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Zoe Zimmer

Zoe Zimmer is a teenaged girl and a student at Coles Academic High School in Jersey City, NJ where Kamala Khan (Ms Marvel), varsity jock Josh, Bruno, and Nakla Bahadir attend. When writer G Willow Wilson first introduces her she and boyfriend Josh stop into the Circle Q convenience story where Bruno works. Her “Hiiii everybody!” greeting is to announce her and Josh’s presence right before telling Bruno “I’m here for my usual [coffee]” only to have Bruno remind her the coffee is self-serve. Being tall, thin, and blonde she epitomizes the ideal of beauty for many but not all. She wears very short shorts and a tee shirt with “Bonita Bonita Bonita” printed on it, as if to appropriate Latino culture and or to remind others (and maybe herself) that she’s pretty. In just a few panels she insults, albeit nicely, not only Bruno about his job position and earning capability but also Kamala’s friend Nakla, of Turkish descent, about her head scarf and culture. Kamala is oblivious to the condescension while Nakla is very aware of what is going on and informs Kamala that “[Zoe] is only nice to be mean”. This may be true and there may be more to it than appearances would have readers believe.

Zoe has the distinction of being the first person that Kamala rescues after her transformation, thanks to the Terrigen Mist cloud released into the atmosphere the same night that Kamala sneaks out of the house for a late night party being thrown at the waterfront. Zoe and Josh, who’d invited Kamala and Bruno that morning at the Circle Q, are drunk. Zoe displays her mean personality by insulting Kamala, saying that she smells like curry while Josh gives her a drink with alcohol in it. In the confusion of the Mist’s release, Zoe and Josh have wandered off onto a small dock where she falls into the water, thanks to both of them being drunk. Despite Zoe having insulted her, Kamala doesn’t hesitate to rescue Zoe, and you’ll know why Zoe believes Ms Marvel (Carol Danvers) is her rescuer if you read the trade! Following an interview by a local news reporter about the incident, Zoe increasingly makes the story more about her.

At a school Valentine’s Day Dance Zoe and Josh and other students unknowingly drink punch that’s been spiked with an Asgardian truth elixir by Loki, who’s on a mission given to him by Freyja. The scene is brief and relevant in that it gives a glimpse into the less than kind thoughts each of them has about the other. Zoe tells Josh: “Could you please words when you talk to me? When you talk in mono syllables I get, like, this surge of ennui about our relationship”.

In the these scenes and others, G Willow Wilson has portrayed Zoe as shallow, self-centered, and mean, and then she ends their relationship. The end of teenaged romances are commonplace except for the individuals involved. However, Wilson doesn’t seem content to tell the usual broken heart story. In Ms Marvel #9 (vol 2), Zoe visits Josh in a cell in which he’s being held as a consequence of Civil War incidents. Here Willow writes Zoe showing compassion and concern for Josh and his current predicament which their breakup seemingly has helped to precipitate. Zoe confides the breakup had nothing to do with Josh and everything to do with her facing mortality in the Secret Wars event and how she realized she had to be honest about some things. Zoe confesses she’s never really liked boys and that she simply “went with the program” because boys always liked her. This secret is followed with an apology for being mean to Josh and how she was angry at herself. Zoe simply looks out the cell window at Nakla (who seems to be there on principle against illegal detainment) when asked by Josh who she likes. With this revelation in mind one can look back at how Zoe interacted and talked about Nakla right from the beginning and view Zoe as a closeted lesbian who simultaneously wants to be near the object of her affection and belittle her with insults and disdain.

zoezimmer1

Zoe first appeared in Ms Marvel #1 vol 1 and came out in Ms Marvel #9 vol 2. In Adrian Alphona’s sketchbook pages reproduced in the Ms Marvel hardcover, Zoe’s last name is Zimmerman.

Created by G Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona. Art by Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring from Ms Marvel #19 (first image, 2014 volume) and Takeshi Miyazawa and Ian Herring (second image) from Ms Marvel #9 (2016 volume).

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September 30, 2021
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