Ms. Marvel — story about a Pakistani American teenager named Kamala Khan who wants to fit in with other kids, but when that fails, she wishes that she was a hero like one of her favorite heroes, Captain Marvel. When she gets her wish, she saves people and becomes instantly known. She faces struggles with her family, her long time friend, Bruno, and loses her identity along the way. I chose to read this comic above others mainly because of Ms. Marvel’s background. I’m so proud that a brown, Muslim female was able to become a comic hero. Kamala goes against cultural norms, she shows readers that girls shouldn’t have to follow a set path that was created by someone else, and that women can change the world.
There are many things I like about this comic that I want to talk about in this post:
1. Kamala doesn’t wear a hijab
I say I like this mainly because I feel like the author is representing the American Muslims. Many people think that if she isn’t wearing a hijab, it’s not authentic. In fact, 5-15% of American female Muslims don’t wear hijabs, therefore, if Kamala wore a hijab, it would be less authentic than if she did
2. Her best friend is a boy
Typically, being friends with a boy if you’re Muslim is so ludicrous mainly because it says in the Qur’an (Holy Book) that when a boy and girl are alone together, Shaytaan (the devil) is also there. So, the fact that her best friend is a boy shows how contemporary the book and the characters are. I also like how their friendship doesn’t amount to anything (yet) in the book. I hope that in future volumes that their relationship won’t escalate. In most movies where a guy and a girl who are main characters are friends, they usually end up together. It would be nice to see two main, different gendered characters just remain friends.
3. The Mosque scene
There’s a scene where there is a partition between the boys and girls in a mosque, and Kamala says she doesn’t know why they’re divided when Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) didn’t divide by gender. I liked this because it was daring/risky. Many Muslims believe that women and men should be separated due to temptation, distraction, etc. But I believe that if you’re in God’s house, you’re there for a reason i.e. not for flirting. So when Kamala says this, it shows how powerful and independent she is.
Here are some things I didn’t like about the comic:
- The Given Powers scene
For someone who isn’t a comic savvy, I had no idea that tarragon dust was a thing. The way her powers were given was ominous and I would’ve never understood it if it weren’t for my teacher. We should have been given a better explained reason within the first volume.
2. Her uniform
I liked the dupatta (scarf) flair to her costume which represented her culture, but what I didn’t like was that the costume was very similar to Captain Marvel’s. I wanted Kamala’s to be more different mainly because of her self-realization: that she was her own person and she shouldn’t be hiding behind a fake persona. If the uniform had a better look to it, I would be more satisfied.
3. She didn’t tell her parents
I didn’t like the fact that she didn’t come clean to her parents about her powers. It might happen in future volumes, but it would be interesting to get closure with her parents. I guess that’s how you get readers coming back.
I hope that if and when you read Ms. Marvel, you’ll enjoy it as much as I did! 🙂