Move over Spider-Man, 'Ms. Marvel #1' is An Origin Story for the Angsty Teenage Girl
I have to admit, Marvel first issues are my favorite comics. Although I haven't been keeping track of all the reboots that have gone on this year, I have read quite a few origin stories. Superhero origins fascinate me; while their action sequences, love stories, and revenge plots may captivate most readers, I usually respond with, "Sure, but where did they come from?" I also love seeing powerful women in the Marvel multiverse, which seem to be popping up all over these days. So I was almost manic when I bought and downloaded Ms. Marvel #1 this morning.
The first thing I noticed when looking at 16-year-old Malala was that she looks like a 16-year-old. It seems that we may have finally exited the 1980s style, where female superheroines are muscle-bound with huge breasts, tight asses, tiny waists, and an inexplicable ability to contort themselves to show both T and A.
After reading the first half of the origin story in #1, I might finally finally buy a #2 issue this year. Malala's faith and culture are not hidden, and it stayed away from most Muslim stereotypes — although the father figure may have been overdone. Also, the comic shows the angsty trials of being a Muslim teen and an outsider, and in this regard it felt like a more open and accepting reboot of Peter Parker's teenage woes. Although Malala clearly has more on her mind than Parker did, since her classmates ridicule her and she is constantly trying to manage the murky waters of living in an area that does not respect you. Most of all, though, Malala felt like a real teenage girl who loves comics, which made her encounter with Captain America, Iron Man, and Captain Marvel in the end both corny and powerful. Also, Malala's transformation into Ms. Marvel comes with a transformation to a white girl with red hair, which brings along some interesting racial and cultural problems for the next issue.
The reason that Ms. Marvel #1 felt so real is probably because Marvel has finally employed a woman to write about women. The multi-talented G. Willow Wilson is writing the Ms. Marvel series, with Adrian Alphona drawing. The origin story for Malala has been a thrill to read, and I hope next week's installment will entice me keep buy issues beyond #1.