Comic Book Storytelling: Ms Marvel #1-2

For a long time Carol Danvers was known as Ms. Marvel.  Now she has taken up the mantle of Captain Marvel leaving her old title vacant.  Marvel Comics has now given us a new Ms. Marvel in the form of a teenage girl named Kamala Khan.

Even before it came out this new series was getting a lot of attention.  When Marvel Comics announced that the new Ms. Marvel would be Pakistani and Muslim it got a lot of people talking.  This series is going to be important for a lot of reasons that deserve to be discussed in their own article.  For now I am just going to do what I always do and talk about the story.

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When we first meet Kamala Khan she is in a Jersey City corner convenience store looking at BLTs.  Kamala is just a girl having a goofy moment with her friends.  Then a character I will refer to as popular ignorant white girl and her jock boyfriend come in and say some ignorant white people things.  It is all to set up that there is going to be a party that night and Kamala wants to go hang out with the popular white kids but she knows her parents won’t let her.  Of course later on she sneaks out to go to the party anyway.  The party does not turn out to be as awesome as she hoped and she storms off alone at which point the city is filled with the Inhumans Terrigen Mists.

The Terrigen Mists cause Kamala to have a hallucination of Captain Marvel singing to her in Urdu, Iron Man and Captain America are also there as well as an assortment of cute winged little animals.  She has a heart to heart talk with her hallucinations after which they tell her she will get a reboot but it will not turn out how she thinks.  Finally Kamala emerges from her Inhuman transformation pod thing and she looks like a mini version of Ms Marvel complete with black leotard, red sash, and blonde hair.

Most of what happens in this first issue is standard teen hero origin story stuff which is pretty much what I was expecting.  My favorite part was by far Kamala’s dream conversation with the Avengers.  Also I wonder if this is something that happens to all Inhumans when they are exposed to Terrigen mist.  If not then it should be.  The mists causing them to have visions and how they react to them determines what kind of power they manifest would add a whole new cool aspect to the Inhuman mythos.

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At the start of #2 Kamala is a bit freaked out that she has physically turned in to Ms. Marvel.  She then starts changing back and forth between her regular appearance and the Ms. Marvel look with her body warping in strange ways due to her new shape-shifting powers.  She then sees popular ignorant white girl and her drunk jock boyfriend hanging out by the water.  Drunk jock boyfriend accidentally drops ignorant white girl in the river and Kamala realizes that if she does not do something one or both of these drunk idiots will drown.  She goes into Ms. Marvel mode and saves them by making her hand grow giant.  Afterwards she makes some minor progress learning to control her powers before sneaking back into her house only to find that her parents know she was gone.  Her parents are upset and she gets grounded but the seeds of her future as a superhero have been sown.

Kamala Khan is a really likable character and I think I will keep reading to see what happens.  I hope her supporting cast gets some better characterization because so far they all fit into some very predictable cliches and it remains to be seen how much the series will stick to or subvert them.  I look forward to what happens when she and Carol Danvers meet in person for the first time but there is no rush.  They managed to get most of the origin story done in the first two issues which is a lot better than some other writers do.

Now there is one other things that I need to talk about.  Kamala has shape-shifting powers.  So how does that affect her clothes?  This is something I always wonder about with shape-shifters. In some cases the shape-shifters are technically always naked and just have the appearance of clothing.  With others like Mystique for example they never address this issue all, at least in the comics.  Kamala was wearing clothes when her transformation pod formed but they were different when she came out but then they changed back.  Does that mean that she has a limited ability to alter the matter around her and not just shape-shift her body?

Okay there is actually one other thing that I hope the series addresses that I am also wondering about.  Kamala is an Inhuman.  When the Terrigen Mists were released everyone on Earth with Inhuman DNA became a super powered Inhuman.  So why didn’t the mists effect anyone else in her family?  There are a few possibilities.  Maybe on or both of her parents are secretly an Inhuman already or she is not really biologically related to them.  Either that or the mists only affected people who were outdoors when they were released.

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2 responses to “Comic Book Storytelling: Ms Marvel #1-2

  1. Is she Muslim in the way that Superman is Presbyterian (so nominal it doesn’t matter), or Muslim in the way that Nightcrawler is Catholic (really devout, but written by people who have no clue what the religion teaches)?

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