Ms. Marvel #19 Review

Ms. Marvel 19 cover

I hate to say it, but I remain disappointed in the entire “Last Days of Ms. Marvel” arc. I sincerely hope that others found Ms. Marvel #19 moving and meaningful, but I just thought it was trite. I saw nothing surprising in this issue.

Last month‘s big reveal was that Kamala’s mother already knew about her secret identity. She’s very supportive. Yay.

Ms. Marvel 19

On the one hand, it’s nice. Secret identities are generally implausible with close relatives anyway, and I’m glad they’re not going the “You’re grounded for the rest of your life” route, but still. This is such a typical scene, and it’s followed immediately by an even MORE obvious interaction with Zoe. She’s the popular blonde girl usually seen making racist remarks in Kamala’s direction, but she apologizes and explains she only did those things because she’s jealous of how much everyone likes Kamala. Understandable, maybe, but haven’t we seen this conversation in every high school friendship movie EVER?

Then, another conversation! Nakia, Kamala’s best friend, is upset that Kamala never talks to her. Nakia only hears about Kamala’s life through the grapevine.

Ms. Marvel 19I felt this conversation was more relatable to me personally, and that feeling of being dumped by a friend tends to be glossed over in other stories. Its something that shows up in the grand denouement of a high school friendship drama, but those stories are usually about the person leaving, not the person being left.

And finally, Kamala speaks to Bruno about his feelings, and they both declare their love for each other. BUT! Kamala has committed to being a superhero.

Ms. Marvel 19

It’s a good conversation with good lines, just good scripting. It shows Kamala and Bruno being brave and talking about their feelings, and I can respect Kamala’s commitment to herself over anyone else. I love that, actually.

But… really? Really, though? Is it really necessary to show the exact same conversation every other superhero has ever had about personal relationships? Not to mention that she just spent the whole issue reaffirming her familial and social relationships. Is it really necessary to draw this subtle distinction between being “just” a friend and being “more than” a friend? Really? I’m not saying they should get together at this stage by any means, but if it were up to me, I would’ve just let that simmer a lot longer. Make something creative and intense out of it, instead of playing out the same old story.

A lot of young people are reading this comic, and maybe this is the first time they’re seeing these arcs. It might be new for them, and as I said, I hope it was meaningful for other readers. For me, it was disappointing, frustrating, and derivative. As always, though, I’ll be tuning in next month, if only to see how Kamala and Bruno’s relationship develops. It’s all out in the open now, and it’s nigh impossible to recover from that.

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Ms. Marvel #18 Review

Ms. Marvel #18 cover

This is one of those covers that has nothing whatsoever to do with the story inside. Just ignore it. Spoilers below, as always.

At the end of the last issue, the Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel teamup had successfully located Kamala’s brother Aamir, who had been kidnapped by Kamala’s evil Inhuman ex Kamran. But they were too late to stop Kamran from immersing Aamir in mist in an effort to transform him into an Inhuman too.

It worked… Sort of. Aamir wakes up with superpowers, but the transformation wasn’t typical, and it seems to have made him sick. Kamran doesn’t care, and starts his speech about ruling the galaxy, but Aamir’s having none of it…

Ms. Marvel #18 Aamir

Aamir has never been so cool. He gives Kamran a spectacular piece of his mind — Aamir never wanted superpowers, he’s perfectly happy the way he is no matter what anybody thinks of it. And he will not forget what happened between Kamala and Kamran, and he may not know exactly what occurred, but he will not blame Kamala or let Kamran off scot-free just because he’s a guy. And then he tosses Kamran into a pile of junk with his superpowers! It’s my favorite scene in a good long while.

Come to mention it, I’m still a bit disappointed with the team-up. I think it’s because all of this is happening as part of the Secret Wars event. I wish Ms. Marvel had gotten to meet Captain Marvel under normal circumstances. Meh. It ends nicely, although rather predictably.

Ms. Marvel #18 Carol Danvers

The curveball is in the exposition — Captain Marvel tells Kamala that they don’t expect to win this one, leaving her at a loss, just as the rest of her family arrives.

There’s one issue left in this arc, but I don’t know yet what to expect. Will Kamran be back? I didn’t notice until my second time through the scene, but they totally just left him there. He can stand right back up and continue being a nuisance. Will Kamala engage with the larger storyline, or will it be an entire issue of family drama ending with however-Secret-Wars-ends? We shall see.

Ms. Marvel #17 Review

Ms. Marvel #17 coverI didn’t want to spoil the big reveal at the end of Ms. Marvel #16, way back in June, but it’s on the cover now so what can I do? IT’S CAPTAIN MARVEL. Ms. Marvel’s hero and namesake, meeting Kamala Khan for the first time and I am SO EXCITED.

Kamala handles it pretty well, all things considered.

Ms. Marvel #17 KamalaCaptain Marvel explains about the planets in the sky. Apparently it’s what happens when realities are bumping up against each other, and Carol only came to tell Kamala that no one else is coming to Jersey City, Kamala will have to defend it on her own. But Carol agrees to stay and help rescue Kamala’s brother from Kamran, Kamala’s evil ex-crush.

Most of the issue is Carol and Kamala wandering around the city looking for Aamir, Kamala’s brother. Carol dispenses a lot of superhero advice, and it’s good advice — a step beyond what she’s learned from Wolverine and Lockjaw. It’s harder advice, and there are kittens involved. (I just hope the kittens come back, otherwise there may be crying involved. Those are the cutest kittens I’ve ever seen.)

Unfortunately, even though the advice is pretty okay, the dialogue is uninspiring. There’s no real personal connection between the two women, or if there is it’s one-sided. The final effect is just of a paint-by-numbers conversation, like Captain Marvel could’ve given the same advice to any young superhero. There’s too much of it at once, rather than an organic conversation growing from where Kamala is now as a superhero. Just bang-bang-bang, advice-advice-advice. I want more out of a team-up I’ve been anticipating for a year and a half!

We do get this gem of a panel though, after Carol compliments Kamala’s skill with her powers, and it really sums up the entirety of the Ms. Marvel series…

Ms. Marvel #17 Kamala CarolThe team-up isn’t over, and there should be more plot development in the next issue. To be continued!

Ms. Marvel #16 Review

If you’re into comics at all, you may have heard of Kamala Khan by now. She’s the new Ms. Marvel who’s running around breaking sales records and embiggening her way into our hearts. Up until now I’ve reviewed every issue on Things Matter, but as of today, I’m pleased to bring Ms. Marvel reviews straight to you, Sourcerer readers!

Ms. Marvel #1 coverOf course, if you’re new to Ms. Marvel or comics in general, welcome! Kamala Khan is a Pakistani-American Muslim girl living in New Jersey, who receives shape- and size-changing powers in a Terrigen Mist incident. That means she’s an Inhuman, which is sort of like being an X-Man, but you’ll get all those details as you go. Her third collected volume was just released last week and goes all the way up to #15, so with those three volumes it’s super-duper easy to catch up to this point! The series is written by G. Willow Wilson.

Here’s a quick recap, spoilers for stuff up to now: Volume 1: No Normal establishes the character, her world, her conflict with herself but ultimate confidence, and awesome villain The Inventor (a cockatiel-cyborg clone of Thomas Edison). Volume 2: Generation Why is the main Inventor story arc, and introduces the Inhumans. Vol. 3: Crushed goes deeper into the Inhumans using Kamala’s short-lived relationship with a fellow Inhuman named Kamran who turns out to be a terrorist against the Inhuman royalty.

Most of these reviews won’t be this long, but now we’re ready for today’s issue!

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Ms. Marvel #16 cover

Kamala is, understandably, pretty broken up about how Kamran turned out to be a villain. He was a hot nerd who shared not only her Middle Eastern heritage but also her superpowered secrets… Of course she’s upset. When the story opens she’s drowning her sorrows in hot dogs.

Ms. Marvel #16 Kamala

But then there’s a random planet looming over Manhattan! Crowds are fleeing into New Jersey, so Kamala jumps into action to help shelter her friends and family in her school and protect the place from looters. Once that’s done, she turns her attention to the threat at hand. We get a really lovely moment of doubt, though.

Ms. Marvel #16 Kamala

An experience like Kamala’s with Kamran can be so demoralizing, and then this strange planet thing is thrown at her, totally unexplained. She’s not sure she can handle it… by herself. I love that! She doesn’t doubt she can be a superhero, I don’t think she ever has, but over the course of this series she’s also learned about the value of team-ups with Wolverine and Lockjaw and her own supporting characters like best-friend Bruno.

Who’s the latest guest? The blurb promises the team-up we’ve all been waiting for, and I had no idea, but I bet you can guess, so I’m not gonna tell you! Find it in the big reveal, and I think I can promise next month will be amaaaaazing!

Finally, Adrian Alphona is back on art this month! He’d been away for a while, but Ms. Marvel achieves peak awesomeness when he’s drawing, because he includes so many hilarious sight gags and background jokes. This one’s my favorite from this issue:

Ms. Marvel #16

See you next month!