By Juliet Kahn

As the daughter of two very different cultures, as someone who grew up in a Spanish-speaking home, and as someone who has always turned to books to explain the vagaries of life, I’ve grown used to fiction aimed at “ethnic” young adults. It wears its consciousness on its sleeve, and ranges from the excellent — everything by the recently deceased Walter Dean Myers — to the execrable. The latter is didactic, joyless, and feels less written than assembled by a band of preening academics. There is no truth at the heart of it, only a clinical estimation of “otherness” that, in addition to feeling false, is nearly always boring. Comics have fallen into this trap for decades, though the character of color in question is almost never the protagonist. One weak swipe at relevance, usually in the introductory issue, is all we get before they slowly, implacably, fade into the background.

I was excited for Ms. Marvel from the moment it was announced. I reblogged it, retweeted it, called my mother about it, chatted it up at my local comic shop. But secretly, I was more than a little certain that it would suck in all the usual ways. Sure, the Jamie McKelvie cover was splashy, and sure, I was hearing good things about series writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona. But I was girded for — and expected — twenty or so lackluster issues before cancellation.

The first issue came out, and it was good. Really good. It was bright and fun and electric with personality in every way a comic can be, from its color palette to its ending splash. Still, though, I was unconvinced — fantastic first issues have given way to mediocrity before.

But the second issue was great. And the third. And the fourth. And with the fifth issue and the first arc completed, I feel that I can finally let out the breath I’ve been holding and say that Ms. Marvel is truly wonderful work.


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    This comic is really good. I definitely recommend it.
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