PREVIEW: Ms. Marvel #1 – Introducing A Muslim Superhero

By Trevor Van As on February 2, 2014

Ever since Carroll Danvers, the original Ms. Marvel, upgraded to Captain Marvel the title for Ms. Marvel has been left untaken. Until now, with Kamala Khan stepping up to the title. What makes Kamala different to other heroes is that she is a 16-year-old Muslim girl who lives with her family in New Jersey. The series will be written by G Willow Wilson (Air) and illustrated by Adrian Alphona (Runaways).

Kamala never expected to become a superhero, but after contact with the Terrigan Mist, that all changed. Now instead of writing Avengers fan fiction she can live out the super heroics herself. The new Ms Marvel’s powers will differ from the original’s with shape-shifting being her major ability.

Ms Marvel #1 cover by Sara Pichelli. All-New Marvel NOW!

Ms Marvel #1 cover by Sara Pichelli.

Ms. Marvel should be an interesting title that will explore not only Kamala’s superheroics, but also explore her day-to-day life and what it is like growing up Muslim in the Marvel Universe. Based upon the preview interactions with her family and friends will be a big part of Ms. Marvel as she tries to find out, like many teenagers do, where she fits in.

As Ms. Marvel follows the Muslim faith, this has generated much discussion about representation as well as generated criticism in regards to the concept. Writer G Willow Wilson (who is of the Muslim faith) talked to Wired about about representation and I believe she had quite a good response…

There’s a burden of representation that comes into play when there aren’t enough representatives of a certain group in popular culture. So the few ones that do exist come under increased scrutiny and pressure, because they’re expected to represent everybody. Obviously, you can’t do that with one character and you shouldn’t, because it would stifle the narrative and prevent them from becoming a fully-realized person. So I think in situations like that, you just have to tread lightly and trust your gut. Kamala is not a token anything in any way. She’s very much her own quirky, unique, wonderful person. She’s not a poster girl for her religion and she doesn’t fall into any neat little box.

When announced most of the criticism for the character came from two different parties – 1. people who don’t read comics and 2. the Muslim community. From what I can tell, those n the first category are criticising the concept from an uneducated stand-point, which is has been mixed unsavoury attitudes. The Muslim community’s criticism is understandable, with concerns that she will be portrayed as a stereotype.

For those who are concerned or unsure of the series I highly suggest checking out the preview below. I found it to be quite enjoyable with it’s own unique tone and quirky characters.

Ms. Marvel #1 is available in comic stores and digitally from February 5th.

Ms Marvel #1 variant cover by Art Adams.

Ms Marvel #1 variant cover by Art Adams.

Ms Marvel #1 character design variant cover by Kris Anka.

Ms Marvel #1 character design variant cover by Kris Anka.

Ms. Marvel #1 preview page 1 by Adrian Alphona. All-New Marvel NOW! Ms. Marvel #1 preview page 2 by Adrian Alphona. All-New Marvel NOW! Ms. Marvel #1 preview page 3 by Adrian Alphona. All-New Marvel NOW! Ms. Marvel #1 preview page 4 by Adrian Alphona. All-New Marvel NOW! Ms. Marvel #1 preview page 5 by Adrian Alphona. All-New Marvel NOW! Ms. Marvel #1 preview page 6 by Adrian Alphona. All-New Marvel NOW!

Ms. Marvel is one of the many new titles as part of the All-New Marvel NOW! publishing initiative.

Will You Be Reading Ms. Marvel #1?

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Trevor Van As

Head Writer at How to Love Comics
Trevor Van As is the founder and head writer of How to Love Comics and has been reading comics monthly since 2006. When he is not reading or not talking about comics he can be found illustrating and/or eating yoghurt.

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