If you’re looking for:
- an easy introduction to the Marvel universe
- an inspiring story about what it means to be a hero
- an awesome female, non-white superhero
Then you need to get Ms. Marvel immediately!
My result: Recommended
If the Avengers movie has made you hungry for superheroes, but you don’t know where to begin, Ms. Marvel is a great place to start. You don’t need to know much about Marvel to follow the plot. Ms. Marvel will ease you into the larger Marvel universe as you witness the origin story of the new Ms. Marvel: Kamala Khan. This is an inspiring story, as one young woman finds out just what it means to be a hero. It’s an upbeat, triumphant story where the real heroes are those willing to take a stand and try to do what’s right. Superpowers may give Kamala new ways to do that, but it’s her heart and her drive that make her a hero.
Ms. Marvel is also a breath of fresh air to those looking for better representation and diversity in comics. She’s Muslim, and a first generation immigrant from a Pakistani-American family. And she’s also a teenager growing up in New Jersey, fluent in internet culture (she writes fanfiction!) and video games. Much of her daily life is about finding the balance between modern day America and her parents’ traditions.
Ms. Marvel is a great story of the immigrant experience, but that doesn’t just serve as background to the superhero storyline. Both elements are woven together beautifully as part of a natural worldview. Kamala uses the Quran to understand what it means to be a hero. When she needs to design her costume, she incorporates the burkini her mother gave her.
Overall, I give the storyline of Ms. Marvel an enthusiastic five stars. The artwork for me, was less impressive. I like the warm coloring, and the small details in the setting were amusing. But it uses a straightforward, simplistic style that doesn’t show any of the innovation in layout, transitions, or layering that I expect of a five star graphic novel. It’s a very classic comic book feel, and maybe that’s best for such a great gateway comic for beginners. Personally, I wanted a little more sophistication in the artwork, which left me at a four star rating.
Book Awards: YALSA Top Ten Graphic Novels for Teens
If you like Ms. Marvel, you might also enjoy:
- Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon – A great comic for comics newbies, even if all you know is what you’ve seen onscreen. But it’s also a great comic, period, with clever layouts, beautiful color-schemed art and sly humor.
- Marvels – A great introduction to the larger Marvel universe, witnessed from the inside. If you don’t know where to start with Marvel, start here.
- Shadow Hero – Another comic that explores the relationship between cultural identity and superhero status, Shadow Hero tells the origin story of the first Asian-American superhero, the Green Turtle. By the author of the award winning American Born Chinese.