‘Urban Legend: Part Four’ review
Published by Marvel Comics
Writers: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Adrian Alphona
Colourist: ian Herring
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Art: Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson
A review by Jake Morris.
Issue five of Ms. Marvel continues the beginning of Kamala Khan’s journey to becoming a superhero in the Marvel universe. Essentially Kamala’s origin story, the fourth entry in a five part arc is much more of the same, but that is in no way a bad thing. The charm that has been present in the previous issues continues here with Kamala learning to embrace her new powers and stick it to the bad guys.
A term that encapsulates G. Willow Wilson’s new Ms. Marvel is ‘breath of fresh air’. The book has cornered a part of Marvel’s line that, while not necessarily something people have cried out for, it leaves you wondering “why not?” once each issue has finished.
The diversity of art on show in Marvel’s books is one of the strong points of the Now! renumbering/relaunch, and this book is no stranger to that. Adrian Alphona strikes a chord with subject material and artistic direction as the tribulations of growing up a teenage outsider always layers a cushioned comedic edge. Kamala’s shape-shifting powers, that includes making her fist ten times bigger than any other body part, gives Alphona an opportunity to break out from the usual guidelines that are enforced on anatomy in comics.
Where the book has exceeded is in its balance of the journey towards heroism and living an ordinary life. Life in the Khan household might be some of the most natural family based elements delivered on a monthly basis and even though it does detract from showing more heroic action, the loss of it would be a detriment to the book. An honest moment between Kamala and her father delivers a ton of heart but makes sure not to pepper on the sentimentality too much.
Ms. Marvel’s supporting cast has grown with each issue and like previous issues, Kamala’s friends are present and provide the lighter moments. One of the only shames is that the gearing up and training sequences feel slightly rushed in order to deliver an ending that sets up the arc’s finale. As again, the wit of Wilson’s dialogue and Alphona’s cartoon-ish art style deliver character even in the most static of panels.
A question can be made that did Ms. Marvel need to be a new character in an already established world? Could it have been an independent title? It remains to be seen whether Kamala will be a major player in the 616 universe, but the tiny references to the larger world adds emphasis. A favourite moment happens near the end where Kamala, now dressed in her new Ms. Marvel uniform, delivers a rousing speech, but the only reply the small crowd can muster is “huh?”. The fact that the book is set in the Marvel universe clarifies the blank faces all the more. Kamala is not a rarity, there are hundreds of heroes. The job that G. Willow Wilson has is showing audiences just what it is that makes her unique, and so far, she is doing a bang up job.
Jake is a contributing writer for Drunk On Comics. You can follow him on Twitter at @JakeUtd.