“That’s half of heroing. Noticing things”.
Ms Marvel has been one of this year’s breakout titles – if you’re not been reading it, hit those back issue bins and make that right. I’m going to try and hold back my blatant gushing during this review (you can pretty much read that in my review for Ms. Marvel #7, here) and just take a look at this great comic book. For those who did read my review of #7, you may remember I was not so keen on that particular issue, feeling that after such a strong run it lacked the emotional punch I’ve come to expect from this book. #8 more than makes up for that, and delivers one of this run’s strongest offerings yet.
Following up on her short team up with Wolverine, Kamala Khan is now searching for The Inventor (the giant talking cockatiel villain) and the other young mutants he has abducted. She begins her search, of course, on Facehead (not to be confused with Facebook of course). Then, this issue sees another team up of sorts, as that loveable giant teleporting dog, Lockjaw, aids Kamala.
Willow Wilson’s success with Ms Marvel stems from her commitment to keep the book grounded. Granted, the issue begins with Kamala embracing Lockjaw, but that is quickly followed by a scene in which she tries to convince her parents to let her keep the dog. In this scene Willow Wilson is then able to explore the family dynamic and even touch upon the family’s religious beliefs. Looking further in the issue, a large fight mid-issue is followed up with Kamala being late to school and a nice scene between Kamala, her best friend (who does not know about her new powers) and their teacher. This play between ‘big’ and ‘small’ scenes is perfectly judged by Wilson, whose dialogue has an effortless quality, making her characters real and well rounded.
This issue sees the return of regular artist Adrian Alphona after a two-issue break, and it is a most welcome return indeed. Alphona’s scratched pencil lines (down to the panel shapes themselves!) give the book a fluidity that fits Wilson’s pacing. His excellent rendering of form works well when drawing Kamala using her powers, and I was particularly impressed by his work during the middle fight scene. Ian Herring nicely builds on Aphona’s work with his colour art, working in a pastel pallet to give the book a unique colour tone.
My only criticism would be the final scene – I was left a bit confused as to what was going wrong with Kamala’s powers, and what she meant by “another face”? I wonder if anyone feels the same there. Still, top marks for me: this one hits the right spot on nearly every level. #9 can’t come soon enough.
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