I started reading Ms. Marvel about 9 days ago and just finished reading the fourth volume today. I know that graphic novels are short, but with the new semester starting last week, it was a little rough to get back into the swing of things.
Overall, I absolutely adore Kamala Khan. I love that she is not your typical superhero and that she is a 16-year-old Pakistani American girl. I love that she is an absolute nerd and that throughout all four volumes, there were pop culture references that yes, will eventually date the books, but as someone who is also living in the here and now, I got a true kick out of them. Bruno is a fantastic side character and dropped my favorite lines of the year so far, “Friendship is not a zone, you idiot! Friendship is something real and good and anybody who doesn’t understand that needs a dictionary.” I will get back to him in a little bit.
There were several outside issues/specials that were included in the volumes, and I must say that the only one I truly liked/enjoyed was the Valentine’s Day one with Loki at the beginning of volume 3, Crushed. Though that might be because I am biased and absolutely adore Loki.
The issues with Wolverine in volume 2, Generation Why, were freaking adorable and I love that he was the one who sent Kamala to Queen Medusa so that she had someone looking out for her. What I didn’t like is that in volumes 3 and 4, Queen Medusa is nowhere to be found. Yes, in volume 3, it is explained since the new group of Inhumans overtakes the Inhuman home, but it is implied in volume 4 that Lineage was taken hostage (since Kamran mentions him needing to bust out).
Speaking of Kamran, I just did not enjoy that particular storyline. I knew from the get-go that the relationship was too good to be true and was disappointed when it turned out that I was right and Kamran was not who he appeared to be. I also absolutely hated that once he kidnapped Kamala, he and Lineage tried to victim blame by saying that Kamala getting in the car was her giving consent. When really she had only given consent to getting a ride to school and when she found out they were not going to school, said no, therefore she revoked her consent, therefore she was literally kidnapped. Also, they knew each other during this ‘relationship’ for like, two days, so how absolutely heartbroken she was made zero sense to me. He was not a good guy, she barely knew him (yes, his family was friends with hers before they moved away, but they had been gone long enough they were practically strangers when they reunited). I just really did not like that entire relationship and how everything played out.
My little shipper heart was dying, though, at the end of volume 4, Last Days, because I wanted her and Bruno to get together so so badly. I hate that I don’t know if they did or not (it is implied that she doesn’t want to be in a relationship because she wants to put all of her effort into being Ms. Marvel, which I respect) but just ah! They at least admitted they loved each other and that was enough to make me so so happy.
I love that Kamala said no because of her wishes and not her stereotypical family’s. Though it did get better throughout the entirety of the series, especially with the scene with her mom when she admits to being Ms. Marvel, I just hate how controlling and strict and just completely stereotypical they were at the beginning of the series. And it felt like the writer was making fun of the devout Muslims in the character of her brother, but that is later addressed in the final volume where Aamir basically shuts everyone down and is just like, “My faith is super important to me. Reading is super important to me. I’m happy. Get over it.” (Obviously I’m paraphrasing.)
If I’m being completely honest, I think that the series got worse for me as it went on. Part of it was that I hated the Kamran storyline and part of it is because Ms. Marvel was sucked into the Secret Wars nonsense and so the last volume felt rushed and there were no answers to like anything (Aamir’s powers/the non-terrigen mist that he was exposed to; exactly where Kamala and Bruno stand; what happened with the Inhumans). I also just realized as I was writing this review that there was a door left open for further Inventor storylines because of the whole “Who invented the Inventor?” but it was completely abandoned for the Kamran/Inhuman/End of the World storylines.
I’m hoping that the new series addresses some of these topics, especially the Aamir and Bruno storylines. It is going to be so hard waiting until June to get the volume – I may end up going and buying the individual issues.
I love Kamala as a character and I loved seeing her grow and become more and more confident in her powers. I really do want to continue to read her story because female superhero with her own title? Sign me the eff up. Especially a 16-year-old female with a diverse background. It is so so important for girls to have role models, and Kamala is just that.
I gave volume 1 4.5 out of 5 stars; volume 2 got 5 out of 5 stars; and both volume 3 and 4 received 4 out of 5 stars.
Overall, the series received 4.375 out of 5 stars.