Kamala Khan ain’t your average superheroine, and this is an idea that G. Willow Wilson et al. continue to push in the second ever installment of the brand new Ms. Marvel.
Yes, she’s a teenager with problems and responsibilities à la Peter Parker, but one of the many places where she and the New Yorker differ is how much her faith and culture influence her heroic narrative. The webslinger’s path is marred by loss as well as the modern day adage from his dying uncle that “With great power comes great responsibility.” While this is a lesson Kamala will certainly have to learn for herself, the words that spur her on to heroic feats are rooted in a certain religious text.
When she’s faced with the opportunity to save someone she’s reminded by a passage her father likes to quote from the Quran, Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:32-
It’s never explicitly stated in this issue or the last how strongly Kamala believes in Islam, but it’s clearly had, and continues to have, a very strong impact on her life. Regardless of your own personal religious affiliations, or complete lack thereof, it can’t be argued that rushing to help others is unequivocally a good thing. Marvel is replete with superpowered do-gooders and her motivation just happens to have some part of it rooted in a particular faith.
Issue #1 ended with a page of her transformed into her favourite superheroine, and when we return to her we find that she doesn’t feel “strong and confident and beautiful”, she feels “freaked out and underdressed.” It’s a classic tale of “be careful what you wish for” but is also the first step to her finding out what it is that she really wants. She clearly still looks up to Carol Danvers and everything she represents, but begins to realize that she doesn’t have to be her.
While this issue is a great showcase of her newfound abilities [size alteration of her whole body and select body parts, so far] the end result of her nightly excursion being that she’s grounded is evidence as to how this storyline will be progressing. There’s no doubt that Wilson has instilled the character with a unique, genuinely teenage voice, but the fact is that her storytelling is decidedly decompressed. In other words, we’re going to be taking things very, very slowly. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, but thus far action has been minimal [she saves the well-intentioned but kind of culturally-insensitive Zoe’s life] and we still haven’t seen her suit up in her own crimefighting threads. Ms. Marvel definitely seeks to stand out in the crowd, but there are still certain expectations of it as a capes comic book.
At the very least, next month’s issue is basically a surefire guarantee that we’ll see Kamala adorning herself in the beautiful Jamie McKelvie-designed costume, as well defending the innocent from threats more powerful than river water and a little bit too much to drink. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope you are too.
The Ms. Marvel
Visual Gag You Shouldn’t Have Missed: Kamala dredges up a fair amount of junk from the bottom of the river along with Zoe. Two notable pieces of junk are a bottle of Free Range Maple Syrup and a box of Sal’s Used Cheese.
Ms. Marvel #2
Written by G. Willow Wilson
Art by Adrian Alphona
Colours by Ian Herring
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Edited by Sana Amanat