If the previous five issues have established anything about MS. MARVEL, it is a tone of unbridled, gleeful joy punctuated by the kinds of teen problems that are less angsty and more ripe for sympathy tinged with chuckles. At the very least we’re laughing WITH Kamala rather than AT her...most of the time, anyway. I mean come on, sometimes she brings it on herself. G. Willow Wilson has gone out of her way to make Ms. Marvel about as relatable a superhero as you can get while still being a truly unique voice in comic books, mainstream and otherwise. Too general and she’d have nothing to make her stand out, but leaning too hard in the other direction makes her a human soapbox defined by her situation rather than her actions. The way Wilson writes her is JUST right. This issue shows a Kamala who’s acclimating nicely to her new powers, even taking on some pretty outlandish forms, until her parents, at their wits end, send her to their local Sheikh for guidance. Defying Kamala’s expectations, he sends her on a sort of spirit quest to find a mentor that can help her after she reveals that she’s been getting in trouble because she’s helping others. She’s just not...great at it. Who she runs across in the sewers, tracking down more of the Inventor’s twisted...inventions should fill the role. The pacing in this issue is perfect, giving us a great look at how Ms. Marvel is changing and adjusting, but still learning in the process AND juggling everything else in her life. We also learn the identity of the Inventor and...after last issue’s reveal left me scratching my head, I couldn’t be happier with what they establish here. This issue is light on drama, but still has plenty of thrills and goes all-out, completely successfully, on the laughs.
Jacob Wyatt tags in for Adrian Alphona and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some trepidation about this switch-up. Alphona was SUCH a huge part of defining this book that I wasn’t sure ANYone could take his place, let alone an artist I hadn’t heard of. A quick perusal of his work allayed a great many of my fears but actually seeing the visuals allayed a great many more. This is a beautiful book and while it doesn’t have the same ultra-fluid look, it brings an easy glee to the writing. This isn’t to say the characters look stiff, when action jumps off there’s a very natural motion to each panel, and I haven’t even brought up the beautiful color palette courtesy of series regular Ian Herring. The colors are on-point all the time, and Herring doesn’t get an easy job with a huge diversity of settings and lighting to choose from, but he sets the tone and setting perfectly each time.
The ultra-fluidity that I mentioned before is only really missed whenever Ms. Marvel engages with her elasticity. This is the only time I feel like the art fell a little flat, looking more like exaggerated perspective shots than superpowers.
It’s certainly not a major complaint and the new artist acquits himself amazingly well, which isn’t an easy feat when filling in for someone with such a one-of-a-kind look as Alphona. But Wyatt’s look is definitely all his own as well, so the uplifting tone of whimsy is maintained seamlessly. This is, very simply, one of the most fun books on the shelf and this issue continues that. Even Mr. Jack-Of-All-Books fits in perfectly and I’m actually hoping he sticks around for a few more issues, not just because of who he is, but how well I think he’d fit in...or really NOT fit in, which is always the funnier option.