Ms Marvel

We watched the new Ms Marvel TV series over the last few weeks, and loved it. I very much enjoyed the first volume of the G. Willow Wilson comic and voted for it (along with the majority) for the 2015 Hugos, was less impressed by the second volume and not sure if I read later installments. The TV series takes a different angle. Here’s a trailer:

It’s still the origin story of a Pakistani-American girl with super powers growing up in New Jersey; but it links the life of an ordinary-ish American teenager of today, in conflict with the forces of the U.S. deep state, but also processing the trauma of Partition, seventy-five years ago this month; it will be pretty educational for the core audience of Disney+ viewers. The fifth episode in particular takes the story back to Karachi in 1947, conveying the chaos and horror of the time very economically.

It’s also very attractive to see Islam portrayed in a matter of fact way, as a religion practiced by ordinary middle class Americans, with the local mosque having all the same internal politics manifest in any religious organisation, or indeed any human organisation at all. The mosque itself is played with quiet assurance by the Fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia, an enormous movie palace built in 1929 in consciously Islamic style.

The script is witty and wise, and various points are well made. And I get a little patriotic glow from the fact that the directors are Belgian. I don’t think I was familiar with any of the cast before, but they are all excellent, and the whole thing critically depends on Iman Vellani, here in her first significant acting job, in the title role. It’s way more interesting than, say, Harry Potter.

Anyway, strongly recommended (in case that was not clear).

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