Ms Marvel #15
Written by: G. Willow Wilson
Art by: Takeshi Miyazawa, Ian Herring
I’ve learned something about myself; I am obsessed with teenagers. Yeah, that sounds bad but almost every story I care about in Marvel features someone under the age of 18. Miles Morales, Kate Bishop, Valeria Richards, and of course Kamala Khan are all riveting characters with fun adventures that I want to read. Often the more adult teams are doing something I couldn’t care less about; either blowing up actual universes (actually happened) or pulling their more fun teenage counterparts from the past (actually happened) their adventures tend to either bore me or cause unending aggravation. But teenagers get to be heroes. They get to learn about themselves and the world around them. They’re allowed to be unsure, to make and grow from mistakes, to be overwhelmed and yet at the end of the day kick some major ass.
This week was a bit more difficult to decide which book to review—not for a lack of material to read but for the abundance of really good books. But in the end there was only one contender, “Ms. Marvel” #15. Not because it’s a really good book—it is and has been since the beginning. No, the reason this book stands out over all the others is because Doctor Emmett Fucking Brown is their chemistry teacher. That’s right, Doctor time travel himself with white bushy hair, lab coat, and bright colored shirt is their God damn science teacher. Hell yeah I’m gonna review this issue, I’m gonna review the shit out of this issue!
First out of the gate, the story for this book is incredible. Throughout this arc, Kamala found another Pakistani American, Kamran, with Inhuman powers as well. And what’s better is he is smoking hot. So not only does she have a confidant who knows what she is going through, but she enjoys spending time with him. Well, things take a turn for the worse when Kamran isn’t what he seems. Kamala ends up being kidnapped to join a new team of “Inhumans” who are more intent on using their powers for their own needs. Here’s where I like to get a bit preachy; Kamala is kidnapped but at no point is she powerless. It’s a fairly minor distinction that shouldn’t really be noteworthy except nobody else seems to be getting this and has the female get bundled up in the basement while everyone does the action. True, Kamala calls for help but that doesn’t even pan out and she’s stuck saving herself through lots of kick as fighting and heroics.
One thing this book does well continuously is combat. Look at Kamala’s power set and it almost looks cartoonish. She expands or shrinks any part of her body that she needs for the situation. I can almost see her being a Looney Tunes character. And yet her combat is so good that I can feel the impact when she hits someone. When she embiggens her fist and uses it “Hulk Smash” style I have little doubt in her ability to fight off the bad guys. What’s better is she also is really smart and uses that to her advantage, often growing and shrinking in combat the same way a prize fighter ducks and weaves punches. The way she ducks the two henchmen in the hallway and then reaches back and kicks out their legs made me actually pump my fist as if that was me, as if I’d taken out those two guys. Even better is that all of her combat is really heroic, her fights are never underhanded or sneaky—she’s more Superman than Superman. Also? They’re clean, like I can tell exactly what is going on with every punch and kick. In a time when fights tend to get over the top, it’s nice to have a clean one on one that I can follow through every panel.
One thing that I can compare between “Invincible” and “Ms. Marvel” is that these two have two different impulses when being kidnapped. Mark, who has immense rage issues, tends to lose focus and go immediately for the fight response, attempting to punch whatever can break in a way to hopefully get free—though admittedly he grows out of this response later as he ages but let’s focus on teenage Grayson. Kamala was kidnapped and they were able to get in her head, convince her that perhaps it was her own fault for putting herself in this position. She is able to shake free of that feeling but there’s this intense moment of self-doubt that almost does her in. Both Mark and Kamala are struggling under the weight of this new responsibility hoisted on their shoulders but both continue to have this exuberant excitement and love for the life that they’ve fallen into.
“Ms. Marvel” #15 continues the tradition of this book of being really good and a must read at 93% Invincible.