Rummanah Aasi
 I have been anticipating the release of Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson ever since the news came out that there will be a Pakistani-American, Muslim, female superhero. I had high hopes for this graphic novel and for the most part it met my expectations and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Description: Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she's suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she's comin' for you, New York! 

Review: The theme of identity runs throughout the graphic novel. Our main protagonist, Kamala Khan is an ordinary teen who just happens to be a Pakistani-American and Muslim. Her culture and religion play a big part in her life, but they do not overshadow the graphic novel. I found Kamala to be adorkable, a genuinely good person who wants to do the right thing, and a fan of superheroes. She laments of not being able to fit in with the rest of peers, which is a nice metaphor for her struggling to accept her responsibilities, and limitations of being Ms. Marvel. 
  The author does a great job in showing how Kamala is indeed very much like ourselves by showing Kamala's relationship with others around her like her friend Nakia and Bruno, the neighborhood boy who has a very obvious crush on our heroine who is of course oblivious. The strongest relationship in my opinion is that of Kamala's strict, overprotective yet loving parents. The inclusion of the parents definitely highlights the cultural aspects of Kamala's Pakistani-American background. 
 Ms. Marvel: No Normal is very much an origins story. Kamala must come to terms that she is a superhero and has to figure out how to lead a double life as well as harness new skills and keep her power in check. The action part of the graphic novel was a bit weak. The villain wasn't as interesting nor scary as I had hoped but hopefully he will get fleshed out in the later volumes.  
 The artwork of Ms. Marvel: No Normal is well done. The characters look like real people and the colors used make the illustrations pop and are appealing to the eye. Despite some minor issues, I definitely look forward to continuing this series and I do hope that this graphic novel does pave the way for more diverse characters appearing in mainstream comics as well as debunking myths regarding Pakistanis and Muslims..  

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is a small scene of underage drinking in which Kamala does not participate in, there is some minor language. Recommended for Grades 8 and up. 

If you like this book try: American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang, Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson
4 Responses
  1. Christina T Says:

    I ordered this for my library's teen graphic novel collection and I'm looking forward to reading it as well. I think it is fantastic that Marvel has added some diversity to their books.

  2. I love that there's cultural diversity, but it's not a big deal at all. There are more and more diverse books, but subtle about it. I'm glad this trend is expanding to graphic novels as well.

  3. Candace Says:

    I don't read graphic novels but I LOVE that there's some diversity found in books these days and I know that teens are loving graphic novels these days so this definitely sounds like an excellent idea for a book/graphic novel!

  4. I definitely like the sound of the MC. It is nice to see her someone doing something with a girl of unique heritage in YA superhero books.

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