Technopoly is frequently used as a plot device in Superhero comics and popular media, it is most often wielded as a critique on younger generations and their supposed co-dependency on the digital world. However, what I enjoyed most about Ms Marvel is how it flipped this on its head. Sure, it still used technology as a fear-mongering tool, but the outcome was not one that resulted in a far too familiar ‘gah, the youth today-eh?’ rhetoric. Instead, The Inventor was used to represent the underestimation of millennials who have become a go-to punching bag for older generations and their shortcomings.
The Inventor turning millennials into batteries was an enjoyable storyline to read based in the reality of how society exploits younger generations to fuel the needs -or greed- of their predecessors. We see it as a systemic problem that worsens over time, institutions make it harder and harder to enter into the workforce in any capacity or to be useful (as so many of the teenagers that had volunteered to be batteries claimed). We have a huge demand for work experience that overwhelmingly presents itself in unpaid internships and a multitude of forms of playbor that take advantage of a generation trying to get started in life. By including the millennial struggle through an intersectional lens Ms Marvel opened a more hopeful and inclusive dialogue on the prospects of youth in today’s climate.
Additionally, I thoroughly enjoyed the similarities and contrasts of the villain and hero in these issues of Ms Marvel. Both have a goal that is for the good of society but there is a juxtaposition of scales. On the one hand you see an environmentalist with a goal of changing an entire system for the better but with corrupt means. On the other we see someone who is working to establish herself in her own community and do good on a local scale. In some ways this serves the America-centric Marvel universe but by having a female, young, and Muslim superhero they are at least taking a step in the right direction of better representing their diverse readership (I should note that I believe this change does need to continue and at a faster rate that it has before or is currently occuring).
Asides from class discussions…
I wrote down some quotes about Kamala that were said in class and one that stuck out to me was a character flaw that she is “dumb”. I feel like this is an unfair assessment of her, I would argue that instead of being “dumb” she is, on occasion, irrational in her decision making. This again feeds into societal criticisms of younger generations where inexperience is often equated to a lack of intelligence. Kamala exhibits a lot of intelligence and intuition as Ms Marvel; her spontaneous problem solving and ability to switch her logic from the massive to the microscopic (when she shrunk to destroy the wiring of The Inventor’s machines) is awesome! I think it shows a lot more intellect than what we see from other ‘pro’ superheroes like The Avengers who often manipulate The Hulk to go around smashing everything in order to solve an issue that maybe didn’t require so much destruction (a tactic Kamala could deploy with her capacity for embiggening but choses not to).
Secondly, I just wanted to add that I really enjoy G. Willow Wilson’s deconstruction of what it means to be normal and how Kamala struggles with defining her own normal. It is relatable to almost everyone as at some point in our lives most us feel abnormal. In reality, normal is subjective and an individual ideal. So often we see Superheroes perpetuating very narrow ideals of normality when in fact, there is ‘no normal’.