Sunday, January 18, 2015

I Reads You Review: MS. MARVEL #1

MS.MARVEL (2014) #1

WRITER: G. Willow Wilson
ART: Adrian Alphona
COLORS: Ian Herring
LETTERS: VC's Joe Caramagna
COVER: Sara Pichelli with Justin Ponsor
VARIANT COVERS: Arthur Adams; Peter Steigerwald; Jamie McKelvie
28pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (January 2015 – Seventh printing)

Rated T+

“Meta-Morphosis” Part One of Five

The original Ms. Marvel, a Marvel Comics female superhero character, was created by writer Gerry Conway and artist John Buscema.  First appearing in Ms. Marvel #1 (cover dated: January 1977), she was meant to be the female counterpart of Marvel's Captain Marvel (who first appeared in 1967), not to be confused with Fawcett and later DC Comics' Shazam-Captain Marvel.

There is a new Ms. Marvel, and she is Kamala Khan.  Created by Sana Amanat, G. Willow Wilson, and Adrian Alphona, Kamala is the fourth character to take the name Ms. Marvel.  Kamala, who first appeared in Captain Marvel #17 (cover dated: November 2013), is a 16 year-old Pakistani-American from Jersey City, New Jersey.  She idolizes Carol Danvers, the original Ms. Marvel who is now the new Captain Marvel.  Kamala was given her own Ms. Marvel series, which premiered in February 2014, and she became Marvel Comics' first Muslim character to star in her own comic book.

I remember the debut of the new Ms. Marvel comic book series, but I ignored it.  Then, I read The Amazing Spider-Man #7 (2014), in which the new Ms. Marvel appeared, and I suddenly became interested in her.  Luckily, my comic book shop had reprints of the first issue of Kamala's Ms. Marvel comic book series, written by G. Willow Wilson, drawn by Adrian Alphona, colored by Ian Herring, and lettered by Joe Caramagna.

Ms. Marvel #1 (“Meta Morphosis”) opens in Jersey City at a Circle Q, where Kamala is holding court with her friend, Nakia, and an employee, Bruno.  This gathering, in a small way, encapsulates the problems that Kamala is having with her parents, her culture, and her religion.  Wouldn't it be cool if she could eat bacon?  If only she could be like her beloved AvengersCaptain America, Iron Man, and especially Captain Marvel.  Eventually, she will get what she wants, but not the way she wants it.

It was not until after I picked up a copy of Ms. Marvel #1 – Seventh Printing that I discovered that Ms. Marvel was a buzzed-about new comic book.  Some are calling it the best comic book of 2014, as I learned via an email from Diamond Distributors and also from an article at website, Comic Book Resources.  I don't know if I would call it the best comic book of the year, but if I made a list, it would definitely be in my “Top 10.”

I think of Ms. Marvel as a “girl's comic book,” but I do not mean that in a derogatory way.  I am not one of those fans who think that every superhero comic book from either Marvel or DC Comics must be alike.  They don't have to all be rehashes and revamps of the same templates and editorial mindsets that old white guys established beginning in the early 1960s, i.e. the Silver Age.  I don't mind something completely different.

This new Ms. Marvel is something different; it is something else.  It presents a girl's point of view; it is about a young woman struggling to come into her own.  Ms. Marvel is not aimed at me; it is not written to appease my fanboy demands.

And that doesn't matter.  I like Ms. Marvel anyway.  It's so good.  It is so different, yet some of the things with which Kamala Khan struggles are universal, so I recognized the dilemmas she faces.  When I ignored what I expected from the typical superhero comic book, I found myself embracing Ms. Marvel.  I want more of it, and I want to share this with my niece when she is older.

I guess I should not be surprised.  Ms. Marvel writer, G. Willow Wilson's late Vertigo series, Air, was decidedly unusual, but alluring and intriguing.  I had recently stopped giving letter grades to first issues, but I will make an exception for the first issue of Ms. Marvel.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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