So the world is still ending. While the final incursion was revealed back in Issue #16 New Jersey, and consequently the rest of the Marvel universe, continues to exist. That’s not to say that Ms. Marvel is alone in dragging its feet towards the apocalypse given that Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier and All-New Hawkeye are just two other titles that haven’t yet wrapped things up. No, my observation has more to do with it appears to be one to two days stretched out over the course of four issues [with next month’s #19 being the last before the book’s new #1].
Turn with me, if you will, all the way back to the second issue of Ms. Marvel that I ever reviewed. One thing that I pointed out was how G. Willow Wilson’s storytelling was “decidedly decompressed“, or focusing heavily on characterization in a way that often results in stories being stretched out longer than they might usually. While I believe it worked at the book’s inception, with many readers being brand new to comics and needing to be eased in, it feels overdone here in the final issues.
The main justification for those two hefty paragraphs above is how little actually happens in this issue. If you think back to what happened last month you’ll recall that we left things off with her brother Aamir, having been captured by Kamran, floating in what looks like Terrigen Mist. To sum things up in a single sentence: Aamir gains powers and declines the offer to join his sister’s former crush--falls unconscious due to his reaction to what is apparently not Terrigen, Captain Marvel heads back to the school with them before leaving, and the Khan family is reunited. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as cut and dry as all that- Aamir’s psychic force field armour and throwdown with Kamran is very cool, and Captain Marvel gives Kamala two gifts before leaving, a pendant and the advice that she should make the best use of what time is left.
To inject some positivity into this review before I continue, allow me to state all I loved about it. Adrian Alphona goes above and beyond in this issue, with the one fight scene in particular rendered in a series of spectacular wide shots. Ian Herring’s colours are likewise on point, especially surrounding Aamir’s powers contrasting with the surrounding mist. As far as the writing the talk Carol has with Kamala before flying off is very well done, with the Avenger admitting that she “came here for [her], but […] stayed for [Kamala].”
It is a very good comic book, the problem I have just falls on pacing. Aamir’s kidnapping and subsequent rescue could have been contained to a single issue, and Kamala’s ultimate decision to slip out of her costume and spend her final hours with her family don’t appear to leave much of a conclusion for Issue #19.
I suppose I should also mention that the final page is a splash page with Mrs. Khan embracing her daughter and telling her that she knows about her secret identity. It’s a reveal that is full to the brim with potential and one I am very, very excited to see play out. If only there wasn’t just one issue left next month before the book starts over again [in terms of numbering, not narrative].
All this to say that Ms. Marvel continues to be one of the best books on the stands, but its meandering plot as it slowly reaches the end makes this one of the lowest points in the title’s run since Issue #12. I’ll be back to cover the end of this volume in October, but after that, who knows? Possibly another title, which is an exciting prospect in and of itself. We’ll see!
The Ms. Marvel Visual Gag You Shouldn’t Have Missed: Everyone’s doing their level best to get as far away from NYC as possible, and the resulting traffic jam leads to quite a bit of downtime in which to get some reading done. This gentleman’s book of choice: “So You Were Wrong About The Zombie Apocalypse And You’ve Wasted Your Life”.
Ms. Marvel #18
Written by G. Willow Wilson
Art by Adrian Alphona
Colours by Ian Herring
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Edited by Sana Amanat