I had a stressful terrible wonderful weekend (moving is HARD y’all! Even when you are moving to your dream place), so I forgot to put up this post on Sunday. And no one noticed, which makes me think it is still just me and Emily and Emily is too nice to complain.
Chapter 2! Introduction of Kamran!!!!
So many great things about this chapter. We start with Ms Marvel running a training obstacle course, being a superhero in training, and then rushing home to be a Good Daughter. But the two things don’t feel separated from each other. In both cases, she is being the best she can be to please the people she respects. She complains about dressing up and being proper to meet her parents’ old friends, but she still does it.
And then of course, the introduction of the Perfect Guy. This series in general is very respectful of Kamala’s ethnic heritage and all that it means. Her parents want her to have a life similar to their own, want her to maintain her identity and culture, and want to keep her safe. No one is forcing her into anything, but she respects her parents enough to listen to and consider their concerns. So it is understood through out the family that a) her parents are going to be introducing her to a series of nice Pakistani young men, and b) she just has to be polite to them and open minded, no more than that.
When Kamala, age 16, actually finds the Perfect Guy, son of her parents oldest friends, interested in computer games, does well in school, her family is not happy. Nothing wrong with the guy, but Kamala is 16 and they don’t want her to rush into anything. I particularly like how her brother handles things. He insists on chaperoning them and is a bit of a wet blanket, but honestly, he SHOULD do that. If their magical instant connection can’t handle an irritating older brother, it’s not that magical in the first place. The social rules they are following are also just rules of common sense.
And of course, Film Convo!!!! It’s almost too on the nose that they bond over computer games, and Hindi films. The perfect symbols of the second generation American. Connected to both sides of their culture. But at the same time, it’s part of the illusionary “magic”. Is it that they really like each other as people, or is it that they are excited to find someone else with similar interests? It’s a fine line, but there is a difference there.
Then attack, and her brother does the big brother thing because he is so sweet (I thought he would be a one dimensional character when he was first introduced, but he has turned into my favorite person in her family). And finally, the reveal of the LAST thing Kamala and Kamran have in common, both with superpowers. Perfect Guy!!!!
Or is he?
I did notice! But it’s all good because I’m on vacation this week with more free time. I’ll come back tomorrow when I’m not tired from family hiking.
On Tue, Jul 6, 2021 at 11:10 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
OK here goes. I’m going to do this in bullet form because I love so many things about this chapter but they’re not really related in a tie it all together kind of way.
– Jersey City: it’s kind of weird that the family lives on Grove St., that’s the best known street in the city but not where the Pakistani community is. When they go looking for the DVD shop on Newark Ave. though, that’s on point – did you recognize it from your visit, Margaret? Could have been the same block even.
– Movie references: love that this is a point of connection between Kamala and Kamran, that they bond over earnest enjoyment of the movies their parents love (Sholay!) instead of hating on them like their peers. Did you catch the side love note about Amitabh from “Fobbed-out Sana”? That would be Sana Amanat, Marvel editor and co-creator of Ms. Marvel with G. Willow Wilson (who is Muslim but not Pakistani). Getting her movie geek on. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sana_Amanat
– Family: that early scene with the family is just the best. I love their dynamic so much. The way the parents and brother are shown to be traditional but not stereotypes, and the love and humor in the way they all interact. (“I still don’t like the idea of you running around in the street, puffing and sweating. It’s not decent.” “Don’t worry, Ammi. I only sweat when nobody is looking.”) And Abu’s alarmed reaction when she hits it off right away with Kamran and wants to walk out with him.
– Message: there’s this moment when she faces the villain Kaboom where Kaboom tries to talk her over to the bad inhuman side by saying they’re superior to regular humans. Ms. Marvel’s response is one of those indirect but clear callouts to the politics her community has had to contend with. “It’s always the same. There’s always that one group of people who think they have special permission to terrorize anyone who disagrees with them. And then everybody who looks like them suffers.”
– Ending: he’s so slick how he sets this up. He catches her out, then reassures her by revealing his own powers. Poor girl, of course she’s bowled over.
-Is Grove Street a solidly middle-class area? I feel like based on her school and friends that her family is pretty assimilated, but they don’t have the generational wealth that would let them get a place in the best area. Or a big place, this is clearly a tiny house where everyone is always bumping into everyone.
-Yes! Kamala is just so open and charming and delightful, no posturing. The same as in her fight with Loki in the last issue, always direct and plowing ahead and revealing all. So risky and fragile and young.
-Yes! Abu’s alarmed reaction, and her brother being all protective on their walk, while also really giving her space to make a new friend.
-YES! I forgot about that moment! It was so well done. Not underlined, not significant, just there. There are moments like it in later issues to, but what I most like is when it isn’t directly addressed. Kamala is a loved supported independent intelligent teenage American girl who happens to be Muslim.
-Ugh, KAMRAN! He is every bad boyfriend ever!!!! And isn’t it great that her brother is suspicious from the start? I think just because he senses that this dude is too cool and too confident to be hanging out with his innocent open sweet honest little sister.
On Thu, Jul 8, 2021 at 4:58 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
– Grove Street in one direction is where all the hipsters live now. Go back more than 20 years and it was kind of a bad part of town, despite being right across from City Hall. In the other direction it’s an aging Filipino and Puerto Rican/Dominican enclave mixed in with middle class families of all the mix you get in Jersey City. That part is close to the high school but a 30-40 minute walk from the part of Newark Ave where they go to check out movies. It just feels like they picked the most recognizable street name, whereas this family – based on her parents’ generation and the fact that she grew up there – would probably live over on the west side or in the heights, closer to the desi part even if not right in the midst of it.
– I think her dad is alarmed and her brother is suspicious because they didn’t expect her to do more than show up and be polite. It’s so out of character for her to swoon over anyone. Not so much that they distrust Kamran as they distrust this strange new Kamala they don’t recognize.