I’m a big watcher of comic stories adapted for TV, and the awesome start of Ms. Marvel makes me miss Naomi.
Ms. Marvel is one of the Disney+ shows that I was really looking forward to. It tells an interesting story and feels more grounded. Kamala’s world is very much like our own; her stories mirror very much the struggles of first generation immigrants come up against the views and beliefs of their parents.
The material was there, but as anyone who has watched their fair share of page-to-screen adaptions knows, it isn’t just about the source materials. Too many ambitious projects have fallen down by tearing out the bits of a character or story that make them special. After watching “Generation Why,” I think Ms. Marvel has kept the core of the character from the comics.
The story of a teenage girl who learns she has powers and then has to juggle school, friends, and family life while figuring out her parents is not a first. Even when you consider a teenage girl obsessed with superheroes. Ms. Marvel debuted in the comics earlier than Naomi, but came to the TV screen slightly later.
Naomi Was An Outlier
I have to say that I was always on the fence about Naomi when it was announced. Part of that was the adaption of a DC character that debuted less than five years before. The majority of comics characters are white, but there are still so many examples of young DC characters of color that Ava DuVernay might have adapted.
The other reason was it seemed like a bad fit for the CW’s DC offerings. While it appeals to a young audience, it has been clear for some time that the Arrowverse is ending. It seemed to make much more sense for Naomi to have gone to HBO Max. (Yes, we can say the same about Superman & Lois and its outsized budget, which clearly separates it from Arrowverse shows.)
A Diamond In The Rough?
I think Naomi itself was good, even if it went fast and loose with DC lore. The Arrowverse has been guilty of the same, but perhaps now we excuse it less. The show was too glaringly different from other CW DC offerings. I would argue that it is mainly the budget that makes Superman & Lois feel so different to the Arrowverse. That and the comparisons are between a show in its first two seasons to The Flash, for example, heading to its ninth.
Doing Better with Ms. Marvel
The shows are similar but distinct. The most glaring difference is likely the budget, with Marvel splashing the cash for TV like few studios have before.
Ms. Marvel is a glimpse at what Naomi could have been with a better plan and better execution. Hopefully the former will be given much more time and support to succeed. Initial reports seem to point to excellent reviews from the fans, even amidst the seemingly inescapable review bombing. If there is one thing I hope the Film and TV powers that be realize, it would be that people can be fascinated by new stories that have not been told before. People have a lot more things in common than differences once you take a look.