I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first picked up G. Willow Wilson’s first edition of Ms Marvel: No Normal. But after finishing the first issue, I was completely enchanted with the series. I didn’t mind Marvel changing Ms Marvel, as the original character is still preserved in Captain Marvel.
I found Kamala Khan’s character to be interesting and likable. She has a fun and quirky personality. You can see flashes of teenage rebelliousness, mostly when in contact with her parents. But it didn’t feel like one of those typical teenager comic books with typical, unlikable teenage characters (like Batgirl, but that’s another discussion). There is a general template that most teenage characters in media follow, but not Ms Marvel. There is the underlying fact that she’s sixteen, but it isn’t too in-your-face. There’s a good balance.
I enjoy her interactions with the other characters, all of which have their own personalities, talents, and faults. Nakia, Bruno, Aamir and even Kamala’s parent’s all have unseen stories of their own to be told. Their relationships to Kamala and each other are realistically portrayed.
I like the quote Kamala uses to motivate herself when Zoe is in danger: “Whoever kills one person, it is as if he has killed all of mankind and whoever saves one person it is as if he has saved all mankind.”
I also enjoy the little bits of Pakistani culture mixed in. It isn’t preachy or ranting or boring, just part of Kamala’s daily life. It felt natural rather than forced. I feel like there’s really nothing to complain about in this book.
The storyline is very engaging, and the book is hard to put down. You like Kamala’s character, so you root for her as the story unfolds. That’s a key part of what makes this comic book work. She has her faults and they impact the storyline; she’s not perfect. She isn’t a mess of faults, either. She just doesn’t always work things out to the last detail, and doesn’t win every fight, which makes sense because she just got these powers. It wouldn’t make sense for someone to master marksmanship or computer programming in a day. Why should it be any different with her superpowers?
In addition to this, the dialogue and narration are extremely enjoyable to read. The art, done by Adrian Alphona, was different, but amazing. It paired with the character and writing very well. This is definitely my favorite modern comic book series thus far, and I hope it continues to be this good in the future. I would love to see more comic books with strong, complex characters (female or otherwise) and engaging plot lines.