Meet 'Madaya Mom': Marvel's Newest Hero & an IRL Parent Teaching Us About War

Marvel is pretty good at superheroes. Jessica Jones rocks. Captain Marvel rocks. Black Widow, Nebula, Rogue, and Valkyrie all rock. But Marvel's newest superhero -- a Syrian mom, known as Madaya Mom, who's fighting for her family's survival in one of Syria's most war-ravaged towns -- definitely, 100 percent, without a doubt rocks the most.


Madaya Mom, which you can read in full online, is a project created by Marvel and ABC News. It's a true story -- the IRL superhero is a mother of five living in the Syrian city Madaya who's kept anonymous for her safety. She communicated with ABC News journalists through text messages and phone conversations to tell them about what's been happening inside her city for the year since the Syrian government built walls to keep the residents in and everyone else out.

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The barricades, landmines, and checkpoints put in place around Madaya have blocked all but five humanitarian aid deliveries from entering the city. Since the residents can't leave, the once-fertile farms around the borders have dried up. There's no food. The UN says that the government is using starvation as a weapon of war against Madaya, and it's working -- residents like Madaya Mom are desperate. 

Her story is harrowing, dramatic, and stylized, but that's kind of the point. Her home and her city look like the ravaged, dark scenes begging for a hero that we're used to seeing in comic books, but this time, it's real. This time, there's no Spiderman or Jessica Jones to save the city. There are just moms, doing what they can for their families. 

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Though Madaya Mom obviously lives in a different vein from the X-Men and Avengers of the world, and it's not something that's going to be expanded into multiple volumes or blockbuster movies, it's a story with significance that goes far beyond her "powers" or hero status. It's giving us a glimpse into the Syria that's this mom's daily life -- and making us listed to her cry for help.

You can help Madaya Mom and others by donating to the World Food Programme, UN OCHA, UNICEF, UNHCR, all of which have been granted access to Madaya and other Syrian towns stuck in similar seiges. Maybe it shouldn't have taken a comic for us to pay attention, but at least now we are.


Images via ABC News and Marvel

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