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
If you’re reading this comic issue to issue, like I am, I know what you’re thinking: a new Ms. Marvel, already? Not that I [or you, in all likelihood] am complaining, but the last issue did come out just two short weeks ago.
Brought to us by the usual crew with the new addition of artist Elmo Bondoc, this is a much-needed lull in the action. They can’t all be spitting truth about the generational divide, and it seems like forever since Kamala’s doing everyday normal high school kid stuff. Given the cocktail of emotions that the average aforementioned teen is comprised of,what better way to return to that part of her life than on Valentine’s Day?
That was a hypothetical question, but one that was meant to be answered by the enthusiastic response of “there isn’t one!”. With that in mind, it breaks my heart to say that this is probably the worst issue of Ms. Marvel to date. WHICH–
please, put down your pitchforks and hear me out for a second- simply means that as one installment of a title that has knocked it out of the park for the past eleven consecutive issues this one scores a double. Maybe a single with the man on first stealing second. Sorry, I’ll stop with the baseball metaphors. Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, relationships, review, Youth
Tagged #12, art, Bruno, character, comics, dance, diversity, Elmo Bondoc, friend zone, G. Willow Wilson, high school, Ian Herring, Jersey City, Joe Caramagna, Kamala Khan, Loki, Loki: Agent of Asgard, Marvel, minority, Ms. Marvel, representation, review, Sana Amanat, splash page, teenager, the Inventor, truth serum, valentines day, villain
As 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-
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
Posted in art, comics, review, writing, Youth
Tagged #11, Adrian Alphona, adults, art, character, comics, diversity, G. Willow Wilson, Generation Why, Generation Y, help, Ian Herring, identity, Jersey City, Joe Caramagna, Kamala Khan, Lockjaw, Marvel, minority, Ms. Marvel, police, potential, representation, review, robot, Sal's Used Cheese, Sana Amanat, shapeshift, splash page, support, symbolism, teenager, the Inventor, villain, visual gag, worthless, young people, Youth
Kris 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–“
Posted in comics, review, writing, Youth
Tagged #10, Adrian Alphona, adults, art, character, comics, diversity, G. Willow Wilson, Generation Why, Generation Y, Ian Herring, identity, Inhuman, Jersey City, Joe Caramagna, Kamala Khan, Lockjaw, Marvel, minority, Ms. Marvel, parasites, potential, representation, review, robot, Sana Amanat, shapeshift, slacker, Spider-Man, symbolism, teenager, the Inventor, villain, visual gag, worthless, young people, Youth
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