Ms. Marvel #3
Writer – G. Willow Wilson
Art – Adrian Alphona
Color Art – Ian Herring
Lettering – Joe Caramagna
Review by Joey Braccino
Bottom line: We need more superhero comics like Ms. Marvel. Thoughtful, well-written, and gorgeously illustrated, Ms. Marvel has been hitting all the right notes in this introductory story arc for young Kamala Khan. G. Willow Wilson is telling a modern, urban coming-of-age tale in true Marvel fashion; Kamala is quickly learning that “with great power, comes great responsibility,” but she also comes face-to-face with the very real dangers of great power in this issue.
Last issue, the Terrigen-mist-ified Kamala heroically rescued the super popular Zoe Zimmer. Of course, she polymorphed into the image of Carol Danvers (replete with the classic Ms. Marvel bathing-suit costume) to do so. Instead of taking us to the Avengers or to Danvers herself for reaction, Wilson kicks off this issue with a newscast and a adorably bed-headed Kamala Khan eating cereal. Wilson is wisely keeping Ms. Marvel grounded in Kamala’s Jersey City neighborhood rather than opening wide to the larger Marvel Universe. So far, this book has been about Kamala, her family, and her friends in JC moreso than a superhero book, which helps lend the series exactly the sort of all-ages, broad appeal that other superhero comics simply can’t have. We’re not too preoccupied with canon or cameos, so Ms. Marvel feels fresh and innovative on each page.
The rest of the issue sees Kamala grappling with “[waking] up different” and asking—vaguely—her closest friends and family for help. Except for her best friend, Bruce, however, who snitched on her the night of the incident when she snuck out to the party. In the issue’s heartstopping cliffhanger, Bruce (and his loser brother, Vick) play a huge role in Kamala’s biggest challenge yet. The structure of the issue and its buildup to the final page are pitch-perfect, weaving together all the threads of the single issue as well as the run so far.
Adrian Alphona’s artwork is equal parts whimsy and realism. Wilson’s story is very much a Jersey City, slice-of-life, teen dramedy with a more-than-subtle injection of surreal superpowers. The choice to give Kamala polymorphing powers perfectly captures this dichotomy, and Alphona is more than up to the challenge of portraying the two sides of the Ms. Marvel coin.
Read this book! Kamala Khan’s story is a classic coming-of-age done the Merry Marvel way! Keep an eye out for McNair Academic High School (which is like right around the corner from my neighborhood) and a perfectly executed Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure joke. Perfect.