The reviews are in for Marvel's newest superhero. And they're fairly straightforward.
When you read about the new Ms. Marvel, you'll learn she is a Muslim-American teenager from New Jersey who one day discovers her special powers. In addition to adapting to new shape-shifting abilities, she’s dealing with the pressures brought on by her conservative family.
Andrew Wheeler wrote about Ms. Marvel on ComicsAlliance.com. "The superhero genre needs more heroes for young women and people of color to look up to, and to introduce a hero who is Muslim -- one of the most maligned and misunderstood minority groups in America today -- is especially bold and especially laudable," he wrote. "It seems likely that this book will treat its lead respectfully, with no broke-back poses or T&A pretzel twists."
But when you click on the comments section, you quickly find out Wheeler's view may be in the minority.
“Where was she during 9/11?”
“Shouldn't this Muslim superhero be wearing a full body burqa. The Taliban will issue a fatwa for her to be killed for going against Sharia law. Marvel Comics might need to watch their backs also.”
“Does this mean we'll see her drop down to her knees five times a day, even in the middle of a battle?!?”
“No better disguise than a burka. Just hope she doesn’t try to drive a car anywhere in the Middle East. Or vote. Or talk to any other male superheroes.”
Marvel Editor Sana Amanat told the New York Times it was prepared for the backlash. "I do expect some negativity not only from people who are anti-Muslim, but people who are Muslim and might want the character portrayed in a particular light," she said.
Comic book enthusiasts have also pointed out this is not the first Muslim comic superhero.
"She's not the first Muslim hero at Marvel, and she won't be the last. Sure, early attempts at inclusion were, to say the least, embarrassing (so much so that Kurt Busiek made it a point to pointlessly kill off the Arabian Knight). Later characters have been much more palatable. Most notably is the X-Man (er, woman) called M. Monet St. Croix. She comes from a mixed heritage, self-identifying as Muslim, while other members of her family celebrate Christmas. But interestingly, she has not shied away from the topic publicly, taking umbrage with religious persecution when she sees it,” Kevin Garcia wrote for io9.com.
But where Ms. Marvel will be unique -- beyond her religion or gender -- is her journey into superhero greatness. Online, people may choose to troll articles and leave inflammatory comments. But the real test of her success will be if people in real life choose to buy the comic. Will you pick up a copy?