Current Events Explained in Ms. Marvel 21

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.

It’s hard not to look at the events of the past weekend and wonder just how we, as a nation, got here. How did we get from electing the first black president to having a president who seems to tolerate Nazis and white supremacists? How is it that our country has become so fractured that it seems we are unable to even roundly condemn men who openly advocate for the suppression of an entire race of people? There are no easy answers to these questions, but in Ms. Marvel 21, G. Willow Wilson and Marco Failla offer an explanation on why (at least in part) the world is the way it is in 2017.

Kamala is trying to save her brother and a group of Inhumans from the K.I.N.D. squad, who are masking their fear of people different from themselves by claiming they are dangerous to society. Thus, the people of K.I.N.D. are trying to imprison all the Inhumans in New Jersey. In her efforts to save the Inhumans, Kamala is locked in a battle with masked ninja-like menace with no name. As the battle spills into a local mosque, Kamala unmasks her foe only to realize that it is Josh, a friend from high school.

Naturally Kamala wants to know why Josh would do something so evil as joining K.I.N.D. and helping them with their mission. The answer he gives sounds depressingly familiar to what can be read in the news of late.

Josh, a white, straight, and privileged male feels lost in life. Despite his best efforts to feel important, Josh has a sense that he is somehow being marginalized by society. This makes him susceptible to indoctrination into K.I.N.D. and gives him a purpose, albeit an evil one, that gives his life meaning. The parallels between Josh’s decision to join K.I.N.D. and those of any given number the various hate groups active in the United States is certainly not a coincidence. In this way Wilson is telling us what she thinks is behind the current state of the union. It isn’t ISIS. It isn’t Russia. It’s not immigrants. Instead, what threatens our country most are those people who grew up here, enjoying the privilege that comes with being white, and feeling angry because other people want to be treated just as equitably as them.

That Wilson penned this issue before the events of the past weekend is a testament to her skills as a writer who is unafraid to take on the most pressing issues of our day. If only everyone read Ms. Marvel and heard what she had to say, maybe the world would be a better place, even just a little.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

One comment on “Current Events Explained in Ms. Marvel 21

  1. I’m really interested in seeing how Wilson is going to resolve this, and she is going into very deep, complex waters. Discord’s true identity isn’t a surprise, but taking a character like that, a character who is part of the supporting cast and radicalising him (let’s parallel what happened with Josh to Aamir’s speech last issue!) is fascinating.

    On the one hand, this issue is a fantastic exploration of what turns a man into extremism. During these times where it is more important than ever to understand how such evil can occur, how ordinary people can be corrupted. Especially after last weekend’s events, this is more important than ever. And Wilson does it cleverly. Lockdown’s comment about ‘you were born to be a leader’ is fantastic, in how in preaches white supremacy while sounding seductive. Taylor, everything you praise is correct.

    But my worries come from the ending, in how Kamala decides to reveal her identity to Josh. Now, the idea is sound. Empathy is a powerful weapon against white supremacy. In fact, I remember this fantastic story about a black musician who, as he toured the country, made a point to visit members of the KKK and just talk. How he managed to convert white supremacists out of extremism just through conversation.
    But there are problems with this approach. Firstly, while is is incredibly admirable that this musician and Kamala were self sacrificing enough to be willing to do this, it is an incredibly huge ask for PoC to be expected tor each out to white supremacists like this.
    But more importantly, there are massive practical problems with this approach. THe simple fact is, most of these people are isolated. They don’t have a Kamala there, to save them.

    And that’s what I think this arc is going to need, at the end. It is easy to say how Ms Marvel can save the day when it is Josh. But how about when it isn’t Josh specifically? How about when it is someone who Kamala doesn’t know? Someone who doesn’t already have a Kamala Kahn in their life?
    For this arc to truly, properly explore this topic, we need to learn what Ms Marvel can do, instead of Kamala Kahn

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