Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Book-A-Day 2018 #121: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson and various artists

The storms of crossover have (briefly?) passed in this book, leaving Kamala Khan to actually live her own life for a while -- and that's good, both because that's supposed to be the point of this series, and because her life is plenty busy enough all by itself.

(You may want to see what I said about previous volumes -- one and two and three and four -- to catch up. Or you may not. I should warn you that I was very sour about #4, which tied into a there-unspecified crossover in a horrible way that was both offensive and stupid.)

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous, I was surprised to learn when I dug into the indicia, was actually a relaunch of the series, because Marvel Comics is required by law to relaunch every damn series every damn year until their business model finally collapses and they're all thrown out onto the street, homeless. (Current odds: 2019.) It is, as always, written by G. Willow Wilson, who clearly tries very hard to keep this series as honest and real as possible in the silly, baffling Marvel Universe. Former main artist Adrian Alphona only draws a few pages of one issue, leaving the bulk of the work to Takeshi Miyazawa (the first three issues reprinted here) and Nico Leon (the other three). Both of them keep a similar style in their own ways, to telegraph that this is the quirky, funky corner of the MU.

But, otherwise, this is more of the same: Kamala Khan is a gender- (and NYC-river-) swapped Peter Parker, and is now an Avenger, because letting untrained sixteen-year-olds whose major power is making their fists big and rubbery fight murderous villains on school nights is a great idea. This is the storyline where she is gently introduced to two very difficult concepts: first, that other people's lives go on while we're busy with ourselves, and, two, that just because you can do everything doesn't mean you should or that you can do them all well.

Well, she is sixteen. Those are lessons we all learn around that time, but the rest of us aren't stretch-powered young women who are no longer making a big deal about how Inhuman they are. (Did she get retconned out of being an Inhuman, or did the Inhuman tide just go out in Marvel-land? And do I actually care?)

As I've said several times before, the only thing at all notable about Kamala is her race and religion: there have been plenty of angst-y teen heroes in the lands of Marvel before, and a couple of them were even female. (And we've had plenty of "my religion has a complicated stand on my powers and/or choice of activities" as well, mostly in various X-comics. So, again, it's just the specifically Muslim vaguely disapproving parents that are oh-so-slightly new.)

But these are nice Spider-Man Nova Ms. Marvel comics, and it makes us feel politically woke to read them, so we have that going for us. If you have to read superhero comics, I hope you at least make the effort to get the ones that are doing something slightly different.

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