Heroes and heroism are at the center of the 2015 summer reading program, when the library challenges readers of all ages to read something new. We do offer rewards to readers who meet or exceed the challenge, so be sure to check out the details for the Adult Summer Reading Program if you haven't yet.
At various points in our lives, we all look to a variety of people and professions for our heroes, but who is more obvious than a superhero? They might not be real, but they can provide inspiration to people of all ages. I'm still fairly new to the world of superheroes, but I have my favorites, including Kamala Khan, the new Ms. Marvel.
Written by G. Willow Wilson, and illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jacob Wyatt, Ms. Marvel is both entertaining and inspiring. This is the sort of comic book I wish I could give to my teenage self to read because she would've loved it. There will be some spoilers from this point forward, so be warned!
Kamala, a normal teenage girl, suddenly gains superpowers that allow her to save people just like her hero, Captain Marvel. Unfortunately, she gained them after sneaking out of her house to attend a party her parents specifically forbade her to attend. And that's the charm of this series, in between superpowered battles, Kamala faces challenges and questions familiar to most teens and young adults. Everyone has to learn how to balance the expectations of family, friends, and society at large, while still being true to the person you are inside. Kamala is exploring not just what it means to be a hero, but how she can be a hero and a good daughter to her parents who moved from Pakistan to New Jersey to give their children a chance at a better life.
Not that Ms. Marvel is 100% serious all the time, this is absolutely a fun series. Seriously, if I were limited to one word it would be fun. Kamala's shapechanging abilities are versatile, unstable, and used to great effect. The art is both detailed, with interesting backgrounds that make the setting a real part of the larger story, while still colorful and cartoony. The book does assume you have a basic familiarity with superheroes, but you don't need to get any of the references to other series or characters to thoroughly enjoy this series on its own.
There are currently two volumes of this series available, with the third to be released later this summer:
Ms. Marvel volume 1: No Normal
Ms. Marvel volume 2: Generation Y
Ms. Marvel volume 3: Crushed*
~Sarah, Adult Services
*Volume 3 is on order and will appear in the library's catalog for holds by the end of the July.