If we’re going to tell each other stories, then those stories should have meaning. They should leave us thinking about important issues. Thinking more about ourselves and the people around us. They should make us question things we take for granted. Among all of this, it’s easy to lose sight of how the stories we tell each other should also be fun.
G. Willow Wilson knows this. When she created Kamala Khan and made her the new Ms. Marvel she gave us a story that had meaning. It made us think about identity, or own and other people’s, and how we’re constantly pulled between individuality and assimilation. She gave us a character we were immediately endeared to and who’s struggles we were immediately invested in. And she also gave us a story that was just so much damn fun.
I started reading Ms. Marvel because it seemed like an important book to read it. I expected to like it, but I wasn’t prepared for how much I’d love it. How it would make me laugh out loud and realize how many of the comics I read are as serious in tone as they are in subject matter. Ms. Marvel covers serious topics and it’s tone is serious when required, but it manages to move deftly from Kamala’s struggle to balance her home, school and superhero lives to facing off against a genetic clone of Thomas Edison that, through a mix up in the cloning process, is also part bird. It ducks away for an issue to have her fighting a giant sewer alligator alongside Wolverine then stares down the dismissive way in which millennial are treated and misunderstood by their elders.
Yet, with all this, it doesn’t read like a story that’s bouncing between thematic opposites because it is, in every panel, told with great joy, humor and humanity. Ms. Marvel is a joy to read because the creative team are so joyous in telling her story, and if we’re telling stories we should take joy in telling them, even if the truths they contain are harsh.