I give Ms. Marvel: Generation Why five stars. This rating system is based on the five aspects of entertainment that make it good: Characters, Plot/Writing, Novelty (Innovation), the Fun Factor and Production/Art (Production/Acting for shows and movies).
Characters are one of the most important aspects of media. They make or break comic books, shows, books and movies. So to be a good writer, you need to be able to create characters that are realistic and likable. G. Willow Wilson does this masterfully.
Kamala Khan is a sixteen year old girl. She is, in her words, a “Pak-American, part alien, morphogenic nerd.” So, yes, she’s far from being the typical teenager we’re exposed to in mainstream entertainment. After all, Volume One of the series was called No Normal. But she is written in a way that makes you feel like she could be your next-door neighbor. She feels real and is made complete by her faults and flaws. Maybe she isn’t your typical teenage girl, but few are.
She uses her powers in a resourceful way, has realistic intelligence and is likable. Kamala’s character is half the reason I like this book.
Wolverine guest-stars in issues six and seven. While I like the way he’s written and enjoy his character in this series, he wasn’t completely in character. He acted kind of old and tired compared to his usual portrayals. Still, the banter between him and Kamala was really fun to read.
Bruno’s character was the more realistic, sarcastic skeptic that helped balance out Kamala’s headstrong optimism. He’s the only one who knows about Kamala’s secret identity. You don’t see as much of him in this book as you did in the first one: Kamala spends the majority of this adventure with Lockjaw as her partner in crime fighting.
The Inventor is Ms. Marvel’s Big Bad in this book. I really didn’t like him, but you weren’t supposed to. He was arrogant and creepy and weird. But he was an evil genius that was actually smart. He studied Ms. Marvel’s fighting techniques, negated her and Lockjaw’s powers (using science, not magic space rocks) and booby-trapped the back entrance to his secret hideout. And they killed him off before he had the chance to get too persistent and annoying.
The other characters that were featured more in the first book (Kamala’s parents, Nakia, Aamir and Bruno) were all done well. Lockjaw was a great companion for Ms. Marvel. You even kind of liked the teenagers Kamala rescues from the Inventor. So the characters get a full star.
Although I liked the first edition a little more, the plot for this book was still amazing. It was a little more about Ms. Marvel, instead of Kamala. It showed more of her life as a superhero, more action and other supers. Whereas the first book featured more of her life with her family and friends, showing the effects of her life as a crime fighter on her normal(ish) life.
The writing was engrossing, humorous and fun to read. I liked reading the narrative and the conversations Kamala had with other characters throughout the series. The characters’ reactions to the different situations are realistic and the action is good. This category gets a full star.
The idea of a Muslim, Pakistani, teenage, female superhero is novel in its own right. The plot and the Inventor’s ideas of saving the world are interesting and creepy, but inventive. The ways Ms. M brings down the bad guys are different.
Both the series and Kamala are fun and witty. You root for Kamala, and you want to see her win. The storyline is engaging and fun to read, and the book is hard to put down. Definitely a full star for fun factor.
I thought that the paper and binding quality were good and the book has held up well thus far.
In the first two issues of Generation Why (issues 6 and 7) the art was done by Jacob Wyatt. It was good art (I especially enjoyed the way Wyatt drew chibi Kamala), but I liked Adrian Alphona’s art better. Alphona did the art for issues 8-11. I enjoyed how stylized it was and it felt like a good match for the writing.
This comic book is incredibly fun to read. It continues to be my favorite modern comic by far. One of the few complains I’ve read about this book is that it is focusing on too small of an audience. But you don’t have to be a nerdy Pakistani girl to enjoy Ms. Marvel; just like you don’t need to be an Kryptonian to enjoy Superman. It’s the character that needs to be relatable, not the character’s origin.
I look forward to getting the next collection in the series (Crushed). Feel free to share your thoughts on Generation Why with me in the comments section below.