Goodreads: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2: Generation Why
Series: Ms. Marvel (MARVEL NOW!) #2
Sixteen-year-old Kamala Khan is the new Ms. Marvel and already she’s made an enemy–the Inventor, a strange birdlike man who has been harvesting runaway teens. Can Kamala save the runaways or has she taken on a challenge beyond her abilities?
The second volume of the new Ms. Marvel possesses all of the elements that made the first collection and its heroine so endearing, while expanding Kamala’s universe in exciting ways. Though Kamala has officially donned the lighting bolt and is determined to use her new powers to help others, her fledgling status as a superhero means that she really has no idea what she is doing. Fortunately, other superheroes wish to help–and Kamala may just learn about her origins in the process.
Altogether, this is really a fun volume that focuses on Kamala’s journey to accept that, even with superpowers, she still needs to rely on others at times. That means we get an adorably funny cameo from another superhero, who will teach Ms. Marvel a little about fighting evil, if only she can stop fangirling long enough to listen. We also see some other familiar faces from the Marvel universe who tantalize us with information about the mysterious mist that appeared in the first volume and gave Kamala her powers. This new knowledge gives Kamala a little more confidence as she faces her first villain.
The only aspect of the volume I did not like was the emphasis on Generation Y and the ways in which they respond to the (mostly) negative media attention they receive. The plot revolved around the usual messages–Millenials are self-centered, lazy, unemployed children who refused to grow up, etc., etc. Kamala responds to this with the fire many Millenials probably wish they had, arguing that she and her peers are doing the best they can to deal with the economic mess and the energy crises left to them by those who came before.
That’s all really relevant to a lot of readers and Kamala answers perfectly. However, I wish the presentation had not been so heavy-handed. Words like “parasites” keep popping up to describe Generation Y, as does the idea that they are useless products of overpopulation. One character opines that the terms leveled at millenials should qualify as “hate speech.” While I do frequently read articles declaring that Millenials are entitled individuals who refuse to move out into their own homes, get jobs, and get married, I have yet to read one that phrases its arguments quite so hatefully. Maybe that’s what the authors intend to express (I don’t know) but I doubt most could get published calling an entire generation the scum of the earth just because they’re facing a low employment rate. I suppose the story simply propelled these arguments to what one might think of as their logical conclusion, but it still seemed a bit much to be believable; some restraint in the presentation of the arguments of those who detest Millenials would have resonated more with me, since I then would have related the points raised to articles I have actually read.
Aside from this one gripe, however, I really enjoyed this volume. Kamala is a delightful heroine, one that I suspect many readers can relate to. Her exuberance in life, her determination to succeed against the odds, and her ability to admit that she is wrong, all make her a joy to read about. I hope to follow her on many more adventures.