Ms Marvel: Revolutionizing The Comic World

Feb 18, 2014 by     No Comments    Posted under: Expressions, Opinions

The first issue in the saga of Kamala Khan, the first ever female Muslim-American superhero, has been officially released by Marvel comics.

After the announcement pertaining to the relaunch of Ms. Marvel as a Muslim female superhero went viral, numerous opinions floated around the internet for days. While most people were anticipating and praising the Marvel’s decision to celebrate diversity, a few voices were also heard which were painfully prejudice against Ms Marvel’s new found Muslim identity – along with her “offensive” female gender.

The expectations mostly centered around the question of Kamala aptly portraying her culture and religion, without being offensive to either. Concerns were also raised regarding her effort to fit in to western society and “not try too hard”, so to speak.

 The book was followed by such baggage even before it was debuted, but after hitting the stands, it has proven why there is a need of superheroes like Kamala.  While the launch of a Female Pakistani-American Muslim hero was considered risky, the first issue of Ms. Marvel is certainly proving successful.

In the first issue, Kamala Khan is your typical 16 year old girl of American-Pakistani descent, who prefers to read comic books and is a social misfit. However, unlike a normal American teenager, she is shown to keep her religion and her roots firmly separate from the very beginning.

Keeping the cultural differences aside, this is a Classic Marvel Origin story, focusing on an outsider who tries to fit in with the norms but ends up finding a way to escape personal problems by gaining superpowers.

For years, Islam has been portrayed by the media as a religion of extremism and conservative thought. Muslim women are more often than not depicted as victims of oppression who lack power. With well-placed humor and wit, Ms. Marvel points out the stereotypes that Muslim women and girls have to deal with on a regular basis.

“Your headscarf is so pretty, Kiki,” says a culturally ignorant character to Kamala’s bigger sister, Nakia “But…nobody pressured you to start wearing it, right? Nobody’s going to, like, honor-kill you?”

Khan faces the challenge of successfully fighting such notions, and takes on the responsibility of raising a fresh new voice onto the American cultural landscape.

On another note, the new Ms. Marvel also comes with her own set of unique problems that result from dealing with ignorant, culturally prejudiced people while she belongs to a traditional family making her question her place in the world.

 The success of any comic is largely based on its hero’s ability to make the readers care about the problems being showcased and relate to the hero on a personal level in some way.

The success of this saga can be evaluated from the fact that it has outsold the other well-established Marvel characters like Wolverine, Avengers, and the X-Men.

The character of Ms Marvel is a refreshing change from the over-muscled, male super heroes that usually dominate the comic world. It is hoped that her story will be loved and well-received, as she raises awareness about issues that are very close to home for a large number of people across the world.

The Author

Procrastinator of the century. Hopeless pessimist. Aspiring workaholic. Life-form based on sappy romance novels. Secretly wishes to write novels in her house on the South of France

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