MS MARVEL VOL.1: NO NORMAL
G. WILLOW WILSON & ADRIAN ALPHONA
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: MUSLIM PROTAGONIST, SUPERHEROES, GRAPHIC NOVEL, #OWNVOICES
Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey!
Heads up, I used to be a massive graphic novels fan. MASSIVE. But the move to increasingly dark, grim and gritty put me off for the longest time. I’m just no here for fridging Lois Lane, any of the New 52, Wonder Woman and Superman romance or (I will burn any copy I find) Captian America, of all people, as a Nazi. Why would you do this to my perfect Steve!?!
Anyway, Ms. Marvel reminded me of all the thing I used to love about reading superhero comics — ahem, graphic novels… I loved that there was a quick nod to the previous Ms Marvel (the wonderful Carol Danvers, but that this instalment is really all about Kamala and who she is as a character, powers or no.
Kamala is a wonderful character, a brilliantly relatable teenager trying to find her place. She’s adorable and nerdy and I can completely see her being a wonderful role-model for young girls and teens, but someone they’ll absolutely want to grow up to become. She’s also really brave and I loved seeing when and why she decided to use her newfound powers. The supporting cast is great too, especially her strict but obviously loving parents and brother. There’s a beginning to a romance subplot between Kamala and her friend/ confidant Bruno which I’m really looking forward to watching develop. My only (minor) gripes were that I thought the ‘getting’ of her powers was a little underexplained and confusing. And it threw me that they were so different from what I remembered of Danvers. I also felt the strict Muslim family might have been a little stereotypical? But I’m not in a position to judge that.
I really loved the illustration style, which in a graphic novel can be as important as the story. The panels aren’t too cluttered and the colouring is done in lovely muted, subtle shades without lots of harsh dark lines or heavy shadows.
Overall, I think this would appeal to graphic novel newbies and veterans alike, and makes a wonderful change from so many of the cut-and-paste titles out at the moment. It’s a breath of fresh air, and I’m looking forward to grabbing Vol.2.