Perspective and Power in Ms. Marvel 19

by Drew Baumgartner

Ms. Marvel 19

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

Plenty of comics have come out over the past year or so commenting on the rise of Trumpism, but few are as equipped to position their protagonists as the target of growing racial and religious resentment as Ms. Marvel. Helmed by writer G. Willow Wilson and editor Sana Amanat, this series has never been afraid to tackle the issues that face muslims in America — particularly young women — but this issue places islamophobia front and center as the “Keepers of Integration, Normalization, and Deference” disrupt Eid al-Adha, the holiest of Muslim holidays. Artist Marco Falla makes that disruption literal, as the “K.I.N.D.” men obstruct Kamala and Gabe’s path. Continue reading

Ms. Marvel 7

ms marvel 7

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Ms. Marvel 7, originally released May 25th, 2016.

Patrick: Y’know, for being one of them-there “Inhumans,” Kamala Kahn is not particularly well-suited for large-scale comic book crossovers. Her problems tend to be grounded in something so much more closely resembling reality than someone like Carol Danvers or Tony Stark or even Peter Parker. She’s not going into space, and if she is fighting some kind of superpowered evil, it’s more of a strain on her maxed-out high school schedule than it is a threat to her life. So I was a little taken aback when I saw that this issue was designated a “The Road to Civil War II” story, with all that self-serious branding on the cover. Luckily — and obviously, when you take a second to think about it — G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona understand what works about Ms. Marvel. Instead of delivering twenty pages of set-up, they craft a narrative that plays out — and subverts — the themes of Civil War in a friendly, emotionally honest way that’s true to their characters. Continue reading

Hawkeye 17

hawkeye 17Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Hawkeye 17, originally released March 12th, 2014.

SpencerHawkeye is consistently one of the most daring comic books on the shelf. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always making the biggest, most shocking moves, but it does mean that anything’s fair game when it comes to this book. An issue told from the point of view of the dog? Sure! Killing off a beloved supporting character then spending months and months revisiting the event from every conceivable angle? Why not?! Separating the main characters then dividing up the narrative between them? Seems do-able! Matt Fraction doesn’t shy away from taking risks with Hawkeye, no matter how strange or mundane, and Hawkeye 17 is one of the strangest of all. Fortunately, it’s charming as all get out. Maybe that’s the true legacy of Hawkeye: the risks always pay off. Continue reading

Ms. Marvel 1

ms  marvel 1

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Ms. Marvel 1, originally released February 5th, 2014. 

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But what did he see in the clear stream below? His own image; no longer a dark, gray bird, ugly and disagreeable to look at, but a graceful and beautiful swan.

Hans Christian Andersen, The Ugly Duckling

Drew: We all know the story, but have you ever actually read Hans Christian Andersen’s original The Ugly Ducking? It’s beyond dark. Before he realizes he’s actually a swan, the ugly duckling has embraced suicide as his only escape from a life as an outcast. Even without that particular detail, the ending has always struck me as grim. The happy ending stems from the ugly duckling actually being classically beautiful, after all, not from any kind of acknowledgement that looks aren’t everything. This particular duckling happened to be a swan, but what of ducklings that are actually ugly? I guess those end up actually committing suicide. In spite of this straight-up “difference is awful (unless it happens to make you the same as someone else)” message, this story is treated as though it empowers different-looking children. Its contradiction is almost tragic. As I read through the letters column of Ms. Marvel 1, which praised the notion of a non-white heroine, I couldn’t help but feel that same tragic disconnect, as the heroine herself turns out to be, well, you can see for yourself after the jump. Continue reading