Tag Archives: Adrian Alphona

Ms. Marvel, #19: A Comic Book Review

msmarvel19“Qiyamat ka din to nahin hain.” It’s not like it’s the end of the world, Mr. Khan muses aloud to his family in Urdu. But it is, at least until next month when the first issue of Ms. Marvel Volume 4 hits stands everywhere. This issue effectively marks the destruction of the universe for these characters, but it’s everything the finale could be and more.

It’s now that I’m forced to eat some of the words I published in my last review, those concerning the “meandering plot as it slowly reaches the end”. Yes, Issue #18 ended with the reveal that Kamala’s mother knew about her vigilantism, but there are so many other relationships that are fleshed out and given the closure they need as this chapter closes [in preparation for the next one beginning].

The first involves, as mentioned, our heroine and her parents of course. Kamala opts not to tell them about the impending apocalypse and simply enjoy their company. Following up with that are two female friends, one of which felt like a blindside but not in a bad way. We’ve seen so little of Nakia since Issue #1 that it’s easy to forget that she’s one of Kamala’s closest friends, and she voices her concerns that they might be drifting apart. It feels real because, as anyone in any kind of relationship can attest to, it can and has and will happen to all of us. And since we’re coming full circle back to the first issue we have Zoe-

zoepology Continue reading

Ms. Marvel, #18: A Comic Book Review

msmarvel18So 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. Continue reading

Ms. Marvel, #17: A Comic Book Review

msmarvel17I’ve been waiting for this issue to come around since Ms. Marvel first hit local comic book stores roughly two years ago. Kamala Khan fights crime under the moniker that once belongs to Carol Danvers, and idolizes her to the point that the first ever usage of her powers was actually to transform into the blonde, blue-eyed superwoman. While she’s since realized a lot about her own identity as a hero [and as a person] the fateful meeting between the two is nonetheless a momentous event.

If only it wasn’t being overshadowed by, well, the end of the world.

That’s not to say that it’s being poorly handled, only that this isn’t the way many imagined the two would see each other face to face for the first time. Kamala sees Carol at what is hands-down the lowest point of her short career in vigilanteism. The world is, as mentioned, ending, but more importantly to her Jersey City is in danger. That’s only compounded by the fact that her brother has been kidnapped by her “ex-crush” AKA Kamran. And you thought your teen years were overwhelming. Continue reading

Ms. Marvel, #16: A Comic Book Review

msmarvel16So . . . Secret Wars. I’m sure there are a number of articles out there that could explain what exactly this event is to those new to the medium, but I’m going to try to do it in as few sentences as possible. Basically multiple earths have been colliding with and destroying one another. The last two earths to play interstellar chicken are Earth 616 [the primary Marvel universe] and Earth 1610 [the Ultimate Marvel universe].

That’s pretty much all the context you need, honestly, because what you should really be focusing on is that the world is ending. The tagline to the event as it started out was “Everything Dies” and the Last Days issues for a number of Marvel titles concern how the characters we know and love will spend what time they have left. Throughout the past fifteen issues we’ve seen Kamala Khan own her identity as a superhero; it goes without saying how she plans on facing the apocalypse.

For the Illuminati, a shadowy group of Marvel’s brightest and most powerful, absolutely everything has been counting down to this final incursion. For Ms. Marvel recent events are also coming to a head as her falling for and subsequent falling out with Kamran has left her in a pretty dark place. Heartbreak plays an enormous role in the life of the average teen and she even admits that it’s “affecting [her] work” to a listening bartender hot dog stand vendor.

With another planet looming above Manhattan all that is soon washed away as Kamala is reminded that she has another city entirely to protect. She directs Bruno and others to Cole Academic High School and then tends to her number one priority: her parents. Continue reading

Ms. Marvel, #11: A Comic Book Review

msmarvel11As predicted in my last review, this issue does in fact feature the downfall of the villainous Inventor. What I did not foresee, however, is how Alphona would be bringing his A-game when it came to illustrating our shapeshifting heroine’s triumph over evil. Seriously, there are some jaw-droppingly beautiful splash pages featured here.

For the most part my recaps of Ms. Marvel are exactly that, short summaries of what went down in addition to some exploration of any themes therein, so I feel it only fair to take a few paragraphs to focus on the art itself. To begin with, a “splash page” is:

“a page in the comic book where there are no other panels and the character or scene fills the entire page of the comic book.”

Issue #11 features three such pages, which would be more than overdoing it according to J. Caleb Mozzocco, one of my favourite comic book journalists. The reason for that being when you only have twenty-ish pages of comic [21 in this case, including the recap page] having one of them taken up by a single panel can make it feel like you’re not getting enough bang for your buck. Rest assured that that could not be further from the truth in this case-

tightsqueeze

While the entire page is indeed taken up by a single illustration there’s a strong sense of movement, with readers being able to trace Kamala’s journey through the innards of the deathbot with ease. The word boxes help to anchor a start and end point, and the intricacy of the gears as well as her cartoonish contortions keep you from turning the page even after you’ve finished reading the words. I could go on praising Alphona’s work, though, so as to the actual narrative- Continue reading

Ms. Marvel, #10: A Comic Book Review

msmarvel10Kris Anka on covers, I heartily approve. I have been a fan of that dude for years, and his presence on this title is not the only pleasant surprise for the issue. [Unpleasantly, this review is late as #10 dropped December 17th, but some of us have to take a vacation sometime]

To put things super bluntly, everything is coming to a head. In this case “head” means “epic showdown”, and I never use the word “epic” lightly, even when it’s tucked away in the definition of another word. Compared to the last issue, where I had to break up what happened into several different levels, what takes place here is relatively straightforward-

As I mentioned last time, Issue #8 kicked off a four-part arc titled “Generation Why”, and the reason for that is finally revealed. Young people have been allowing The Inventor to use them as living batteries for his machines because they’ve been convinced they’re slackers who are just coasting through life, something that Gordon actually touched on several years ago when he wrote “In Defense of This Generation”. To sum up his almost-two-thousand-word post, we get the short end of the stick, but it’s not like we’re to blame for the world we live in. Let’s just say that Kamala agrees with my co-writer exactly:

“We’re not the ones who messed up the economy or the planet. Maybe they do think of us as parasites, but they’re not the ones who are gonna have to live with this mess–“

Continue reading

Ms. Marvel, #9: A Comic Book Review

msmarvel9I 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.

You’re Inhuman.”

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. Continue reading