooftops. It’s been the solution we want, graceful and simple. Note: I have nothing against skin. But, I think girls need to feel beautiful in jeans and a hoodie as they are in a bikini.
My recommendation: Buy the first two copies, if you can get your hands on them. Ms. Marvel is also on digital release. The first comic is a bit more of an in depth views of who she is, rather than her super-heroine counterpart. The second issue picks up more of the story on how our new friend becomes Ms. Marvel, and her secrets.