Ms. Marvel was full of boys, but are any of them good enough for Kamala?

One of the best strengths of Ms. Marvel season 1 is the way it balances all of the bubbly vibrancy of a teen film with the action-packed MCU that Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) goals of becoming a member of. After the six-episode season, she’s formally in: a hero with probably a weightier origin story than the present initially let on after reinventing her powers. But true to the adolescent films the present takes some of its stylistic cues from, she isn’t resistant to on a regular basis issues like curfews and crushes.

Kamala’s connections to the world are greater than simply the boys round her. She has a much-needed on a regular basis life, with household and buddies who deeply care for her well-being (and can gently rib her at a second’s discover). This article shouldn’t be taken as any kind of insistence that Kamala wants a boy in her life — season 1 of Ms. Marvel was principally immune to the concept boys had been Kamala’s precedence in any method. Though she was pulled into the orbit of Kamran, and later the Red Dagger, her focus is rightfully on her superheroics.

So that is extra an mental train: While Kamala and Ms. Marvel are extra occupied with her household historical past and the powers she’s adapting to, we’re simply fascinated by how enjoyable her boy choices are.

The case for Bruno

Bruno standing and looking serious

Photo: Daniel McFadden/Marvel Studios

Look, I’m going to be upfront about this: I feel Bruno is the most effective boy as a result of I’ve learn the comics, and I’m hooked up to that model of the character.

Writer G. Willow Wilson makes Bruno’s socioeconomic area of interest way more current within the comics. He works on the Circle Q for subsistence, not pocket change; he lives along with his grandmother as a result of his mom’s drug habit grew to become so extreme that she misplaced the capability to care for him. Artist Adrian Alphona gave the identical nuance to his character design, giving Bruno darkish hair and notably darker pores and skin than different white characters, the sort of Mediterranean options that might trigger him to be learn as something from Italian (correct) to Sephardic to Latino to Middle Eastern, relying on what subway cease he walked out of.

Wilson used the “best friends to… maybe?” dynamic between Bruno and Kamala to discover the stress between loving who you’re keen on and eager to protect your loved ones’s traditions within the face of cultural assimilation. Wilson’s Bruno is very conscious of all of that nuance, and the way in which he’d be disappointing her household — who he additionally loves — by making an attempt up to now her.

Aamir talks with Bruno about the cultural gulf between him and Kamala and the expectations his family has for her in Ms. Marvel #14 (2015).

Seriously, he and Aamir have a, like, three-page discuss it! In a comic book ebook with an enormous teleporting bulldog.
Image: G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa/Marvel Comics

But even setting the comics apart: TV Bruno is a good child! This is just not one of these circumstances the place he’s serving to Kamala turn into a superhero as a result of he expects smooches in return. We know that as a result of of how he instantly jumps to assist Kamran, a man he loathes, when Kamran exhibits up in his dwelling in hassle.

TV Bruno is earlier in his path than comics Bruno, but now that he’s getting a while away from Jersey City and the Circle Q, he’s going to degree up and are available again to be an excellent higher boy for Kamala than he began. I’m Team Bruno and proud. —Susana Polo

The case for Kamran

Kamran toweling himself off with little flame, star, and 100 emojis doodles drawn around him

Image: Marvel Studios

I spent most of the early episodes rooting wholeheartedly for Bruno, the archetypal finest pal and equipment geek. Kamran’s suaveness and instantaneous aura of coolness felt off to me — teenagers aren’t actually identified for being clean operators, and I’m personally distrustful of anybody who looks like they’ve their act collectively throughout highschool.

But there have been just a few explicit moments that made me like Kamran. The first occurred when the 2 have a cute date at a diner. Kamala tells a narrative and begins to reflexively clarify what ammi means. He pulls her palms into his and reminds her that he already is aware of. She doesn’t want to clarify. The temper shifts into one of ease — Kamala will get to acknowledge how a lot time she has to spend explaining her ethnicity, traditions, and existence. Here’s somebody who will get it.

The subsequent moments are just a few good, old style heroism: Kamran exhibits up at Kamala’s brother’s wedding ceremony, in direct defiance of his mom’s needs, so as to shield Kamala. Later, he accepts Kamala’s assist and escapes.

I’m not saying Kamran is ideal. Yes, he did that unnecessarily showy swimming pool entrance. And sure, I completely hate that he saved calling Bruno “Brian.” (We like Bruno, shield Bruno.) But that turned out to be an sincere mistake. And Kamran appears to do the best factor when it truly issues — to this point, a minimum of. —Nicole Clark

The case for Kareem/Red Dagger

Kareem crouching in close-up

Photo: Marvel Studios

I merely assume that each one romances ought to begin with a knife throw.

I child, I child. (Mostly).

I do all the time punt for the charismatic rogue, nonetheless, and Kareem suits that to a T. His actor, Aramis Knight, does a implausible job of making Kareem charming with out being tacky. It’s a dashing escapade that Kamala deserves! Plus, the Red Daggers provide Kamala some much-needed context and details about the supply of her powers, so along with being a whirlwind romance (if that’s the path she picks), Kareem can also be a obligatory plot instrument. With the legacy of the Red Daggers upon his shoulders, he’s nearly a foil to Kamala, but not fairly as immediately as Kamran. Instead of an entire reflection, they’re extra like evocative parallels.

But flowing hair, knife-throwing expertise, and mysterious pink masks apart, Kareem can also be a pleasant man who invitations Kamala out along with his buddies and exhibits her round. Too usually the charismatic rogue finally ends up being too a lot of a flirt or jerk — but not Kareem! We like to see it. —Petrana Radulovic

The case for… all of the boys???

Kareem sitting at a fire laughing

Photo: Patrick Brown/Marvel Studios

Bruno greeting Kamala’s mom, who is opening her arms to him

Photo: Daniel McFadden/Marvel Studios

Kamala and Kamran in the front seats smiling, with Bruno and Nakia sort of frowning in the back seat

Photo: Marvel Studios

This isn’t precisely a case for Kamala to finish up with all these boys — or to spend a ton of time in a love triangle (quadrilateral?) with any of them. But I did need to acknowledge how a lot I admire this present creating flawed, reasonable man buddies for Kamala, all of whom have a tendency towards tenacity and gregariousness, even in harsh circumstances.

That’s fairly cool! Especially in comparison with so many exhibits the place each single man pal is mainly a jerk and concurrently a possible love curiosity. If Ms. Marvel does head in a romantic course — and you understand I really like a kissing present — these all look like affordable choices. But don’t maintain me to that; I haven’t learn the comics, so I don’t know if any of them find yourself changing into jerkface villains. It could be a traditional Marvel transfer. —NC

The case for no boys in any respect

Kamala biting her lip in her Ms. Marvel cosplay

Photo: Daniel McFadden/Marvel Studios

So I do know typical knowledge says that each TV present has to have a will-they-won’t-they plot, to maintain individuals coming again in hopes of seeing how the romantic stress performs out. But on this case, I’m completely on Team They Won’t. The least attention-grabbing factor about Kamala Khan on this present is which boy she likes. She’s navigating all of the pitfalls of being an American child born to first-generation immigrants. She’s uncovering deep household secrets and techniques. She’s determining learn how to be a good Muslim and a good daughter whereas staying true to herself. She’s determining supernatural powers and superheroism, and a heritage that’s apparently half supernatural, half one thing else completely. And she’s additionally working by way of the peerlessly mundane but monumental problem of being a extremely imaginative, artistic child surrounded by dad and mom, academics, and directors who simply need her to quiet down and get an training. She’s received quite a bit happening, and it’s all far more vital and interesting than her deciding who to kiss first.

But even when that wasn’t true, I personally assume her little harem-anime squad is fairly drippy. Bruno is method an excessive amount of of a traditional Nice Guy™, the sort of boy who hangs round a feminine pal doing favors for her as a result of he’s carrying secret emotions for her, which he isn’t courageous enough to precise till she exhibits an curiosity in another person and he begins getting sulky and jealous. Kamran is a straight-up gaslighter who did finally do the best factor, but nonetheless hasn’t actually answered for the way in which he entered her life with lies and manipulation. (Also, c’mon, he’s method too outdated for her. Vellani is at present 19; Rish Shah is 26, and appears it. He appears extra like a mannequin who belongs on her dream-inspiring wall posters than the man she needs to be hanging round with.) And Kareem lives midway around the globe, so he could also be a fantastic “Canadian boyfriend” to maintain the opposite boys at bay, but smooching is fairly impractical.

An terrible lot of the allure of Ms. Marvel is in how younger Vellani appears within the position, how unbiased and distinctive she is, and in how a lot she owns her personal life and persona. I get it, shippers, you want kissing. But perhaps give her a little bit house to breathe in her personal life earlier than she begins tying it into another person’s? —Tasha Robinson

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