Previous generations rarely give up their stranglehold on the reins of power easily. There’s also a bad tendency to project onto that young generation and assign them negative traits that the elders see in themselves. MS. MARVEL has taken this to another level by having the villainous, avian Inventor literally have them do nothing but lay around all day and give their energy to power his machines. When last we left Kamala, G. Willow Wilson had her backed into a corner, new companion Lockjaw disabled, and the Inventor’s robot closing in. However, Kamala Khan’s not done yet, and neither are her new friends as we get a great example of power management and thinking outside the box leading to some absolutely hilarious visual language and moments. Wilson’s greatest strength has been humanizing her characters with naturalistic dialog and this issue has a lot of tremendous examples of that, particularly from Khan and her peers. The plot is all fairly standard superhero fare, but the dialog, characters and art elevate the material and make it stand out from the crowd.
Series regular Adrian Alphona’s style is absolutely perfect for this issue’s over-the-top tone and action, illustrating Ms. Marvel’s powers with incredible bombast and an almost uncontainable level of kinetic energy. The visuals are sketchy and chaotic, but they never seem random and are still easy to follow from one panel, and page, to the next. Lockjaw’s always a particular highlight of Alphona’s style, but the Inventor’s bizarrely proportioned form actually strikes a dark, frightening tone that balances the sweet, whimsical look of the rest of the issue. Ian Herring’s colors are generally good, communicating the brightness of tone that the book strives for.
The colors are also a bit muted for how wild and bombastic the rest of the book is. At first it looked like a printing error, but if it was it’s across all copies of the issue. It’s not that they’re bad, they just don’t quite go far enough or sharp enough.
As great as Wilson’s dialog is, this issue makes the same mistake of the last one and veers into soapboxing territory just a little too often.
This is one of the few titles on the shelf, either Big 2 or otherwise, that can get away with not really having a longterm storyline. She’s still a new enough character that readers are still getting to know her, so a status quo needs to be established before it can be shaken up, so the somewhat wandering, ponderous plotline is actually a strength as we get to know this cast. With how hard it can be for new series to succeed, it’s great to see one not only surviving, but thriving and contributing to the greater universe just by introducing it to SO many new, different characters. With the Inventor, Kamala may have found her first real archenemy, and that’s an important step for any hero to take.