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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Ms. Marvel: Civil War II

Yes, I do read comic books and I'm almost a senior citizen.  I don't usually blog about a comic book unless I consider it really noteworthy. 

Ms. Marvel: Civil War II is a compilation of a number of issues of the Ms. Marvel comic book.   Such compilations are marketed as graphic novels even though they originally appeared separately over the course of a number of months.  I was recently astonished to find that this one is a nominee for Best Graphic Novel of 2017 on Goodreads.   I understood completely once I'd actually read it.  In fact, I voted for it myself.  I also decided that I needed to blog about it.


Back in 2015, I read a memoir by G. Willow Wilson, the woman who has been writing Ms. Marvel. The only thing I had previously read by Willow was a mini-series for DC about African Justice League member Vixen which really impressed me.  The first volume of Ms. Marvel compilations had already been published but I hadn't read it yet. Ms. Marvel is the first Muslim female superhero. Willow is an American Muslim with her own approach to Islam.  If you are interested in that aspect of her life you can read her memoir, The Butterfly Mosque, which I reviewed on this blog here.

There have so far been seven volumes of  Ms. Marvel compilations.  Civil War II is the sixth volume.  I've read all the previous compilations in this series.

I consider Ms. Marvel an important development for American popular culture.   She is obviously intended to combat Islamophobia in the United States . Ms. Marvel is Kamala Khan, an American born Muslim teen with immigrant family members.  I appreciated the fact that the series juxtaposes typical American high school experiences and Muslim family life.   I have to say that the superhero adventure aspect seemed rather routine in the first four volumes.  As a superhero fan, I was rather underwhelmed. Volume 5: Super Famous had a superhero plot line  that involved economic issues for Ms. Marvel's Jersey City.

Civil War II steps up the drama in Ms. Marvel's superhero life and introduces issues that directly relate to the contemporary politics of minority communities in the U.S.  There are justice and law enforcement issues.   Ms. Marvel must choose between the policy decisions of respected figures and protecting her community.   It's a much darker story which doesn't lighten up any when  Kamala tries to get some rest from the troubling conflicts she faced as Ms. Marvel by visiting family in Pakistan.   Ms. Marvel is no longer superhero lite.  Kamala is growing up, and the problems she confronts are tougher to resolve.   That's why I voted for Civil War II for best graphic novel of 2017 on Goodreads.




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