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Ms. Marvel #1 - Part One of Five: Meta Morphosis Review

4

Get psyched, Kamala Korps! There's a new Ms. Marvel in town.

The Good

The newest kid on Marvel's block hails from Jersey, and is a 16-year old girl. She's a regular teen, with parents who don't want her to go to parties, a complicated relationship with the popular kids, and a great connection to the Marvel comic universe (the depths of which she doesn't even know yet!).

There must be something about Marvel titles with "Marvel" in the title, because this book, like CAPTAIN MARVEL, is pitch-perfect about capturing its lead and supporting characters' voices. G. Willow Wilson is spot-on with dialogue, and selects scenes that are just-right for a first issue with a new character. We have an immediate sense of who these people are and how they interact with others, and it's a great way to kick off a series. We've only seen Kamala for twenty-odd pages, but it's clear that she has strong convictions, a great sense of self, and plenty of teenage -- and possibly superheroic -- challenges ahead. And she feels real, revealing that she's a comics fan (hey, relatability!), having genuine interactions with family members and friends, and trying to fit in without being untrue to herself.

Helping capture the essence of these soon-to-be-familiar faces is Adrian Alphona, whose pencils are stylized but warm. I'm enjoying the character designs, and absolutely love Kamala's lightning jacket (hello, crafters -- please make this!). There's a dreamlike quality to many of the panels, which serves to enhance the surreal feelings Kamala must be having -- both as she escapes in her fanfic and when she encounters the power-embuing mist.

Above all else, MS. MARVEL is steering Marvel in a fresh direction, introducing us to a brand new character with dreams and challenges that we get to experience for the first time. She's named Ms. Marvel, but Kamala is all-new; her daily life isn't the same as Carol's, nor is her heroic transformation. And, of course, she's helping Marvel round out a more diverse cast of characters -- as much of the hype surrounding this title has mentioned, Kamala joins a short roster of female solo-title leads and an even shorter roster of Muslim mainstream superheroes. Not only is it great to see a wider palette of faces in the Marvel universe, it's great to meet a new character in a lead role.

The Bad

I'm not sure how I feel about the new Ms. Marvel's hair/look at the end. I can't tell the reasoning behind making her look so…Carol-like when she has her own thing going already. (I suspect it's a temporary look, since her character design has appeared in so much marketing collateral, but I'm not digging the blonde.)

The Verdict

MS. MARVEL makes a delightful debut, showing confidence and heart even before she puts on a mask. Kamala is not your average superheroine -- she probably has a lot more in common with readers than most of the capes and suits in mainstream comics -- and her stories seem like they're headed in an exciting direction. Kudos to Marvel for expanding its range; amping up the diversity factor in a way that doesn't feel token or temporary is a great move, and MS. MARVEL is launching with a solid first issue and a world -- a universe, even -- of story possibilities.

27 Comments
Edited by danaquinn

I totally agree with what you said about her new look. She already looked so unique as her "original" self.

Posted by BR_Havoc

Was an odd look at the end, but maybe that is the point. I know I used to dye my hair and have mohawks, liberty spikes when my favorite bands would change their hair when I was younger. So I spect that this is something similar. You idolize someone you want to be like them but soon you learn to be your own person.

Posted by summerfallspageone

@br_havoc: Agreed -- I hope this is a plot point, where at first she thinks she has to look exactly like Carol to be Ms. Marvel but then realizes she can have her own look. That's what I hope, anyway, because I (also) loved the rest of the book and found the last page kind of jarring because of the blonde thing. I'm sure they'll be getting LOTS of letters about it!

Edited by The Stegman

I cant wait to read this. This is one of the only two Marvel now titles I'm actually interested in.

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Posted by Twentyfive

So far, my most anticipated new read of the year.

Posted by fallbrigade

Totally loved this issue. Can't wait to read the next one.

Edited by ClawFist

Issue one, and I have no doubts I wanna be on this comic every month. As for your concern about the ending, I'm sure it's temporary. Early on her powers were described as being a shape-shifter and the blonde look is most likely a kind of temporary mental thing/plot device. Otherwise, strike me as a member of...

the KAMALA KORPS!

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Can't wait to read this.

Posted by Perfect 10

so im the only that got that she wants to be ms. marvel (in her delusion she said she wants to be old school ms. marvel) then her subconscious activated her shapeshifting powers changing her.

really enjoyed the book. hate that the first story arc is so long....but great cast and digging the art. i can see how it can come off a little preachy to some but im leaving that as a case of first issue...issues lol. the book has potential

Posted by ChicagoMadeJay

This character is a definite hope and another one in the bag for Marvel if this Ms. Marvel manages to be a better character the Dc's Simon Baz

Edited by lykopis

@perfect_10 said:

so im the only that got that she wants to be ms. marvel (in her delusion she said she wants to be old school ms. marvel) then her subconscious activated her shapeshifting powers changing her.

That was how I understood it to be as well.

As for this first issue? I think what I am feeling is something close to relief. I am so relieved it wasn't heavy-handed and I am so relieved that the supporting characters (so far) are more subtle than I thought they would be. Bruno is a doll and "Kiki" reminds me so much of a friend of mine that, for the first time, I think I might just be able to turn someone in my social circle into a comics fan.

Also, it helps that this made big news here where I am in the local paper.

Posted by Rixec

I think having her look like Carol is a result of her journey of finding out who she is. She may try to be just like her namesake but will come to realize she can only be who she is and not someone else so she'll then take on her normal appearance.

Posted by akbogert

I've seen some good commentary on this issue throughout the day. Pertaining specifically to the ending, I thought this Tumblr user's insights were great:

...Kamala tries to give herself an easy out. She tells the Captain Marvel hallucination: “I want to be you.” Because Carol Danvers might just be everything Kamala admires but can’t be—“All-American” in the way that only comes from being blonde-haired and blue-eyed, and raised on the East Coast in a nuclear family, with a history of military service and crime-fighting in patriotic colors. Kamala may be able to capture aspects of that, or the spirit of it, eventually—but let’s be real here, she can never be Carol Danvers.

She thinks if she could be, it would uncomplicated her life. Maybe if she was wholly “American” or white and blonde, she’d feel less conflicted about everything. And that’s why her powers manifest as they do the first time.

I don’t think Kamala actually wants give up her looks or her identity or her religion or her ethnicity. But I can see, from her vantage point, the appeal of being the default. Anyone who’s ever read a Captain or Ms. Marvel comic knows that Carol’s life is nowhere near that simple, however. And I think Kamala’s going to come to realize that, too...

Posted by Nuec_Sol

I read a bit from G. Willow Wilson and i can't to she takes this story.

Edited by CommanderShiro

Really enjoyed this. Looks to be a fun book.

Posted by HillbillyMorangie

I loved it, it had a very British feel to it too, like east is east or west is west and bend it like beckham, but that's more me putting famous English actors voices to the characters from those films :/

About the look at the end, I like it, she has no idea what her powers are, she wants to be ms marvel... So she is ms marvel... I imagine when she tries to control gravity to fly or se the power of a white hole she will be annoyed she can't... Then she will come to realise what her powers are and take the readers on that journey... So I can forgive the hair ;)

Posted by Owie

I thought this was pretty fun. It did a good job at building personalities and context. The art was maybe a little unrefined. I mean obviously it's not intended to be photorealistic, that's fine. I like stylistic, cartoony art. But there were parts that could have been finished a bit more, it felt too loose even for what it was trying to be. But that kind of thing could well improve as the artist gets used to the characters. I'll definitely check it out for a few more issues at least.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

Great first issue, looking forward to more.

Posted by ArturoCalaKayVee

Just read this issue. Really fun issue and I love the art. The characterization is already good as well. I'll definitely be picking up issue 2.

As for what she looks like at the end of the issue - Maybe it's just me, but it was obvious why she came out looking the way she did. Her powers are shape-shifting and she idolizes Carol Danvers / Ms. Marvel / Captain Marvel so when she was dreaming about being an Avenger, she hatched out looking like just who she wanted to be. It's a childhood dream of being your idol come to life. She'll eventually settle into her own persona, guaranteed.

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Edited by jdp180

So will her love interest be a muslim boy, someone of another racial group say African American, or is she gonna get a white boy instead?

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Wow I loved this.

Edited by VoodooPenguin

so im the only that got that she wants to be ms. marvel (in her delusion she said she wants to be old school ms. marvel) then her subconscious activated her shapeshifting powers changing her.

Oh that's what happened. I bought this book not knowing anything about it, and I was confused how she suddenly changed. Thanks for clearing that up.

Posted by Perfect 10

@voodoopenguin: yeah if you read the all new marvel point one book there is a story in there that takes place after issue one and you can see her practicing her powers. plus i've been following this book since it was announced lol.

Posted by DanteTheRedKnight

@jdp180: I think it's going to be Bruno

Posted by Squares

She's a metamorph, clearly the blonde hair is a temporary thing.