Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Matt Signal Advent Calendar 2014 Day 18: Ms. Marvel #1

Ms. Marvel #1, April 2014

I married a wonderful woman who, for most of our 12 years together, did not share my affinity for four-color funny books. But if you get dragged by your husband to enough Marvel movies and your son is obsessed with Batman, eventually you end up sipping at least a little Kool-Aid.

That cool, refreshing sip ended up being G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona’s Ms. Marvel, which is currently the only series anyone in my house is collecting in single issues.

What I love about the current Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, is that her story doesn’t feel rushed. As groundbreaking as Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s original Spider-Man stories are, it’s weird to me that a teenager went from getting spider-powers to fighting Dr. Doom in just a few issues. Wilson and Alphona take their time developing Kamala’s powers-life balance, concentrating first on making her family and friends feel fleshed-out, and letting Kamala test her powers before a single supervillain enters the picture.

Basing her origin on the Inhuman terrigenesis bomb could have made for a messy book full of messy Inhuman history. But the creators smartly kept Kamala off Attilan’s radar for roughly eight issues, then, finally, gave her Lockjaw as a giant, adorable, slobbering pet/guardian.

Reading Ms. Marvel led my wife to seek out other female superheroes, and to purchase Essential trades of the original Ms. Marvel, Spider-Woman and She-Hulk from the late ’70s and early ’80s. So now we can have conversations about how cheesy those books were, and how much more smartly written they are today. 

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