Ms. Marvel #11
Generation Why, Part Four of Four
G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
It's time, once again, for a reminder of why Ms. Marvel is such an awesome book and why you should be reading it.
You should be reading it because of this panel, in which she saves her friend Nakia. Not just because of the best friend feels, or because of Kamala's amazing hair (frizzed out due to being zapped with electricity in a previous panel), but because of the way that Kamala is cradling Nakia's head. It's pure affection, pure love, and it turns this otherwise entirely violent moment into something gentle:
You should be reading it because of this moment, in which Kamala realizes that she isn't going to be capable of saving everyone on her own—and more importantly, THAT SHE DOESN'T HAVE TO:
You should be reading it because as empowering as Ms. Marvel already is, that idea—the idea of finding strength in numbers, that everyone has something to bring to the team, that even superheroes need to call for help sometimes—is huge. I love that it seems like it's something that Kamala will be comfortable doing in the future, that she is modeling that behavior for her audience (regardless of age) without letting the IT'S OKAY AND SOMETIMES IT'S EVEN NECESSARY TO CALL FOR HELP message come off as didactic, and ALSO without letting it diminish her strength and capability and agency, in her own eyes, in the eyes of her peers, in the eyes of the reader.
You should be reading it because of this:
So often, superheroes are at odds with law enforcement. This was nice to see. And it was even nicer to see Officer Sideburns comment on the fact that most superheroes aren't tracking down kids who've fallen through the cracks. It's like in Anne, when Buffy ran away from Sunnydale and discovered that all of the homeless kids were going missing—and that until she showed up, that they'd been going missing without comment for some time.
Speaking of Buffy. You should be reading it because more than any other heroine or story I'm following at the moment, Ms. Marvel—Kamala herself, but also the book as a whole—feels like a direct descendant of Buffy. The pop culture references and the humor; that she doesn't fit in among her peers but ALSO has a small group of close friends; her desire to please her family while also shouldering this huge, huge responsibility; and GOOD LORD, the lump-in-your-throat feels that come from her hero/real life balancing act:
AND THIS. More Buffy parallels! Just like we saw in Season Three of Buffy—most notably in Prom and Graduation Day—Kamala has become a source of strength, courage, and inspiration to her peers. In this issue, she wasn't just a leader, she was a team member. The kids didn't just rally around her, they worked WITH her. And then they celebrated her:
They don't know her identity—THAT was a big part of why that Buffy arc was so powerful, I think—but Ms. Marvel is still at the very beginning of what I hope is a long, long journey.