Saturday, 18 April 2015

Ms Marvel Volume One "No Normal" by G Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

Ms Marvel Volume One, "No Normal" written by G Willow Wilson and illustrated by Adrian Alphona is, as the name suggests, the first volume of collected issues of the new Ms Marvel (2014) ongoing comic series. It includes issues #1–5 and material from All-New Marvel Now! Point One #1 (whatever that is... I'm not entirely sure).

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she's suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she's comin' for you, New York!

No Normal is basically the origin story of the new Ms Marvel. Kamala is an ordinary muslim girl until one night when, leaving a party she'd snuck out to, she's caught in magic/mutagenic fog which gives her a hallucination of Captain Marvel and also magic/superpowers. Equipped with the sudden power to change her body into whatever (humanoid?) size/shape she wants, Kamala semi-accidentally rescues the mean girl from drowning while disguised as Carol Danvers' version of Ms Marvel. And then she runs away in shock/confusion.

Most of the volume is Kamala dealing with her new powers and trying to come to therms with what they mean for her. She's a teenager still in high school and her parents are quite over-protective. She's technically grounded for most of the volume and, unsurprisingly, her parents are concerned at her sneaking out, not knowing that she's become a superhero (although I imagine that piece of news would also be concerning to them).

In the end, Kamala chooses a costume (with a little help from her friend to make it happen) and works out who she wants to be as a person. I liked that she ended up confiding in one of her friends, but I'd actually really like to see her other, female, friend's reaction to the news. Hopefully that will be in Volume Two, which I've already picked up and will read some time in the next few days.

I also really loved the art and the background jokes/references in a lot of the panels. If you pick this one up, I highly recommend stopping to have a closer look at what's happening in the background. There was a lot that made me snicker.

This is my first comic book exposure to a traditional (as far as that word applies) Marvel superhero. I really enjoyed how the cultural background brought somethign new to the story, instead of having it be just another anglo white girl with stereotypical teenage girl problems. Not that Kamala's problems are completely out there, but at least there's a bit of variety.

I would recommend this comic to pretty much anyone with even a passing interest. It's funny and sincere and I enjoyed reading it a lot. I'm definitely intending to keep up with the story for the time being (as it comes out in trades).

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: 2014, Marvel
Series: Yes, Ms Marvel ongoing, Volume 1, containing issues #1–5
Format read: Trade paperback
Source: Purchased from a real life comic book store

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