Author: G. Willow Wilson
Genre: Graphic Novel
Series: Ms. Marvel (Vol. 1)
Kamala Khan is just your average teenage girl living in New Jersey. As a second-generation Pakistani immigrant who is Muslim, she is trying to find her identity…as well as make it through high school alive. A huge fan of superheroes and graphic novels, her life takes a turn when she sneaks out to a high school party one night and finds herself suddenly endowed with superhero powers! Now what will her identity be? As if surviving in a world caught between her family’s values and society’s standards wasn’t hard enough, now she has bad guys to fight and a superhero identity to create!
I don’t know much about Graphic Novels. I don’t read many. I’m not even a big fan of “superhero” story lines. I am however in love with strong female protagonists and representation. I was attracted to this story for both reasons.
I had never read a story featuring a character of Pakistani descent, nor had I read a story with a Muslim protagonist. I thought the social commentary and the commentary on identity vs cultural/family loyalty for a second-generation immigrant was powerful.
For some reason, I find the superhero powers that magically appear to be a bit cliché and cheesy…however, even if they are overdone…they’ve never been done with this character, and I liked that.
There are action scenes and a hint at romance (I thought). The graphics are fun, colorful, and exciting. The dialogue is good and there are explanations of words that may not be accessible to all English speakers.
I recommend this read! It was fun, quick, and yet powerful!
I LOVE the idea of this Graphic Novel being used in the classroom to discuss identity crisis. I believe that identity crises happen to all teenagers, it is a time of angst and questioning your place in the world. Almost as if it is a rite of passage. However, I think it is 10,000,000 times harder to when you grow up with a different culture, language, religion, or appearance than “society’s ideal”.
Not only could students analyze the use of image and identity, but they could also discuss the lack of diversity in literature, maybe even graphic novels/superhero identities to be specific. There are some good frames that can be used for a powerful discussion on how to be an ally and how to be curious about others’ cultures without creating negative experiences or unintentionally (or intentionally) shaming and excluding others.