Book of the Month: Ms. Marvel, Volume 1, No Normal


By G. Willow WilsonKamala Khan is your average, typical teenage girl. She wants to fit in, she wants to be liked, and she wants her parents to just trust her when she asks to go to a party. But Kamala isn’t an ordinary teenager, and her school chums won’t let her forget it. Now, if Kamala had super powers like the Avengers with whom she is so fascinated that she writes online fan-fiction, she could no doubt accept her outcast status. But what makes her different from her classmates is her ethnicity and her faith and all the rules that come with it. Kamala is Pakistani-American living in Jersey, and she is also a Muslim.

Like all teenagers, Kamala wants to go to a party where there will be alcohol. Her father forbids it, so Kamala climbs out her window and sneaks away. While at the party she’s offered a drink and although she asks if it has alcohol a group of boys trick her as a joke. When Kamala tastes the liquor she spits it out and storms away. Just then a fog engulfs Jersey, and Kamala is endowed with super powers just like her hero–Carol Danvers, the original Ms. Marvel.

Like many before her who suddenly found themselves with super abilities, Kamala is at a loss first with how it happened and next with why it happened. Not only is she an ordinary girl, but she`s already different and set apart from her peers. Becoming Ms. Marvel certainly isn`t helpful to her—and so she begins her journey of balancing a secret life with family and school obligations.G. Willow Wilson`s book is not just “another comic,” nor is it just another incarnation of a Marvel character that has been done three times before. Kamala Khan is the first Muslim character to headline her own comic for Marvel, and she does it with a compelling storyline and relatable characters. Regardless of your background, readers will be swept along with Kamala as she fulfills her destiny and dream of becoming an Avenger.I’m a big fan of the comic book genre, and an equally big fan of the spin off TV and movies series that often results from these engaging tales. Ms. Marvel, Volume 1, No Normal was the winner of the 2015 HUGO award, which is a big deal for sci-fi publishing. Comics aren’t just a bunch of pictures, nor are they an “easy read.” As G. Willow Wilson has done, comics can be used as a way to show that everyone is connected, regardless of background, ethnicity, or religion. Ms. Marvel is more than just a comic book superhero story; it’s a means of creating a conversation towards a more compassionate world.

Looking for other great comics? Here are a few of my favourites:

Dark Knight Returns

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Honor Girl

The Undertaking of Lily Chen