Comics

[review] Ms. Marvel: No Normal – G. Willow Wilson / Adrian Alphona

ms marvel no normal cover g willow wilsonRelease Date: October 30, 2014
Publisher: Marvel
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 120
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased copy

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm!

When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, New York!

Tell Me More: 2014 was the year I started learning about and reading comics, and no matter who I talked to, one recommendation was consistent: G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel. I’ll admit to being intimidated at first–my only experience with the Marvel universe thus far had been the first issue of Avengers Civil War and the movies. But Wilson and artist Alphona deliver an exhilarating and extremely relevant story in these first five issues, and I’m only sorry I didn’t pick this comic up earlier.

Kamala Khan is irresistible, a fidgety teenage girl who wants to make her own place in the world. While it might seem like a familiar story, there is one marked difference: Kamala is a practicing Muslim. Her religion isn’t the sole focus or driving force of the story, but it does play a role in how she approaches situations, learning to balance her faith with her life. Kamala also seems to be a 2nd-generation immigrant child, and that’s a whole other set of traditions and mindsets with which to grapple. G. Willow Wilson’s text masterfully hints at these points of tension, and how Kamala may have to deal with them sooner rather than later.

Alphona’s art is full of movement, filled with curved lines and a sense of urgency. It complements Kamala’s restlessness, the vivid colours getting punchier as she discovers her new abilities. The panels that detail her transformation are almost ethereal, like watching wisps of a dream you can’t quite fully remember.

Speaking of dreams, Kamala aspires to be like Carol Danvers, former Ms. Marvel and now Captain Marvel, right down to the blonde hair and arresting presence. Volume 1 hints at how Kamala will come into her own power and confidence, with Carol as a positive influence, and I know I would love to see them interact in later issues. No Normal does a great job in general of setting up future mysteries for Kamala to take on, such as the Inhuman mythology.

The Final Say: Ms. Marvel: No Normal is an excellent way in for readers new to the comic world, and a satisfying, insightful first volume of this new series. How could I not be a comic reader with Kamala Khan by my side?



g willow wilson author photoAbout G. Willow

G. Willow Wilson began her writing career at the age of 17, when she freelanced as a music and DJ critic for Boston’s Weekly Dig magazine. Since then, she’s written the Eisner Award-nominated comic book series Air and Mystic: The Tenth Apprentice and the graphic novel Cairo. Her first novel, Alif the Unseen, was a New York Times Notable book and winner of the 2013 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

adrian alphona illustrator photoAbout Adrian

Adrian Alphona is a Canadian comic book artist. He co-created Marvel Comics’ Runaways with writer Brian K. Vaughan.

Add Ms. Marvel: No Normal on Goodreads | Follow G. Willow on Twitter @GWillowWilson | Visit G. Willow’s website | Follow Adrian on Twitter @adrianalphona | Visit Adrian’s website

Order Ms. Marvel: No Normal from Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters

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Categories: Comics

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1 reply »

  1. This was one of the first comic books I bought when I started trying to collect last year. I regret nothing. Such a great comic.

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