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Ms. Marvel’s Time is Now

After months of anticipation, Ms. Marvel #1 officially hits comic book store shelves across the country today! We’ve been discussing Kamala Khan a lot here at the NOC, so it’s nice to know people can finally get their hands on the book.

We hope to bring you our own take on the first issue soon. In the meantime, we scoured the ‘net for some of the Nerdosphere’s first impressions.

Last night, on Al Jazeera’s internet news program The Stream, Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson was a guest — along with World War Z author Max Brooks — on a special episode about diversity in comics.

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Over at The Washington Post‘s Comics Riffs blog, writer Sabaa Tahir explains that Ms. Marvel “succeeds because its new Muslim teen superhero is ‘sweet, conflicted and immensely relatable’”

She could be a Latina or an African American, a descendant of Chinese immigrants or a blonde Daughter of the American Revolution. Her struggles will be familiar to anyone who has tried to figure out where they belong.

Iann Robinson of Crave Online gives Ms. Marvel #1 nine out of ten stars, giving equal weight to Adrian Alphona’s art and Wilson’s script.

The pages where Kamala becomes Ms. Marvel are wonderful, one of the more imaginative superhero origins I’ve come across. Wilson is blending not just cultures, but also two different mythologies. Part of that is Wilson’s writing, but a large part is the gorgeous artwork from Adrian Alphona.

Newsarama’s David Pepose offers similar praise for Alphona’s pencils as well as Ian Herring’s coloring — which heretofore has gone unsung.

Alphona does a fantastic job of mining Kamala’s emotional landscape and reflecting it on the page, instantly creating a visual language for Ms. Marvel that is exciting and accessible. Ian Herring’s colors follow suit, easily conveying mood and depth, and perfectly complementing Alphona’s cheerful, open lines.

Pepose, though, is not impressed with the way Wilson weaves “Kamala’s blonde, racially insensitive friend Zoe” into the storyline:

Racism and racial ignorance are undoubtedly part of Kamala’s life, but it’s a little frustrating to see such a well put-together script rely on a strawman so quickly.

Finally, on Nerdist, Eric Diaz says this comic is “fun without being dumb” and “offers pretty much everything you could want from a modern superhero book.”

Just on a pure storytelling level,  Ms. Marvel #1 channels old school sixties Marvel in the best possible way. The first six pages introduce not only Kamala, but her friend Nakia, her older brother, her parents, and the annoying popular kids at school, Zoe and Josh, all quickly and efficiently. You immediately know just about everything you need to know about all these characters with just a few choice words and phrases. Her older brother and parents have chosen to live a more serious, devout Muslim lifestyle; her friend Bruno clearly has a crush on Kamala, and the popular kids are more like frenemies than enemies, but still awful underneath all their outward chipperness. All of this character info is handled with the snap of a finger and not drawn out needlessly, to which Wilson has my sincere gratitude. It’s something all too rare in modern comics.

So if you haven’t already, head over to your local comic shop and get a copy (or several) of Ms. Marvel, and let us know what you think!

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