Look, I know I was tough on Ms. Marvel last month. It was a so-so issue, a fact that surprised me greatly considering it guest starred the Norse god of trickery. The thing is, even then I wasn’t worried that it was some sort of herald of less-great things to come, and the latest installment of Kamala Khan’s adventures is one of the best yet.
Everything that was missing from the Valentine’s issue is present here. Inhumans? Check. Genuine hero vs. villain throwdowns? Check. An exploration of the life hyphenated-American youth live, AKA the cornerstone of immigrant literature? Ch-ch-ch-check.
That last point is what truly made me love this comic, because the rest of the Khans get some quality pagetime after being out of the spotlight for so long. Take the following panel-
It takes place after we see Kamala training in the Inhuman version of the X-Men’s Danger Room, and while seeing Medusa worry about her subject [she is queen of the Inhumans, after all] is intriguing all I could think of was: “older Pakistani people would probably not be down with the skin-tight leggings she has on.” Lo and behold we have her ammi chiding her for her indecency. Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, family, race, review, Youth
Tagged 13, Aamir, amma, appa, art, auntie, Bollywood, character, comics, cousin, Crushed, diversity, G. Willow Wilson, Ian Herring, immigrant literature, Inhuman, Jersey City, Joe Caramagna, Kaboom, Kamala Khan, Kamran, Marvel, Medusa, minority, Ms. Marvel, not incest, Pakistani, representation, review, Sana Amanat, second-generation, Takeshi Miyazawa, uncle, villain
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. Continue reading
Posted in comics, family, race, relationships, writing, Youth
Tagged #9, Adrian Alphona, art, asbestos, change, character, comics, cop, costume, diversity, dog, embiggened fists of rage, G. Willow Wilson, healing factor, Ian Herring, identity, immigrant, immigrant literature, Inhuman, Jersey City, Joe Caramagna, Kamala Khan, Kree, Lockjaw, Marvel, Medusa, minority, Ms. Marvel, Pakistani, police officer, review, robot, Sana Amanat, shapeshift, teenager, teleport, the Inventor, Vinatos, visual gag
So ends the two–part Jake Wyatt-illustrated Wolverine-guest-starring arc of Ms. Marvel, not with a bang, but with our young heroine having learned a great deal from the world’s most famous Hulk combatant. The next storyline doesn’t begin with a bang, either, more like a FZZZT, or at least that’s what I imagine a gigantic teleporting bulldog sounds like.
Sent by Medusa, Queen of the Inhumans, the royal pet has arrived in Jersey City to protect and train the fledgling crimefighter. His entrance is exactly the kind of thing you should expect from duo Wilson and Alphona [who is back, by the way], running up to her with a sign around his neck that reads “HELLO / MY NAME IS / LOCKJAW / I LIKE HUGS“. While her ammi and abu seem surprisingly accepting when it comes to letting her take in an animal with what appears to be a tuning fork sticking out of his head, she’ll need the Inhuman canine in her trials to come. Continue reading
Posted in comics, race, review
Tagged #8, adorable, Adrian Alphona, art, change, character, comics, costume, diversity, dog, FZZZT, G. Willow Wilson, healing factor, Ian Herring, identity, immigrant literature, Inhuman, Jake Wyatt, James "Logan" Howlett, Jersey City, Joe Caramagna, Kamala Khan, Lockjaw, Marvel, minority, Mosque, Ms. Marvel, Pakistani, review, robot, Sana Amanat, secret identity, teenager, teleport, the Inventor, visual gag
If I want to be honest with all of you, which I do, the fact is that comic book characters don’t change all that much. That’s a gross overgeneralization, so let me backtrack a little: comics don’t change quickly. Sure, between 2010-2011 Spider-Man had this whole “no one dies” thing that strongly affected the way he behaved in situations for months to come, but it took like three whole issues. We’re just past the half-dozen mark with this comic, and Kamala’s already learning things that are going to stick with her for years [yeah, this title’s not going anywhere] to come.
When we last left our plucky New Jerseyite she was facing off against the mother [or father] of all alligators alongside a short, hairy Canadian who also happens to have metal blades sticking out from his hands. Whereas the last issue revolved pretty heavily around her gushing over one of her idols, this one focuses more on the dichotomy between the two [newly-powered Inhuman and world-weary mutant] and what they can learn from one another.
To be more accurate, what Kamala Khan can learn from James “Logan” Howlett. Though it’s not like she doesn’t help him out at all.
Now I could give you all a blow-by-blow of what they do in these twenty-some pages [fight a giant crocodilian beast, obviously], but I think what’s far more important is the near encyclopedia of knowledge that Wolverine imparts. G. Willow Wilson can write teenage girls, but she tackles the voice of Everyone’s Favourite Hirsute Eviscerator™ just as well. Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, review, writing, Youth
Tagged #7, adorable, Adrian Alphona, art, change, character, comics, costume, cute, diversity, G. Willow Wilson, Hurt, Ian Herring, immigrant literature, Inhuman, Jake Wyatt, James "Logan" Howlett, Jersey City, Joe Caramagna, Kamala Khan, learning, lesson, Lockjaw, Marvel, minority, Mosque, Ms. Marvel, Muslim, pain, Pakistani, review, Sana Amanat, Teaching, teenager, the Inventor, Thomas Edison, Wolverine, writing
Not only is this the first full issue of no holds barred genuine superhero-ing as we all expect it, it’s also the first team-up the all-new Ms. Marvel has ever had and the first installment sans series regular artist Adrian Alphona. And man, is it good.
That’s not to deride the man’s work, and really I promise to stop bringing this up, but Jake Wyatt can draw himself some superhero goings-on. He’s on board for #6 and #7 before heading back to work on his creator-owned Necropolis. I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.
In short, this issue is all about Kamala Khan embracing her crimefighting
identity in full as well as rubbing shoulders with the world’s most famous fictional Canadian [sorry, Dudley Do-Right]. On closer inspection, though, there are so many facets of her character that allows hers to be a unique story unlike anyone else’s. Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, Islam, religion, review, writing, Youth
Tagged 6, adorable, Adrian Alphona, art, cockatiel, comics, costume, cute, diversity, G. Willow Wilson, Ian Herring, immigrant literature, Islam, Islamic Masjid of Jersey City, Jake Wyatt, Joe Caramagna, Kamala Khan, Marvel, minority, Mosque, Ms. Marvel, Muslim, Pakistani, Quran, review, Sana Amanat, Saturday youth lecture, Sheikh Abdullah, support, teenager, the Inventor, Thomas Edison, Wolverine, writing
What better time to take a look back at the fourth issue of Ms. Marvel
than today, on the eve of its sixth? As I mentioned in my last review, I missed out on this due to being abroad in a place where English comic books are scarce. Enough about that, though, let’s see what Kamala was up to.
This issue fits as a natural segue between our heroine learning that vigilantism comes with its consequences [getting shot accidentally at the end of #3] and that it takes even more failure, followed by bravery, to truly succeed [#5, natch]. It’s also a lead-in to the kind of traditional superhero antics you expect in books with “Marvel” or “DC” on them.
More importantly, though, this is the issue that really spotlights Bruno and Kamala’s friendship. It’s not just that he reminds her [and reveals to us] that he’s her “second-best friend”, it’s the sudden inversion of their relationship that takes place. Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, relationships, review, writing
Tagged 4, Adrian Alphona, art, Bruno, Coma Chameleon, comics, costume, friend, friendship, G. Willow Wilson, Grin & Bear It, Ian Herring, immigrant literature, It totally freaks me out, Jake Wyatt, Joe Caramagna, Kamala Khan, Marvel, minority, Mosque, Ms. Marvel, Muslim, Pakistani, relationship, review, Sana Amanat, support, teenager, Vick, villain, visual gag, writing
This is it, the final installment of this book’s first five-part story arc, and it does not disappoint. After some mild throwdowns in the last issue [a review I missed due to being abroad, and that I will get to] this cover opens up to unabashed in-your-face superheroics, and doesn’t stop there.
We begin smack dab in the middle of a botched rescue attempt, and while the events do finally lead to her donning her costume it’s her confidence that’s the true focus. Issue #4 had her finally adopting the moniker of Ms. Marvel, and while smashing robots is a pretty great ego boost being shot a second time appears to drain that tout suite. Her decision to run away begins with the realization that she is “losing this fight,” and culminates in words we can all relate to:
“I can feel the failure coming on– that awful syrupy sweet feeling you get in your stomach when you’ve really screwed up.”
Posted in comics, family, Islam, race, Youth
Tagged 5, Adrian Alphona, art, comics, costume, diversity, emotions, family, father, G. Willow Wilson, GM-O's, Ian Herring, immigrant literature, Islam, Jake Wyatt, Joe Caramagna, Kamala Khan, Marvel, minority, Mosque, Ms. Marvel, Muslim, Pakistani, review, Sana Amanat, Sheikh Abdullah, support, teenager, THE BIRDMAN COMETH, the Inventor, Vick, villain, visual gag, writing