I’m all about diversity in storytelling. I make it a point to include strong women and minorities in everything I write. When I read about Marvel NOW! rebooting the Ms. Marvel series to feature a young Pakistani girl from New Jersey, I knew it would be the perfect way to start my dive back into comics.
Kamala Khan has the kind of worries that most 16-year-old girls have, but because she’s 16 her problems seem larger than they actually are, and of course, no one understands. Her mother doesn’t understand her fascination with The Avengers and writing fan fiction on the internet. Or as her mom calls it, “fan feek.” Her proud Turkish friend Nakia doesn’t understand why Kamala wants to fit in with the white, insensitive kids at school. And her father doesn’t understand why Kamala wants to go to a waterfront party with boys. Well, he understands, but he still says no.
In issue #1, Kamala sneaks off to the party and immediately regrets her decision when the kids she wants to impress think it’s okay to make fun of her culture and disrespect it because she snuck out. If she doesn’t respect her family’s rules and customs, why should they? It doesn’t help that her friend, Bruno, treats her like a child telling her she should probably go home.
On her way home, the neighborhood is overtaken by mysterious smoke that knocks everyone out. When she comes to, Kamala finds herself face-to-face with her idols: Captain America, Iron Man, and Ms. Marvel. They grant her a wish to be beautiful, and awesome, and butt-kicking. Kamala emerges from a cocoon with a whole a new look, and probably much more than she bargained for.
I enjoyed the first issue. The stereotypical teenage tropes work here because, well, does this time of life ever really change? Kamala has the concerns of most girls her age and it’s going to be interesting to see how getting her wish will (or won’t) change her life for the better. I’m reserving judgement on my one criticism that the new brown Ms. Marvel is actually blonde by the end of the issue until I read issue #2.