MS. MARVEL VOL. 4 - 9
Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan is the first (mainstream, female) Muslim superhero. I read the first three volumes of her comic about a year ago, and caught up on the rest of them this month. There are crossovers with Black Panther and Spiderman and the Avengers, but I don't particularly care about superheroes, and am mostly interested in the way the series seems to be trying to """normalize"" American Muslims, and at the same time trying not to portray Kamala herself as ""too""" Muslim. Her mom and sister-in-law and best friend all wear hijab, but Kamala (usually) doesn't. Her brother is a self-described Salafi (!!), but Kamala is generally annoyed by him, and she isn't shown going into a mosque until volume 9, and even then it's to get boyfriend advice from a kindly old imam. The words biyrani, wudu, and even hijab all get asterisks and explanatory footnotes, but istaghfirullah doesn't - I guess it's assumed that everyone's familiar with it because Drake says it? Kamala's occasional frustrations with being the least religious person in a fairly religious family, her brother's experience as a conservative Muslim in the U.S., and the discrimination his wife sometimes faces as a black convert to Islam are all hinted at and dealt with in interesting and nuanced ways, and I wish those kind of stories would get more time here than like fighting robot aliens or stopping runaway trains or whatever. I realize it's a superhero comic aimed at young teenagers, but I wish it could be more like Saga, which is a wild and gory space opera that still deals directly with issues like immigration and religion and interspecies love in ways that are surprising and thought-provoking. I'll keep reading this series as long as G. Willow Wilson is writing it, but I'll probably continue to prefer her non-superhero stories.
I really liked this b&w comic book that's structured around a middle school kid giving a book report on a book about 1880s Ozarks vigilantes that I bought this summer but never read. I would have been thrilled and very proud if the guy who made it was from Missouri, but he's from somewhere in Massachussetts. Still good.
other books I read this month: