Review by Tom Speelman
Last weekend, my college held a writing festival where G. Willow Wilson was a featured guest. I was lucky enough to not only hear her speak twice—once in an interview about, among other things, being the only American Muslim writer in mainstream comics and one talk given about speculative fiction—but meet her briefly and have her sign my copy of her excellent, World Fantasy award-winning novel Alif the Unseen.
Ms. Wilson is just as kind and insightful in person as she is on the page, as this week’s issue of Ms. Marvel only proves. Once again, we’re given another sterling chapter in what’s not just a good superhero origin story, but a great young adult novel.
Picking up the day after the events of issue #2, where newly-enabled shapeshifter Kamala Khan saved the life of her tormentor Zoe by turning into Ms. Marvel (how Carol Danvers looked), Kamala wakes up, sees her rescue is a news headline and promptly freaks out. Angry at her friend Bruno for snitching to her parents that she had snuck out to a party, and getting grounded, she winds up doing heavy research into “polymorphing” or shapeshifting. Or as much as she can, anyway, given that most search results for that bring up World of Battlecraft (a fun little spoof name carried over from Wilson’s novel).
While that’s going on, we learn that Bruno, mystified why Kamala is ignoring him, has a screwup of a brother named Vick who wants him to steal $100 from the convenience store he works at. Kamala, meanwhile, has her hands full with her powers that she is starting to control, but not that well just yet.
This series has been excellent all the way through and it shows no signs of stopping. Wilson’s script is just as human and earnest as ever; the reader not only knows Kamala, but identify and empathize with her.
Adrian Alphona, best known for being the co-creator and original artist on Marvel’s Runaways, continues his excellent work that is cartoonish, but not cartoony, and fits the world of the book last night. With this issue, I noticed something I don’t recall seeing before, and that’s the way he packs in these really fun, little details Sergio Aragonës style. For example, we see a girl clad in lacroose goalkeeper gear, complete with net; a few panels later, she’s busy chasing after a butterfly. Fun stuff.
Alphona’s wonderful air is only accentuated by the wonderful coloring of Ian Herring. Herring, using some wonderful digital tools, makes the coloring both natural and popping; each character is given a distinct shade and their surroundings are clearly enhanced. Joe Caramagna’s lettering also underscores this; there may not be any fancy flourishes of Urdu like there were in issue #1, but it still works.
Bottom line: get this comic. The first issue is so popular it’s now in its 3rd printing; the last time I heard of a #1 issue getting reprinted like that, it was Morning Glories over 3 years ago ( that went into something like 6 printings, but remember, Image prints a lot less of their stuff). This is the book to get in on, so check it out; you won’t be disappointed.
Tom is a contributing writer for Drunk On Comics. You can follow him on Twitter at @tomtificate.