Familiar Playbook: Media Spins Ms. Marvel’s Negative Reviewers as “Trolls”


 

When the new Muslim Ms. Marvel TV series premiered, the BBC predictably made sure to sugarcoat the whole affair, and take everything out of context, warping it all to suit their Orwellian visions, not to mention villify any Marvel fans galled at the hijacking of the franchise for the sake of far-left ideologies:

 

Ms Marvel comes to our screens via Disney+ today with lofty fan expectations, following other critically acclaimed Marvel shows such as Wandavision and Loki. The online buzz around the series and glowing reviews from critics ahead of its release point to Disney having another hit on their hands. However, success for this hero wasn’t always guaranteed.

In 2013, when Marvel announced that they were reimagining the comic book character of Ms Marvel – originally a blonde superpowered military hero – as a Muslim Pakistani-US teenager called Kamala Khan, it was considered a controversial and risky proposition. Comic books, for the most part, have traditionally been male-dominated and white-centric – something Kamala was the antithesis of. Other attempts to diversify characters, such as creating a biracial Spiderman, had attracted backlash from some very vocal quarters of the fandom. In 2017, Marvel’s vice president of sales stated that feedback from retailers indicated that readers were being alienated by the push for diversity. “What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity,” he said. “They didn’t want female characters out there. That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not.”

 

Ah, so here, they’re distorting it to make it sound like the people they speak of didn’t want any female characters at all. (Do they realize that makes it sound like said readers aren’t heterosexual?) What most realists didn’t want was characters being built around political activism and indoctrination tactics, as the Khan character was, with Marvel replacing the original bearer of the title, Carol Danvers, with a brand new one whose existence was almost entirely centered around her being Islamic, and all without being honest about the content of the Koran. This BBC article, like so many others of its ilk, all but obscures that there have been Black/Latino/Asian characters well before this, and most of the earlier ones prior to 2000 weren’t built on the heavy-handed leftism seen nowadays.

 

Yet the performance of the Ms Marvel comic books demonstrated otherwise. “Ms Marvel almost immediately became a hit comic and one of the biggest sellers online,” says Dr Mel Gibson, an associate professor at Northumbria University and a comics scholar. “It absolutely leapt in sales to what could be considered non-traditional comic book readers – such as females, Muslims, or Pakistani Americans for example. The idea of who reads comics and how they read them was changing. It helped draw in new folk and diversify the fan base.”

By mid 2018, even without a live-action TV show or movie, Ms Marvel had sold more than half a million trade paperbacks. Kamala Khan’s arrival into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not just some PR exercise: the popularity of the character demanded it. “A huge reason Ms Marvel has struck the chord it has is because it deals with the role of traditionalist faith in the context of social justice, and there was – apparently – an untapped audience of people from a wide variety of faith backgrounds who were eager for a story like this,” wrote G Willow Wilson, the writer who helped craft Kamala Khan, in 2017.

 

 

Unfortunately, even that claim of huge-selling paperbacks is sketchy at best, because there’s no clear data provided by leftist Bleeding Cool – who originally wrote the latter claim – that the paperbacks were actually bought. Also note that little more than 60,000 copies for as many as 9 volumes were actually printed. But this awful puff piece does reveal what kind of leftism Wilson goes by, and it’s laughable at worst, because it’s taqiyya (deception).

 

Kamala’s faith certainly does differentiate her from the overwhelming majority of her comic book counterparts. The depiction of Muslim characters in comic books has often been problematic, but there was an especially tricky path to tread in a post-9/11 world. It is a testament to the team behind Ms Marvel how deftly they navigated it. Wilson weaved together storylines and interactions in a thoughtful and nuanced manner that prevented characters from turning into stereotypes. Her familiarity with the religion is understandable – she is Muslim, after all – but some of the specific details that went into her writing made me often wonder if she was secretly Pakistani as well.

“I just thought it was so interesting because I can see how different Kamala was from other personifications of Muslim or Arab characters in previous comics – notably other characters like Dust who were exoticized and where there is a whole element of orientalism going on,” says Dr Gibson.

 

But he doesn’t think it’s interesting no attempt has been made to date to introduce an Armenian character with emphasis on his/her background? Or how about Arabs/Pakistanis with non-Islamic backgrounds like Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, as Bahrain happens to have? Why do only Muslims matter? When they make it sound like only one, very bad belief system should apply, that’s insulting to the intellect.

 

According to Sue Obeidi, director of the Hollywood Bureau for the US Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the importance of Ms Marvel being a strong, authentic female Muslim character cannot be overstated. “Islam has no shortage of heroic Muslim women in its history. When you look at Aisha [bint Abu Bakr] or Khadija [bint Khuwaylid] – they were one of Islam’s first heroes. They were powerful, brave and independent women with their own agency. If this character embodies some of the great attributes that many Muslim women are renowned for, you can’t go wrong because that means that the character will also represent the faith well.”

 

And this is also taqiyya, because it obscures how, as described in the Koran, Aisha was 6 years old when Mohammed took her as a child bride, and consummated said marriage when she was 9. That’s hardly somebody in a position of independence or agency. But the pure disgrace coming from the BBC is nothing new. If anything, it demonstrates why they’re one of the worst English-language news networks overseas.

 

And now, it looks like the MSM has gone out of their way to make a fuss over people supposedly “review bombing” the series on IMDB as well. One such example is Forbes:

 

Ms. Marvel is currently not only the best-reviewed MCU series on Disney Plus, but at a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, that’s even above Black Panther’s 96% score, meaning it’s the best-reviewed MCU show or movie…ever, at the moment.

That’s why it’s noticeable that Ms. Marvel is actually the lowest scored MCU series on IMDB based on its user star ratings. And yes, the answer is that it’s being review-bombed.

“It’s not review-bombing if people just don’t like it,” some will say, but looking at the data, it’s impossible not to see what’s going on with Ms. Marvel as an outlier with malicious origins.

Here are the scores across all MCU Disney Plus series:

Loki – 8.2/10
WandaVision – 7.9/10
Hawkeye – 7.6/10
Moon Knighit – 7.4/10
What If…? – 7.4/10
Falcon and the Winter Soldier – 7.2/10
Ms. Marvel – 6.6/10

 

So because one mere series doesn’t rate above number 7, but is far from being rated at the bottom 1, it’s suddenly a scandal? The guy who wrote this is really grasping at straws for the sake of headlines to smear Marvel fans who find the propaganda tactic revolting, but that’s what the following pretty much makes clear:

 

I would absolutely venture that more weight is being given to those first two items, and I’ve been sent examples of closed Facebook groups protesting Ms. Marvel as “replacing” the white, blonde Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel (not what’s happening) and they view a Muslim superhero as an assault on Christian values.

 

Well it doesn’t take much to guess he’s not very enthusiastic about Christianity, and probably doesn’t celebrate Easter, Lent or Palm Sunday either. I hesitate to think what his view of Judaism and Hinduism is, in that case.

Even Next Shark got in on the exaggerated act:

 

The inconsistency between the crowd-sourced ratings and critic reviews also suggests something more is going on than viewers simply disliking the new show. On Rotten Tomatoes, the show currently boasts a staggering 95 percent, making it the second-highest rated MCU film or show to date.

[…] Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel serves as representation on multiple fronts. The character is a Muslim, South Asian teenage girl entering a superhero universe that’s primarily been explored on screen by white male actors named Chris.

Chloe Zhao’s “Eternals” also fell victim to review-bombing after its premiere, as did “Captain Marvel,” one of MCU’s few feature-length films centering around a female superhero.

 

So they don’t think Captain Marvel was even the slightest bit overrated? Or that negative takes on The Eternals had any good reason for being that way? As for RT, I wonder if they’ve deliberately fixed the polls to make it all look higher in user ratings than we’d think; they did after all fulfill Disney Corp’s apparent wish to stifle any negative views of CM, a movie that reeked of political correctness and Mary Sue ingredients.

 

For people making such a fuss over supposed review-bombing, the examples above sure are giving telling hints how biased they really are in favor of the Muslim Ms. Marvel show, all because of the components it’s built upon. If a show built on respectable Judeo-Christian values, or even Buddhism, got even the most remote negative ratings, they wouldn’t be fussing at all. The way many leftists go out of their way to do spins is hugely dismaying.

 

Originally published here.


Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1

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