Review: MS. MARVEL #8

Written by G. Willow Wilson
Art by Adrian Alphona
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: September 9, 2014

Last time, Medusa decided to send a special companion to look after Kamala Khan and now we see the hi-jinx that ensue across New Jersey.

The adorable nature of having an oversized dog with the power to teleport needs no overly emotional gushing. It is a given that there is going to be lots of cute moments and panels that will result from this. Plus, we get to see Kamala deal with an issue many kids have to go through: trying to get her parents to agree to a new pet. That’s the only real break in the story that happened for me. Lockjaw approaches her while she is in her Ms. Marvel uniform and cuddle and make it clear that he wants to go home with her. However, she brings the extraordinary creature back to her house dressed in her street clothes. I would think it wouldn’t take long for people to figure out just who the new Ms. Marvel is, considering who was willing to take home the Inhuman. However, we’ll caulk this up to comics.

The rest of the issues does a great job of mixing heart and home. There are action scenes where we get to see Kamala save the day. The fight scenes provide an opportunity to finally explore the limits and potential weaknesses Kamala’s new powers could have. Previously she appeared almost indestructible with her shape-shifting powers. Now, we see that perhaps it’s not always enough if the timing is not right. Kamala also is given a full dose of Lockjaw’s powers at the end that makes the cliffhanger all too real and dangerous. There are also humorous interactions with her regular friends, one who knows her secret and the other who does not. This allows us to genuinely explore her everyday life. There is always this assumption that if you are not at the top of the popularity list you must be an outcast with zero friends. Instead, Kamala’s relationships show a much more realistic view of life, where no matter where you stand most people have friends, even if it’s just a precious few who appreciate and worry about you.

Adrian Alphona is back on art duties this issue, and it shows in the best way possible. The extra softness and detail in the pages, especially in the scenes that involve family and friends, shine. There is such a unique take with extra roundness and expressive features. Alphona’s art makes you feel like you’re watching your favorite animated features, instead of just looking at a static two dimensional image.

The biggest sell of this book continues to be the youthful voice that is infused into each issue. Wilson has tapped into the best and most genuine voice of a younger generation who wants to make a difference and not just be rewarded for the sake of showing up. The combination of cultural references to a large voice that has been largely overlooked in the past by comics and the teen who longs to do something big with their lives now is a powerful impact on the page. It is a spirit of whimsy on one page then the heartbreak of dangerous battle the next that keeps people reading every month. With that being done, it’s still unnecessary to go back and read each issue to get started. While there is a continuing storyline with Kamala researching and trying to stop the Inventor, each adventure is encapsulated between the covers for someone to just pick up and enjoy. That does not mean that there is any room wasted in the story on endless exposition to catch readers up. Instead, there is just enough subtle references, along with the traditional Marvel recap page, to get everyone on board. This lack of patronizing storytelling feels almost empowering as a reader, and you also feel like you get more story for your money. That feeling, of getting a good value, will always keep people coming back for more.

The Verdict: 9.5/10


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