Ms. Marvel has been a great character driven series so far. It stars Kamala Khan, a Pakistan immigrant living in New Jersey who gained polymorphing superpowers during last year’s Infinity event. While it’s been a slow burn so far, it’s built a core cast of likeable and relatable characters, it’s often fun, and it has great art. Previously, Ms. Marvel has only stumbled upon situations where she used her powers to protect someone – this issue shows her first act of going somewhere with the intention to save someone. This issue is where the pacing starts to pick up.
The last issue ended with Kamala being accidentally shot by someone she knows. It’s a mess of a situation that ends with one of her best friends, Bruno, learning that she has superpowers, which isn’t a huge surprise since he knew in her Marvel Point One story. The gunman runs away in a panic, referring to someone named The Inventor. That’s where Kamala’s first active mission as a superhero begins. The issue ends with a robot fight and a teaser for a larger conflict in the next issue.
G. Willow Wilson is doing a wonderful job writing this series. As with previous issues, Kamala is a delightful character. She’s a geek girl who enjoys comics and video games, but now instead of resorting to her fan fiction, she’s living one. Her family doesn’t show up as much in this issue (we only see Kamala’s mother), but they remain equally annoyed and concerned about her. While the characters are obviously Muslim, their faith only enhances their character depth and doesn’t get in the way of the storytelling.
The art by Adrian Alphona is also great. The first page is from Kamala’s hazy perspective while Bruno and the gunman look down in a panic. The facial expressions are very well drawn, especially the somewhat hilarious look Kamala gives when she pulls the loose bullet from her pants and her following excitement when she holds the bullet in the air. The action scene is fun, with Ms. Marvel shrinking to sneak up on people, only to grow in size to easily throw them aside. The robot fight is full of delightfully weird morphing and robot parts flying. But what really helps the pages feel complete is the environmental detail. There’s Bruno placing the closed sign on the front door’s broken glass, all sorts of fun product names (Nuclear Clean might be my favourite) and an arcade machine called Fight Loser II. There are almost too many little things to look out for, and that’s awesome.
Some people may not enjoy the slow pacing so far, but it’s allowed for a lot of character building and drama. This issue picks up the pace, and seems to indicate the series will continue to speed up from here. Either way, this is my favourite issue of the week. The series is comparable to Spider-Man’s early years in that it’s about a teenager who must balance between being a superhero, their school life and their family life. Anyone who reads Marvel should give this a chance if they haven’t already.