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Thursday, August 28, 2014 

Comics Bulletin ignores the dishonesty in Muslim Ms. Marvel writing

Comics Bulletin's published their own fawning over the Muslim Ms. Marvel series, and makes the point for anyone who guessed there'd be dishonesty in how it was promoted:
Another enjoyable element is that Kamala's Muslim faith and upbringing plays a big role in the story. So often in comic books a new character will be introduced with a certain religion or characteristic that is just there so that they can bring it up every now and then so the writer can call it a characteristic. But in Ms. Marvel, Kamala's faith is a huge part of who she is – who she and her family are. They go to mosques, they wear headscarves, and she has to seek advice from her Sheika. Her religion is actually an integral element of the story and the character and is woven well throughout the first seven issues.
Obviously again, this rendition does not admit there's an iota wrong with the Religion of Peace, but what this op-ed also confirms is that, despite any claims to the contrary, Islam does play a significant role in this propaganda, proving Marvel doesn't have the courage to admit they're fine with promoting a particular agenda, and the use of taqqiya (deception).
Though the religious aspect of the story is important, the strongest element in this series is its characters. Rarely has a comic book had this strong a set of characters. Whether it be Zoe, the ditzy blonde girl in school who thinks that she is really reaching out as a friend to Kamala when she really isn't or it be Bruno, Kamala's second-best friend, who only tries to look out for her -- even if that means getting her in trouble with her parents. And there's a plethora of other great supporting characters in this book, such as Sheika Abdula, who initially comes off as a grouchy old man who has disdain for Kamala but is actually very kind and understanding to her plight.

The best set of characters in this book, though, are Kamala and her family. G. Willow Wilson does a fantastic job injecting her family with humanity and believability. They don't feel like cartoonish over-the-top stereotypes they feel like real people. Kamala's brother Jamir is very religious but you understand that he has a deep interest in the teachings and ideals of his faith, Kamala's mother Disha is very shrill and hysterical but it's because she doesn't really understand what the American teenager is like, compared to her upbringing. And Kamala's father Abu-Jann is very stern but clearly cares about Kamala and understands her better than the rest of her family. None of them come off as completely annoying and you really care about Kamala's relationship to all of them and how much they all care for each other.
Curious how the writer says the characters don't feel like stereotypes when, as noted before, the non-Muslim whites (and probably Blacks and Latinos too) come across terribly, and the blonde student is apparently just one of those examples of poor focus on "kuffars" (infidels), if she's portrayed negatively. He fails to consider how the surreal depiction of the family is all done at the expense of some of the guest characters. Yet the mother's rendition is eyebrow raising. Why must the father be portrayed as "caring", yet the mother characterized more as a hothead? And how interesting that this, of all books Marvel could be publishing, is the one allegedly featuring the "brightest" viewpoint, scuttled by how it only serves to mask an ideology thriving on darkness. I've often had the feeling a lot of so-called reviewers do these positive takes deliberately, and wouldn't be surprised if the same applies here. At the end, it says:
Ms. Marvel is a great read for kids, adults teens, women, Muslims, everyone!
It's very dishonest to say it's great for women and children if it's not transparent about the religion's content, yet, as earlier research shows, not every Muslim is enthused either, the propaganda angles notwithstanding. The idea of a girl with powers is not something hardcore Muslims appreciate. And I just remembered: G. Willow Wilson claimed earlier that polymorphs are portrayed negatively, yet Big Bertha is one heroine in the MCU whose power of inflating her structure to huge proportions is very much like polymorphism, which makes Ashley Crawford another character of that kind who's been depicted positively, and Wilson failed to take note of.

Maybe the worst part of this book aside from the politics and artwork is the lowercase lettering that overran Marvel books in the early 2000s and continues to this day. It doesn't look very appealing and makes me realize how much more effective past output was with its largely uppercase lettering.

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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