What really made the first two issues of Ms. Marvel work is that it’s about a normal teenager. Sure, she’s a Muslim immigrant with superpowers, but she otherwise has a normal family life and has a few close friends. In this issue, she goes to school for the first time since becoming an inhuman. Hijinks are inevitable.
The first two issues took their time to develop Kamala Khan and her supporting cast. Her family feels real, and her classmates range from close friends to vain kids obsessed with popularity. This issue has a somewhat faster pace, but still focuses mainly on characters. If this issue were divided into three acts, the first would be expanding on her family life and conflicting thoughts on her religion, the second takes place in school, and the third is her second act of heroism – with a bit of a shocker ending.
The first act does a great job exploring her mindset, and how becoming a polymorph makes her feel alone. During her free period at school, her powers start flaring up. This is the most entertaining part of the book as she struggles to find an empty room to get her body under control … and then experiment a little. But the third act is probably the strongest, partly because of the shocker ending and partly because her friend Bruno is shown to have problems of his own. It makes Kamala’s world feel that much more complete, and demonstrates how Kamala has to learn more than just how to control her shapeshifting.
The art is charming, with lots of nice touches that help complete Kamala’s world. Kamala needs glasses when using a computer monitor, and whenever her powers flare up, her skin seems to glow. There’s plenty of environmental detail as well. In one panel there are all sorts of people on the streets, including some random guy with a sign reading “fear the mist.” In the Islamic Masjid, there’s a series of red carpets lined on the floor, and while the guys appear focused on the Sheikh’s message, most the girls across the wall (so that the guys and girls can’t look at each other) appear bored and unfocused. But where the art really shines is with the wide variety of facial expressions.
Ms. Marvel has a similar feel to Spider-Man’s early days, but with the added touch of starring a minority. The lead character is compelling and has powers that are both fun and visually appealing. The writing is consistently entertaining. It’s a slow burn so far, but this issue seems to indicate that the pace will pick up soon. There are almost too many reasons to recommend this title.