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Ms. Marvel Has Stretchy Powers

Ms. Marvel Has Stretchy Powers

Ms. Marvel is the first MCU product where I really knew the comic character before the cinematic character. I liked her in the comics. I liked her in the The Avengers video game. Personally, I think she’s the new Spider-Man. She’s quippy, she’s a teenager, she has a family that loves her though it’s a little broken, she’s science-minded, she has a big case of hero worship, a secret identity, her powers aren’t naturally occurring, and she has a public that’s split on whether she’s a hero or a menace.

Her power does not come from an ancient bangle and it’s not because she’s a mutant. And most importantly, she does not have hard light powers. She does not go boingy-boingy like Mario.

That’s what bothered me the most–the powers. They got her character right and her relationships right (and I suppose I should be thankful for that). She’s got a supportive dad but a traditionalist Mom. She’s torn between being Pakistani and American. She loves superheroes and she knows that WGPCGR (With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility). They got the art/directorial style of a modern teenager right. And I like how she got her name better than in the comics.

But when you change her powers, you change the character. Ms. Marvel has stretchy powers. It’s goofy-looking. It’s supposed to be. Because Ms. Marvel is a bit goofy. But she doesn’t let that stop her. She’s got an ability and she’s going to use it for good. When you give her something different it makes her different.

She’s not a shield person. She’s not defensive-minded. She’s a brawler. That’s what makes her neat. She can make her fist huge and punch someone. She can wrap her arm around a kitty and get it down from the tree. Most important, she can embiggen herself and cross city blocks in a few steps.

I wonder if they didn’t have the budget for that. Did they think it would look too silly on screen? Maybe they could have spent the money on that instead of the location shooting. Ms. Marvel is a Muslim-American teenager living in the now. They don’t make a big deal of her heritage in the comics. I remember the comics being more about balancing her hero identity and normal identity. More about living her best teenage life as a cross-cultural teenager while punching bad guys with a gigantic fist.

BTW ever notice that in every Marvel show, the second-to-last episode is always the flashback episode that explains everything?

For some reason, the big change to her powers was the thing that I couldn’t get over. Both in origin and type. It changes her character too much. I mean, it’s fine if you don’t want to bring in the Inhumans and terrigen mist into the mix. But it seems cheesy that her powers come from her ancestry, making a very strong message that it’s our generational past that gives us strength.

And the fact that she’s basically a shieldmaiden translates to her serving others. Which is fine, but makes her less cool than she is in the comics. Women are always supporters (like Okoye or Gamora or Wasp) or subverters (like Black Widow or Mantis or Nebula), not attackers. That’s what makes Captain Marvel and Scarlet Witch cool.

It seems deviant for no reason other than being PC and inclusive. And sending a message which we’ve seen a hundred times before.

Eric J. Juneau

Eric Juneau is a software engineer and novelist on his lunch breaks. In 2016, his first novel, Merm-8, was published by eTreasures. He lives in, was born in, and refuses to leave, Minnesota. You can find him talking about movies, video games, and Disney princesses at http://www.ericjuneaubooks.com where he details his journey to become a capital A Author.


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