This is the second cover in a row to show Kamala Khan decked out in her superhero getup, and it’s nothing like the silhouette that was #2. This is Ms. Marvel bold and heroic, an image fully supporting my assertion that this issue we’d see her don her crimefighting costume.
Why do you make a liar out of me, G. Willow Wilson et al.?
So no, we do not in fact get to see Kamala don the beautiful McKelvie-designed outfit, but we do get yet another rock solid issue. At this point I honestly don’t see this falling flat on its face any time soon [much like the little boy running on the 15th comic page]. It’s storytelling that’s in absolutely no rush, and it’s hard to complain when the view is so gorgeous.
While her first-ever heroic deed has made the news Kamala is most concerned with finding support, someone to talk to about what she’s going through. Her brother Aamir is no help, and neither is Nakia; she’s not speaking to her friend Bruno at the moment because he told her parents she’d gone to that party, and now she’s grounded for the foreseeable future. That isn’t resolved in this installment of her adventures, but what we do have is our first villain of sorts.
Bruno’s brother Vick really needs money for some reason, and it likely has to do with some person he refers to as the “Inventor”. He sticks up the Circle Q despite explicitly being told it was a dumb idea, because he has a box of styrofoam for brains.
This leads to Kamala donning the guise of Captain Marvel once again, stopping the would-be robber. As she puts the kibosh on the heist she muses about how these powers that she’s been struggling to hide for much of the issue are undoubtedly a good thing, she feels “Big enough to have greatness in [herself].” It’s then that she realizes the danger present in the line of work, and the last page depicts the very real consequence of carrying around firearms.
All of that is fantastic, don’t get me wrong. Things are happening and I have never been more excited for an issue of this book, and that’s saying a lot. To put all that aside, however, this issue straight-up educates its readers about the realities of being a Muslim woman.
I’ll admit that I had my suspicions, what with G. Willow Wilson being a Muslim convert, that the religion would only be cast in a positive light. That notion was completely thrown out the window, though, after Kamala and her brother attend the weekly Saturday youth lecture and their teacher hears her and Nakia talking:
On the opposite page it does show them behind the partition, but the angle is from up above and it’s easy to look past. That, on top of the fact that the panel before that depicts other girls around them either closing their eyes or playing on their phone, makes what happens above a significant reveal.
It’s the sort of backwards practice that critics of Islam will often level against it, and having it portrayed front and centre in this comic is sort of amazing. Kamala is a person who isn’t willing to blindly follow her faith, something that I don’t think anyone, Muslim or Christian or otherwise, should do. She has perfectly reasonable questions and it all adds up to a very realistic portrayal of a modern Muslim young woman.
The Ms. Marvel Visual Gag You Shouldn’t Have Missed: Adrian Alphona was absolutely killing it this issue, and every page was replete with sight gags. It was a really tough decision to make, but I decided on the newspaper clipping by Kamala’s computer that reads “High School Cannibalism Experiment Proves Disasterous”. It’s just so ridiculously dark that it gets me every time.
Ms. Marvel #3
Written by G. Willow Wilson
Art by Adrian Alphona
Colours by Ian Herring
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Edited by Sana Amanat
Excellent review! I thought the scene at the Saturday lecture was particularly striking and very well done. This comic continues to rise above my expectations.
I didn’t even notice that sight gag. I’ll need to reread the issue and see if I missed any others.
Adrian Alphona really goes above and beyond when it comes to making every page, heck, panel, thoroughly entertaining. I think every issue so far has required one regular readthrough quickly followed by another to find all the jokes he slid in here and there.
You’ve missed a million great sight gags. You need to go back and read just about every sign in the shop windows and post on a bulletin board. My favorite was the kid chasing after the ball who falls on his face, but I’m cruel.
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Thanks for pointing me toward the background gags… I have such a bad habit of just dashing through the comics reading the speech bubbles and not even looking at the pictures, until suddenly I realize I missed something.
Comic books are a visual medium! It’s always so exciting/satisfying when an artist decides to take it to its fullest extent.
So I just re-read the comic without even looking at the speech bubbles, just the background, and yes it was hilarious. 😀
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