Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. Basically, this is my way of making Tuesday a little more awesome. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.
Ms. Marvel, G. Willow Wilson's comic about teen superhero Kamala Khan, came highly recommended by many, many people. I usually don't care for the big comic publishers (Marvel, DC), largely because they're too slick for me, but the glowing recommendations from friends, plus the ridiculous controversy around meant my interest was piqued--and I pretty much loved it.
Kamala Khan is a teenage girl in Jersey City, New Jersey, daughter of Pakastani immigrants. To her, Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) represents an ideal: she's strong, blond and never has any trouble fitting in. Kamala believes that if only she could be like Captain Marvel, her life would be simple and easy.
She gets that wish when a freaky mist (apparently it's called a Terrigen Mist) turns Kalama into a super-human with shape-shifting and healing abilities.
It turns out, being super-human isn't as easy as Kamala thought.
In addition to fighting crime, she has to navigate her new identity and conflicts at home. Her brother is extremely conservative, her mother worries about her all the time and her father just wants her to study hard and grow up to be a successful doctor.
I love that Wilson's Ms. Marvel is as much about Kamala becoming Ms. Marvel as it is her navigating being a teenager, being part of a first-generation family and--in particular--navigating difference in America. A lot of comics reviewers (and NPR) have called Ms. Marvel "important," and that's almost an understatement.
Representing the world in an authentic way is a powerful thing and thus, centering a mainstream comic book series around a Muslim teen girl is a big deal. Which is also why a certain segment of comics fans were so upset about Kamala's introduction--it's a positive, disrupting force that threatens their power, right?
One of the things that intimidates me about comics from the big publishers is that I feel that I need to know a lot about their respective universes, otherwise I feel alienated. The thing I loved about Wilson's Ms. Marvel is that she's accessible. While there are references to other Marvel characters and the structure of the Marvel world is in place, I never felt lost or confused. So, Ms. Marvel is one to pick up if you are generally comics-averse--you shouldn't find it hard to slip into this world.