Category: Graphic Story
The new Ms. Marvel is a Muslim American schoolgirl who has to balance between doing superhero stuff and her family’s cultural traditions, just as the classic Spider-Man had to balance between doing superhero stuff and having a girlfriend. Nothing terribly new under the sun.
Writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona have done a great job at describing different tensions that the latest incarnation of the character has to deal with in an entertaining and — in a right way — light-hearted comic book. Ms. Marvel isn’t notable because she is the first major (or the first?) Muslim superhero in the Marvel universe. A less talented creative team could easily have turned it into a preachy story about diversity, but I think Ms. Marvel is a Hugo finalist because it is a damn good SFF comic.
On the other hand, Ms. Marvel sheds light on some of the silly limitations of the superhero genre as a whole. Because it’s a Marvel comic, there has to be an evil cardboard supervillain to fight against even though just seeing her live her life and try to cope would have been interesting enough.
In short: Having difficulties with being a young Muslim in New Jersey — interesting. Having difficulties with emerging superpowers — interesting. Having to fight a lame-ass supervillain — sort of boring.