Nov
06
2013
1

The New Ms. Marvel and Why She has My Support

The All-New Marvel NOW! has generated a lot of interest from the already interested comic book community. New titles, new creators, and new directions are keeping things fresh while also highlighting the great characters we have grown to love. Within the movement, possibly the largest push is for female characters, as Marvel launches new ongoing series for existing characters She-Hulk, Black Widow, Elektra, and Captain Marvel. However, Marvel was not content with four new female titles, and a mere few days after their New York Comic Con announcements, Marvel teased one more series, with the word “Ms.” Well, after nearly a month of anticipation, Marvel has revealed their series will be a new Ms. Marvel book, separate from the Carol Danvers led Captain Marvel ongoing. In the new series by writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona, readers will be introduced to Kamala, a teenage Muslim-American with shape-shifting abilities, who decides to take on the mantle of Ms. Marvel in honor of Danvers.

There are so many reasons why the announcement of this book is incredible. I could honestly talk about it at length for a few hundred words, but I’m going to keep it short and sweet, because there are other things I want to address. So quick and nasty, here are my top reasons why I’m excited for this book.

1. This is another female led title. Marvel Comics has increased their number of female solo series drastically with the All-New Marvel NOW! and I am pumped. A year ago, Marvel tried launching some female-led titles but did so poorly, leading to early cancellations on great books. With this new wave of books, it’s clear that they’ve learned from their mistakes and aim to release more books with a better shot at life.

2. This is a female lead written by a female writer. In a miraculous turn of events, G. Willow Wilson, an actual real life woman, is writing a mainstream comic. Now, I know we have many a female writer in comics, but every time we get to add one to the ranks it feels like a victory. That both Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel will  have female writers also makes them particularly approachable for many.

msmarvelcharacter

The New Ms. Marvel by Adrian Alphona

3. For once, a female character gets a spin-off character. This is what immediately sprung to mind for me on this announcement. I am hard-pressed to think of a female character getting a secondary female superhero that spins off of her. Aside from Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl, I really can’t imagine anybody besides Misfit from the Birds of Prey. Maaaaaaybe you could count Lyra, the She-Hulk from the future, but even she is more derivative of her father the Hulk than anything else.

4. With this book, we have our first Muslim led mainstream comic series. While Simon Baz made headlines last year for DC Comics, the Green Lantern title still belonged largely to Hal Jordan. With Ms. Marvel, Kamala gets her own book, something rare for a new character and rarer still for a minority. Immediately she is one of the most prominent Muslim characters in Marvel, something that wasn’t exactly hard to do. Props to Marvel for the bold choice, and props for doing it with a Muslim writer.

5. By creating this book as a spin-off of Captain Marvel, Marvel is showing the importance of Carol Danvers. If you want to make somebody more important, give them a side-kick. It seems silly, but doing so shows that the character has enough pull and influence that young heroes aspire to be like them. For Captain Marvel, a character who is receiving a huge push, this really helps to solidify her as one of the top heroes in Marvel’s pantheon. Even though it’s clear Ms. Marvel won’t be a conventional sidekick, her role will help to enhance Carol’s in the years to come.

But, there is a dark side to this news that I feel the need to address. As with many cases of diversity in comics, the underbelly of the internet has exposed itself, leading to many hateful comments around the net. Honestly, I don’t want to say many of the things I’ve read, because they’re absolutely despicable. Everything from terrorist comparisons to anti-Muslim hate has been thrown around, but I will say this. In the coming months, and probably years, Ms. Marvel will be subject to hate for little-to-no reason. When you see this hate, please combat it with kindness and consideration. Though I honestly cannot understand the thought processes of these individuals, I choose to explain what makes this series great in concept when faced with their views (See my list above for some ideas). Ultimately, quality and sales will determine the staying power of the young hero, so I implore you to go out and give her a fair shot. Buy the first issue, try it out, and see if maybe you’re interested in following her adventures.

If nothing else, there is the mystery of the Porcupine with the Hulk hands, and I know that I want more to read to find out about that.

Adrian Alphona

The cast of the new Ms. Marvel series by Adrian Alphona