Comics · YA

Review: Ms. Marvel #3

Ms. Marvel #3 cover

Do these have titles? I’m not sure these have titles.

No spoilers!

Back again with Ms. Marvel! I hope not every issue (and review) will be focused on Kamala Khan’s “Muslim superheroine” status, but again, that’s what makes the comic notable at this point, and this issue brushes up against her religion in a more explicit way. She attends a “youth lecture” at her mosque, apparently one of the few things she can do at the moment (she’s grounded). She and her friend are called out for talking during the lecture, and she says “Sorry, Sheikh Abdullah, but it’s really hard to concentrate when we can’t even see you,” at which point Sheikh Abdullah starts explaining how the partition and side entrance are for women’s modesty. She asks about the partitions in ancient Muslim times, then, because the partition and side entrance mean the Sheikh can’t see them either, they sneak out.

I’ll interject to say that I’m not deeply familiar with various Muslim practices. I took a course on the history of the Islamic world and did some extra reading, but it’s a rich and varied topic. I mention it because our class visited evening services at the local Islamic Center, where they did have a separate entrance for women and the women did sit behind a partition. The guests were separated by gender and went in the designated entrances, but we (the lady visitors) were given chairs where we could see both sides of the partitions during the prayers. Afterward we were invited into the male section to see the decorations and whatnot. So, I’m not entirely clear on how all that’s supposed to work, if it’s just segregated during prayers or if it only matters for Muslim women or what.

I don’t want to see Kamala become an atheist or throw off her religion entirely, and I don’t think that’s being set up. I do see her asking reasonable questions though. It behooves all of us to ask questions of our chosen religions, and I think her attitude is pretty realistic for most teenagers. Her religious tradition means something to her, as seen in the last issue, but maybe she’s not entirely sure what it means to her. Maybe she has questions about religious expression and how she wants to “do” her religion. Maybe she has other questions. I thought it was a good sign going forward that she can have a dynamic relationship with her own religion. I’m told the writer for this series is actually a Muslim woman herself (somehow I escaped knowing that already) so it’s good that Kamala’s not portrayed as hostile to her religion AND that everything isn’t perfectly rosy.

On the superheroic front, most of this issue still consists of Kamala asking questions. Pretty spot-on questions, like “What does it mean to have powers? To be able to look like someone I’m not?” That basically sums up the whole series. In addition to Kamala’s questions, there’s some tasty foreshadowing for a possible member of her support crew and a possible villain, and then in the last few pages Kamala gets into some biiiig trouble. No more details! Go buy the comic! Support your local comic store! The overall story and artistic quality is still good, and I’m still really excited.

Depending on funds, I may start reading another series or two on a monthly basis. I’m thinking about Loki: Agent of Asgard and Serenity: Leaves on the Wind, but do you have other titles you think deserve attention? What titles would you like to see reviewed?

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8 thoughts on “Review: Ms. Marvel #3

  1. I would recommend All-New Ghost Rider, which only has two issues out so far. It’s another title that Marvel is kind of taking a risk on, and parallels Ms. Marvel in a lot of ways. They’re both young minorities who are taking on the mantles of legacy characters, and sort of fit that Peter Parker mould of someone who must balance their personal life and their heroic one.

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  2. I still haven’t picked this up and I am still very interested. I really do need to jump on this. I wonder if my library has these…

    And can I vote for the Loki comic? I LOVE Loki. He’s another that I’ve been interested in finding a comic about. I’d love to read your review on that one.

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    1. Noted! I’m thinking that will be one of the additions, partly because I’ve been seeing some interesting discussions about Loki’s sexuality so it could count as diversity. I’d love to see some bisexual characters. (I imagine someone like Loki would have a more complicated expression than just that, but something on the spectrum.)

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  3. G. Willow Wilson is, indeed, a Muslim. She’s a white woman who converted to Islam in college. She moved to Egypt for a while to be a journalist, and then returned to the US to do other stuff.

    As far as other titles to check out: Loki’s definitely really good. It’s a lot of fun, with lots of twists and turns, which one should expect of a Loki comic. Captain Marvel’s very good – she’s an Avenger in space! And she brought her cat, Chewie! She-Hulk has so far been huge amounts of fun, with some nice legal stuff thrown in. It’s written by a lawyer, so the legal stuff is actually more-or-less realistic, necessary artistic license notwithstanding. Moon Knight’s being written by Warren Ellis, a hugely popular comic book writer, and the first two issues have done a great job, with some nice anti-establishment undertones. All-New Ghost Rider is notable because it’s written by a half-black half-Hispanic writer, about a Hispanic character, and the art’s got a great, cartoonish and hyper-kinetic style.

    I’d also recommend the first Pretty Deadly trade when it comes out on April 30. It’s an amazing story. A masterpiece, with gorgeous writing and beautiful art.

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    1. Ooh, I’ve heard good things about Pretty Deadly, and it’s easier/cheaper for me to get trades, so I’ll definitely try to check that out.

      All of those look great! I’ve liked Carol Danvers before when she was Ms. Marvel, and I love her cat… I’m relatively new to Marvel though and I’ve never read She-Hulk, so I want to read that. And all the others. So many, ahhhh…! 😉

      Usually I read DC, but I generally get the trades for those and I don’t really want to give them my money except to support a comic with diversity, so if I can find one of those I’ll probably do that and one more Marvel or something. So many choices.

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      1. Yeah, Marvel’s been doing a good job bleeding people’s wallets lately. I’m currently buying 14 titles from them each month. And Marvel’s definitely been on a big diversity push lately. Once Elektra #1 drops, that’ll be 5 female solo titles. They’ve got X-Men, with an all-female primary cast. All-New X-Men now has equal parts male and female. All-New Ghost Rider and Ms. Marvel both have minority leads. Nova kinda does, as the main character is mixed-race white and Hispanic. Mighty Avengers in minority-majority. Quite a few other titles have fairly diverse casts, too. It’s wonderful to see.

        Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel are both written by women, and Ghost Rider is written by a person of colour, so Marvel is at least trying to diversify their creators, too. They do have a lot of non-white artists. The editor of Ms. Marvel is actually a Pakistani woman from Jersey – she’s basically Kamala grown up. So Marvel’s still got a lot of room for improvement, but it’s something they’re aware of, something a lot of people there have actually commented on and said they want to be better about.

        I also like how much they’re moving away from the overly sexualized depictions of women. Black Widow’s solo title – which is also excellent – provides a perfect example. Even the covers show her zipped up – something that’s traditionally been a problem with the character. Marvel’s starting to move away from cheesecake-for-the-sake-of-cheesecake.

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