Thursday, April 27, 2017

Superhero Media: Miss Marvel - No Normal

I had heard so many good things about this comic that, when I finally picked it up, I wanted it to be good so badly. Sadly, I didn't enjoy it, but not because it wasn't good, it's very good, I'm simply not the target reader. The story of Kamala Khan, a teenage Pakistani-American born of immigrant parents, struggling with identity conflicts between nation and family, and a huge fan of superheroes, is aimed very much at an adolescent, female audience, not male nerds in their thirties. Which is a bloody good thing, the industry has been far too focused on the adult, male demographic, so quality work being done for an entirely new market is welcome, if years overdue. 

This is going to be a bit of a brief Superhero Media, as there's not too much I can say about Ms Marvel without getting too in-depth with the plot or starting a rant about the (still shockingly) poor representation of women and people of colour in superhero comics. Frankly, there's enough (entirely valid) rants about the latter around that do it better than I do, what with being a heterosexual, white, cis-male who lives in a developed nation. Also, I'm a pretty damned evangelical Atheist, so the Islam angle means little more to me than Cap struggling with his faith or Thor being the actual Thor from Norse myth. It's a representation thing again; yes, it's nice to have Muslim superhero characters, but I care more about racial diversity, queer and genderqueer representation. Call me when Superman comes out as trans, then I'll be more interested.

If you have a teenage sister or daughter that you want to get into comics, Ms Marvel is a good place to start. It has the same mood and tone as titles like Ultimate Spider-man, Blue Beetle and Invincible, except with a female of colour lead, so I'd say No Normal is destined to be a classic in the same mold. Once I get my hands on a Marvel digital subscription, I may give this another go, but until then, it's back to indy comics and terrible b-grade films for me. Excelsior! 

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