I probably should have mentioned this in my review for the last issue, but the new story arc that started with Issue #8 is titled “Generation Why”, and this week’s installment brings us to the halfway point of that tale. It’s also a pretty fitting title, seeing as questions appearing almost faster than they can be answered.
Eesh. There is a lot to cover. Let me try to break things up a little-
What Happened On The “Universal” Level
Having Medusa, Queen of the Inhumans on the cover is a pretty good indicator that things are going to get a little bit bigger. After a fight that essentially leaves Kamala completely drained she’s whisked away by Lockjaw to New Attilan. These may seem like gibberish words to the less comic savvy, but the redheaded royal ruler explains to her that:
“Long ago, one of your human ancestors was genetically altered by the Kree — an alien race. The genetic legacy has been passed down through the generations– to you.
That clears up where the Pakistani-American teen got her powers, and presents the yet another question of “Now what?” Medusa expects her to stay in her new home, but Kamala’s having none of it and once again escapes via teleporting canine. Inhuman physician Vinatos wishes her good-bye “For now,” meaning that she’s sure to rub shoulders with her superpowered kin in the near-ish future.
What Happened On Street Level
As mentioned, Ms. Marvel threw down with another one of the Inventor’s deathbots, though this one chose to attack her at her school. Luckily for our heroine she had two “Embiggened fists of rage!” to deal with it-
It’s nice to see police officers who are significantly less trigger-happy than those who have been in the news as of late, and they hold off from firing at the mech to avoid hitting the “giant girl.” Of particular importance is the large Black cop who tells them to hold their fire, “I think that giant girl is Ms. Marvel.” She’s making a name for herself, and where it counts, at home.
What Happened On A Familial Level
Most parents aren’t going to be too thrilled that their child was on-site during a school attack, but Kamala’s parents’ identities as immigrants really comes through here. They’re worried for sure [her ammi much more than her abu], but her mother says some pretty serious things-
“We came here so our children would be safe — safe from the chaos and corruption and bombings back home.”
Those are the same sentiments that so many people who move to North America carry with them, that they escaped from a place of hardships and entered into a better, brighter world. The expectation is that there’s a trade-off: being a foreigner in a strange land, embedded in a strange culture, in turn results in an improved existence. It’s never stated so explicitly, but to find similar difficulties in the West can feel like a betrayal, like being lied to.
What Happened On A Symbolic Level
Remember last issue, when it turned out that Kamala could no longer transform her appearance? Our resident bug-eyed doc explains why this is, telling her that:
“When you heal something you return it to its original shape. It may be that the more you heal, the less you will be able to shape-shift.”
On a purely comic book level this is important, because as it presently stands Ms. Marvel feels like a mash-up between Mystique [shapeshifting], Mr. Fantastic [stretching], and Ant-Man [growing/shrinking]. Omitting one power set from the bunch helps her stand out a little more, but it also speaks to her search for identity as a whole.
The first six issues presented a pretty clear picture of a teenager who is trying to find out who she is, and whether the face she wants to put on has blonde hair and blue eyes. Solidifying her appearance looks like a not-so-subtle way the universe is telling her [and us] that original recipe you really is the best you.
What Happens Next-
Remember what I said about questions cropping up left and right? A hero’s journey is not an easy one, and the last page reveals that the kids the Inventor was using as batteries for his various maniacal machines are there “by choice.” Helping people whether they want it or not is a struggle as old as the funny pages themselves, and it’s one that Kamala is going have to work out for herself.
The Ms. Marvel Visual Gag You Shouldn’t Have Missed: It’s a good thing the asbestos removal wasn’t scheduled until Monday, because I’m sure a killer robot crashing through the school building is bound to create the possibility of some kind of fire breaking out.
Ms. Marvel #9
Written by G. Willow Wilson
Art by Adrian Alphona
Colours by Ian Herring
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Edited by Sana Amanat