Ms. Marvel: Stretched Thin

Ms. Marvel: Stretched Thin

Kamala Khan’s keeping it together. Sure, she’s got high school, family obligations, moderator duties on her favorite site, updating her fan fiction, and Avengers training. She might be falling asleep during her classes and her body does keep randomly reshaping itself. But trust her, she’s got this. 

Ms. Marvel: Stretched Thin, written by Nadia Shammas and art by Nabi H. Ali, is a stand-alone middle grade graphic novel from Scholastic Graphix about Jersey City’s resident teen superhero. It focuses on the pressures of being both a teenage Muslim Pakistani-American girl and one of the younger members of the Avengers. The story begins less than a year after the Terrigen Mist, the event that gave her the power to shapeshift. 

Kamala is still learning how to navigate her body’s ability to embiggen and her secret identity as Ms. Marvel. She trains at Avengers Tower in Manhattan with fellow teen superheroes Squirrel Girl and Spider-Man under the one and only Iron Man; together, they’re Team Awesome Next-Gen Superheroes. In her regular life, she’s got her best friends Nakia and Bruno, as well as her increasingly worried parents on her case. She’s messing up at Avengers training, she’s napping through her entire school day, and one of her hands keeps randomly turning into a baby sized hand. At one point, she is literally stretched thin, as Nakia points out to her. 

At least Kamala has babysitting her nephew Malik mostly under control, thanks to a weird rechargeable action figure one of her fellow website mods sent her. It might not hold a charge very long but it keeps him occupied while she updates her latest fanfic, the one she’s been getting lots of positive comments on. Things are somewhat more manageable until, while at an important party with her family, Malik’s new favorite toy turns out to be much more than just some random toy. Suddenly, on top of everything else going on in her already strained life, Kamala must focus on keeping her Ms. Marvel identity under wraps and protecting the people around her.

Throughout the book, Kamala faces the reality of being an overworked teenager. The stress starts to manifest in her physically, due to her sometimes uncontrollable ability to shapeshift. Her parents are brushed to the side and she hides in her bedroom, behind her computer screen, away from her family. She begins to recognize the impact this is having on their relationship and it seems like every conversation ends with someone’s feelings getting hurt. Kamala realizes her parents’ stress is actually out of concern and love for her and maybe she hasn’t been the daughter she’d like to be.. 

Kamala Khan is scheduled to make her official debut into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in late 2021 so be prepared for readers looking for more Ms. Marvel content. Ms. Marvel: Stretched Thin is a great introduction to the character and one only needs a basic idea of the Marvel universe to enjoy the story. The art is perfectly suited to the story being told, including slight changes in the color palette when the action ramps up. The shapeshifting scenes and the character’s excellent facial expressions will make readers laugh.

Readers who enjoy middle grade Marvel books like Miles Morales: Shock Waves and the Marvel: Avengers Assembly series will get to see some familiar faces and get to know Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel herself. 

Ms. Marvel: Stretched Thin
By Nadia Shammas
Art by Nabi H. Ali
Scholastic GRAPHIX, 2021
ISBN: 9781338722581

Publisher Age Rating: 8-12

NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11), Tween (10-13)
Character Representation: Pakistani-American, Muslim