A Spectacular Second Issue!
This review originally went up on my blog here.
After a long, long wait, we finally have the second issue of G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona’s Ms. Marvel, which marks the latest reboot of one of Marvel’s more prominent female heroes. But, here’s the twist, this isn’t Carol Danvers in the suit, because she has already taken on the mantle of Captain Marvel and has moved on. No, this Ms Marvel is a 16-year old girl from New York, the daughter of Pakistani immigrants, Kamala Khan. And she does Avengers fan-fic and she adores Captain Marvel and considers her an inspiration and a role model. Couldn’t get better right?
Damn right. Because just as much as the first issue, this one too wowed me. It is a simple story of a young girl discovering her identity, someone who is struggling against the restrictive values that she has been raised with. Some people would say that she’s just being a teenager and acting out. Well, this is pretty natural, and woven in the rich tapestry of a superhero world, Kamala’s story is one of the most unique that Marvel has taken on in recent years. And Alphona’s art is just awesome. So quirky and so fun. I love it.
The cover, by Declan Shalvey and Matt Wilson, isn’t quite up to the same standards as the cover for the debut issue, which I loved. But it is interesting nonetheless because of the metaphorical relevance that it has to the story. And it is suitably representative of a superhero making her public debut, all mysterious and what not. So I guess I love this one too!
In the last issue we saw how the Terrigen Mists transformed Kamala into a superpowered individual. She found herself in a coma and when she woke, she had these powers that she had no idea how to control. She can basically alter her size and… stretch out. So, imagine someone who is a fusion of Reed Richards and Hank Pym, and you start to get the idea. But of course, Kamala is more than the sum of halves that take from other people. She is her own person and the subtext of this issue deals with that when she is confronted by her parents, who know that she snuck out of the house during her curfew time in the previous issue.
Like I said, very teenage thing to do.
More than anything else though, there are three real points I want to reiterate from last time, which I wholly believe deserve to be stressed for as long as this comic is an ongoing title: the protagonist is a girl, she is a teenager, and she’s Muslim. Take a look at the rest of Marvel’s line-up, and tell me which book has a prominent female teenage superhero? And even if you find one, do tell me which of them is not Christian or an atheist or just doesn’t care? I mean those three are the default options right? With Kamala, we have a really wonderful character. There have been a few characters similar to her before this series, such as Marvel UK’s Faiza, but I believe that Kamala is the true trailblazer here. For heavens’ sake, none of the Big 2 have a comic out right now where the protagonist is a Muslim!
I’m still so damn ecstatic that Marvel gave editor Sana Amanat, writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona a chance to public this comic. Given the point we are in the overall comics fandom, with respect to peoples’ entitlement and the patriarchy and controversies and what not, Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel is Ms. Marvel is a bright, shining light, and I pray yet again that this comic is an ongoing for several years. I would love nothing less. Wilson has Kamala’s voice down pat, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Except maybe make her a little less monologue-y.
On the art side, Adrian Alphona’s pencils and Ian Herring’s colours rocked the show. Forget the OTT laugh-riot that Deadpool is. This is the comic where the art makes the story so much better because of the protagonist’s antics. Wilson writes a character who is a teenager and Alphona’s art reflects that until it is all perfect. Or as close as you can get to that point. Alphona captures Kamala’s action scenes, and the scenes where she experiments with her powers some of the best scenes in a comic which is already a pretty damn good and awesome comic.
All in all, I’m pretty stoked with this issue. I enjoyed Kamala’s debut, and I enjoyed her second outing even more.
More Ms. Marvel: #1.