MS. MARVEL #11
Written by G. Willow Wilson
Art by Adrian Alphona
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: February 4, 2015
There’s not much left to say about this series after eleven months of coming of age, larger than life action and familial interaction. Yet, not enough can be said to express to comic readers who have yet to try the new Ms. Marvel how important this comic is right now.
In this issue you have a grand finale of Kamala’s year long quest to grow into herself; or shrink, whichever you prefer. She is having a final showdown with the evil clone of Thomas Edison… who happen to accidentally gain the head of a parakeet and goes by the moniker “The Inventor.”
The recent restrictions placed upon her powers a few months ago sometimes makes it feel like she’s been reduced into nothing more than a female, teen Ant-Man, who has to have her life explained every other panel for those who have yet to learn about groups beyond their own cultural circles. However, just as that feeling sinks in with this issue, Wilson has Alphona send Kamala Khan through a mechanical ringer that gives her powers that unique twist… while twisting her up as well. The larger emotional impact in the story comes from a confession by Kamala to the group of young adults she has rallied to her side. No, silly, she doesn’t reveal her secret identity for some inane purpose. Instead, it’s a sentiment that feeds into the theme of team work and reliance on those around you that has been building over this past arc. The resulting aftermath scenes create a great sense of camaraderie that I hope transition over into future issues. While the ground work for a “Ms. Marvel Help Squad” is heavily implied and laid out clearly, this summer’s impending event makes it unclear if it will happen.
There is yet another food joke laid into the dialogue, this time gyros (I’m sure you’re drooling right now at the thought. If you haven’t had one, you’re missing out. Go find one and try it.) There is also an obvious call for humanity not to prejudge their youth. If children are the future shouldn’t we provide them with the opportunity to prove it instead of prematurely condemn them? I think Ms. Marvel believes this is true and uses it as a rally point.
An additional lesson is one that many younger readers need to hear: mistakes happen. This idea that superheroes are perfect is usually fought with heavy handed storytelling with the results being overly dramatic. In this case it is a series of minor decisions that inadvertently lead to a result. There is not one big dramatic moment of truth. No split second timing or regret over a single decision. It is the very opposite of heavy handed. However, the message that heroes will not always be perfect is clearly outlined.
Alphona’s art is a multitude of swirls and scratched out lines of texture. There is a restraint in the use of detail lines on the faces of all the characters that provides a great contrast to the the massive details in the backgrounds. Each of the pages use varied overlapping panels that help to move the action along at a brisk pace, while providing a few purposeful white gutters to help you slow down between plot points and dialogue. From Kamala Khan’s hair, to the mist surrounding her and The Inventor, the circular nature of the images invokes a feeling of psychedelic art movements. These rolling images are tempered by the gradient colors of Ian Herring. Those gradients often use teal and magenta adding to the surreal feeling of where Ms. Marvel’s investigation into Jersey City’s missing children has lead.
There is a definitive “end of the beginning” feeling provided by this issue. While much of the goofball humor Kamala had with her friends in earlier issues is missing, there is still plenty of joy. It’s the kind of conclusion that will give you hope for the future. There is a familiar invocation that each generation thinks the one coming after is degrading, and how those coming up are going to prove the world wrong. This book is designed to show all of us that there is hope not just for the future, but for ourselves. Plus, leave it to a Ms. Marvel book to make you physically hungry. It left me chanting #gyrosforheroes.
The Verdict: 9.0/10