Kamala Kahn

The 4th character to take over Ms. Marval, Kamala Kahn,  is the first Muslim superhero to headline a Marvel book. This is undoubtably an important step towards increasing Muslim visibility, but additionally nudges the genere in a more diverse direction, something Marvel has been criticized for before.

The story centers around Kamala Kahn, discovering her newfound ability to shapeshift at will.  While honing her abilities to fight crime, she avoids being constantly thwarted by her overbearing parents. They are concerned that she focuses too much on boys and don’t respect their authority enough- when they should be worried about the super villain that almost killed her the night before.

There are also several interactions with white characters that might resonate with a Muslim audience. In one scene, Kamala describes being frustrated by her parents over protectiveness and refusing to let her go to a party because boys will be present. This is seen as an invitation by the white girl to trash talk all muslim culture, despite the narrow criticism levied by Kamala. It is important to recognize that just like any other religion, culture or ideology, adherents might have a diversity of opinions about how it ought be practiced and have a relationship more complicated that utter contempt or blind adherence to it.

While I’m not a huge fan of casting Muslims in crime fighting roles, in the large genre of crime fighting super heroes, it seems fitting to at least have one example of a Muslim character. Kamala is a relatable character for any teenager believing their parents to be  actively trying to ruin their life and overly strict. She struggles with self confidence and seeks approval from her classmates just with the added twist of a second job where she saves the world.

 

Edited for clarity 4/25

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s