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Thursday, January 16, 2014 

AV Club fails to comprehend the issues at hand with new Ms. Marvel

The AV Club's been paying lip service to "All-New Marvel Now", which they say is a spotlight for "stylistic diversity" and when they get to the part about the Muslim Ms. Marvel, they say:
Wilson and Alphona’s relaunch of Ms. Marvel starring a Muslim teenage girl has proven to be one of the most controversial announcements of All-New Marvel Now!, and the fact that it’s garnered such a heated reaction shows just how difficult a battle this creative team faces. Frankly, it’s sad that many superhero comic-book fans are unwilling to accept a character that comes from a drastically different background than most heroes, and the short story in Point One shows how Kamala Khan’s circumstances make her stand out without completely defining her personality. Half of the plot shows Kamala in battle as the new Ms. Marvel, using her shape-shifting, size-changing powers to fight a monster made of trash in a New Jersey junkyard, while the other half has her racing to her cousin’s mehndi (pre-wedding party), a cultural event that is refreshing to see depicted in a superhero comic. The story does remarkable working capturing the conflict between Kamala’s costumed and civilian life, and the restrictions and expectations placed on her at home make the superhero scene feel like a true moment of liberation for the character.
"Drastically"? I think it's clear that, were Marvel and DC to introduce a boilerplate communist/anti-Judeo-Christian/atheist/marxist/Scientologist/socialist/fascist character into their pages, all the while depicting the mindset in a completely positive light, they'd lash out at any and all who dare utter even the slightest criticism for trivializing bad ideologies. Until this rather ambiguous commentary, I had no idea the writers for the AV Club were this dumb.

The monster she fights in a junkyard made of trash sounds laughable, and brings to mind a fantasy sequence from Calvin and Hobbes where the the 6-year-old daydreamer thinks he's battling a monster made of old leaves. And no matter what "restrictions and expectations" they bring up in the story, there's no chance they'll ever deal with them convincingly. The artwork featured from the book they talk about is unimpressive, typical of various modern comics that have very little feel for superhero and adventure comics, drawn pretty stiffly.

I don't think Marvel withdrew their pamphlets from mainstream bookstores because they were embarrassed of what knowledgable people would think if they saw this, but it shouldn't be too hard to guess that a lot of the copies would gather dust as not only realists wouldn't want to buy it, even hardcore Islamists wouldn't particularly care. As noted before, there's a lot of reasons why this isn't bound to be the runaway success they must want it to be.

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