bestof2014-25

Every day between now and Christmas morning, we’ll share the twenty-five stories that engaged, enchanted, amused and amazed us the most in 2014. If you missed them, now’s your chance to catch up; if you’re looking for a gift for the wonk in your life, then these are our most enthusiastic recommendations!

Today, Ms. Marvel.

Kamala Khan is a Muslim American teenager from New Jersey. Like anyone growing up in the Marvel universe — or, let’s face it, in the real world — she’s a huge fan of the Avengers. She writes fanfiction. She knows what an emoji is. She’s a regular teenager living a regular life — until she discovers that she’s an inhuman, and that she possesses incredible shape-shifting powers. Kamala then pledges herself to heroism, and takes on the name of her favorite heroine, Carol Danvers: Ms. Marvel.

Ms. Marvel is a gem of a book; it’s wry, fast on its feet, courageous and sincere, all while juggling Kamala’s superheroics and her regular life as a teenage girl. There’s a fluidity to both the storytelling and the art in the first arc that seems transparent and naturalistic, and it’s only when you’re six issues in that you realize how beautifully the book is building a new perspective on heroism, on femininity, on faith and purpose and honor, and on the Marvel universe as a whole. It got a lot of attention for being one of the most diverse and unusual books in the Marvel line, but that’s far from being the best thing about it.

To say any more would spoil some of the gentler pleasures of getting to know Kamala and her friends through the first arc. If you have any interest in comic books, in original storytelling, in character who are underrepresented in the popular culture, or in great heroines, then you show be reading.

Get it now: Ms. Marvel.