The best comics to read right now: ‘Ms. Marvel’ edition

Almost a decade after first debuting in the pages of Marvel comics, Ms. Marvel (a.k.a Kamala Khan) has finally made her way to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Her eponymous TV series debuted on Disney+ June 8. In honor of that long-awaited adaptation, here are some great comics featuring Kamala herself and other characters going through similar stories. Enjoy!

The iconic cover of the very first issue of ‘Ms. Marvel’ starring Kamala Khan.Marvel Comics

Ms. Marvel (Marvel)
G. Willow Wilson (writer), Adrian Alphona (artist), Sana Amanat (editor), Takeshi Miyazawa (artist), Ian Herring (colorist)

This is where it all began. If the Ms. Marvel TV show is your first introduction to Kamala Khan, you owe it to yourself to check out the original comic run by the character’s creators. But even if you’re a longtime fan like some of us, it’s always fun to revisit how Kamala’s journey began as her pop culture ascendance reaches a new high watermark.

G. Willow Wilson wrote Ms. Marvel for over 50 issues, and they are available in various collected editions and on digital services like Comixology and Marvel Unlimited. These stories do a great job of setting up Kamala’s world: Her strict but lovable Pakistani-American family, her helpful friends who all have their own interesting paths to pursue; her amazing shapeshifting powers; and her own pure exuberance at becoming a superhero just like all her idols.

‘Ms. Marvel: Beyond the Limit’ #1, by Mashal Ahmed.Marvel Comics

Ms. Marvel: Beyond the Limit (Marvel)
Samira Ahmed (writer), Andrés Genolet (artist), Tríona Farrell (colorist)

The most recent Ms. Marvel solo comic sends Jersey City’s greatest superhero into that most zeitgeist-y of locales… yes, the multiverse! Upon visiting her scientist cousin in Chicago who’s been researching wormholes, Kamala Khan finds herself face-to-face with an interdimensional doppelganger trying to steal her powers. The time warp also briefly puts her in the midst of a Bollywood musical.

As a five-issue miniseries, Ms. Marvel: Beyond the Limit is short, sweet, and colorful, and ends on a positive note that nevertheless sets up future challenges for the character. For one thing, it seems Kamala is just as ready to wrestle with parallel versions of herself as recent dimension-hoppers Spider-Man and Doctor Strange.

Samira Ahmed is mostly a novelist, but Kamala fits perfectly with her other “revolutionary girl” protagonists seen in books like Internment. On top of that, Andrés Genolet’s art perfectly captures the fun, cartoony nature of both Kamala’s powers and her personality.

The cover to ‘Poison Ivy’ #1 by Jessica Fong, out this June.JESSICA FONG for DC Comics

Poison Ivy #1 (DC Comics)
G. Willow Wilson (writer), Marcio Takara (artist), Arif Prianto (colorist), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (letterer)

Co-creating Kamala Khan isn’t G. Willow Wilson’s only accomplishment in comic books. She has been prolific over the years, writing iconic superheroes like Wonder Woman as well as original creations like Invisible Kingdom. This month sees the launch of her latest series, focused on DC’s plant-based femme fatale Poison Ivy. Originally a Batman villain, Ivy has become much more of an antihero in recent years, thanks in no small part to her fan-favorite romance with Harley Quinn (a centerpiece of the popular HBO Max animated series).

Launched as part of DC’s Pride Month publications, Poison Ivy #1 picks up in the aftermath of a traumatic breakup between Ivy and Harley. Ivy blames Harley for depriving her of the enhanced superpowers that allowed her to control entire cities, even if that choice saved her life. Even so, the book’s narration is written as a series of letters from Ivy to her lover.

Ever an outspoken environmentalist, Ivy (even with her lessened powers) has decided to implement a master plan to finally punish humanity for its desecration of the environment. The way Marcio Takara is drawing her eco-terrorism so far is very reminiscent of Alex Garland’s film Annihilation, with humans fusing with plants to psychedelic results. We can’t wait to see what horrors await in the rest of this series.

The cover for the first volume of Alice Oseman’s ‘Heartstopper’ comic, the basis for the Netflix TV series.Hodder Children’s Books

Heartstopper (Hodder Children’s Books)
Alice Oseman (writer/artist)

Less than two months after premiering on Netflix, the new TV show Heartstopper has become a phenomenon for its heart-warming portrayal of gay teen romance. Two more seasons have already been announced, but if you need your fix in the meantime, the even better news is that there are already several volumes of the original comic written and drawn by creator Alice Oseman.

Heartstopper started as a webcomic, but is now available in graphic novel collections that tell the love story of Nick and Charlie in addition to their friendships with other young queer friends in their school. Read up now so you can be ready for the commemorative, full-color yearbook edition due out this fall! Like Ms. Marvel, Heartstopper features lovable young characters going through relatable struggles. It’s never a bad time to read such a joyful, heartwarming comic this month.

The cover of ‘Infidel’ by writer Pornsak Pichetshote and artist Aaron Campbell.Image

Infidel (Image)
Pornsak Pichetshote (writer), Aaron Campbell (artist), Jose Villarrubia (colorist/editor), Jeff Powell (letterer/designer)

Kamala Khan was the first Muslim superhero to headline her own Marvel book, and the lovably relatable depictions of her faith and heritage in those comics are a big reason she’s become such an icon. But the world is not always kind to people of all cultures, and Infidel shows a different side of Muslim life in America. This comic puts its female Muslim protagonist through a dark horror story instead of an uplifting superhero saga.

When Infidel begins, Aisha is mostly worried about the latent Islamophobia of her white stepmother. But it soon becomes clear that her whole New York apartment building is haunted by the ghosts of xenophobia, racism, and misogyny — and they take their toll on everyone living within. Writer Pornsak Pichetshote has since gone on to create The Good Asian (one of EW’s favorite comics of 2021) and Infidel is an early example of his ability to make thought-provoking political points within well-crafted genre stories. But the art by Aaron Campbell really takes Infidel to the next level. Ghoulish faces lurk in the walls behind otherwise banal neighborly interactions, conveying a genuine feeling of paranoia and madness.

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