BooksOfTheMoon

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous

By G. Willow Wilson

Rating: 3 stars

Right. Wait, what?! The last time we saw Ms Marvel, aka Kamala Khan, she was standing with her best friend, on the roof of her school, waiting for the end of the world. Here, we’re dumped right into the middle of the action, the world hasn’t ended and Ms Marvel is now an Avenger?! There’s no explanation of this, we just get a throwaway comment that it’s eight months later and just carry on regardless. This is frustrating, especially given where we left of last time.

Still, it seems that Kamala hasn’t been paying much attention since that time too, as she’s stunned to find out that Bruno is now seeing someone else, but before they can talk about that, there’s a redevelopment in Jersey City that goes a bit Stepford to deal with; her super-religious brother has fallen in love and needs her to be a chaperone; Avenging is trickier than she realised (not to mention the downsides of fame); and then there’s a whole stack of Kamala clones that need taken care of… It’s all a bit overwhelming, for the reader as well as for Kamala, as she tries to discover just what her priorities are.

As fond as I am of Kamala and her world, this book didn’t do it for me as much as the earlier ones. It was still fun, but it all felt a bit hectic, and the whole non-end-of-the-world thing was underwhelming. I understand it was part of some larger Marvel metaplot, but if you’re going to do that, it still has to work for people who don’t religiously read all the titles. Just a few panels of exposition would have been fine. And now, I see that the next volume is called Civil War II, presumably tying in with another Marvel crossover, and I’m really not sure I can be bothered with that. It’s Kamala I want to see, and her family and her friends and Jersey City. I’m happy to leave Spider-Man, SHIELD, the Avengers and all the others out of it. If the focus is going to move away from the characters of this title, to be more involved in crossovers, then I really can’t be bothered any more.

Book details

ISBN: 9780785196112
Publisher: Marvel
Year of publication: 2016

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 4: Last Days

By G. Willow Wilson

Rating: 4 stars

Volume 4 of Ms Marvel (Kamala Khan edition) sees Kamala meet one of her all time heroes (and namesake) and have to save her brother from her evil ex while at the same time dealing with the end of the world.

This may possibly be my favourite Ms Marvel book to date. I loved the goofy mix of action and emotion, which has always been there, but Wilson has smoothed the edges to perfection in this one. I suspect that I missed a lot of the background with the big planet over Manhattan as I think it was part of some sort of crossover but you don’t really feel like you’re missing out on anything important.

The scenes between Kamala and Carol Danvers are very sweet and the ones with her and her family are awfully moving. However, it’s the last scene of the main story, with Kamala and Bruno that left a lump in my throat.

It was a bit jarring that at the end of that, we get a crossover issue with Spider-Man. It’s a complete change of tone, but fun in its own way, even if I get the impression that there’s a whole bunch of Spider-Man emo stuff going on (‘cos Spider-Man always does, doesn’t he?) that I didn’t really care an awful lot about. I was there for the embiggening and punching (and Kamala doing her fangirl squeeing thing, which is quite adorable).

Book details

ISBN: 9780785197362
Publisher: Marvel
Year of publication: 2015

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 3: Crushed

By G. Willow Wilson

Rating: 4 stars

Volume 3 of G. Willow Wilson’s Ms Marvel sees the young Kamala Khan have to deal with a force more terrifying than supervillains: feelings. The opening story doesn’t really do an awful lot for me, as it brings Loki, trickster of the gods down to visit for Valentine’s Day. Apparently Loki is now working for the good guys but a hilarious misunderstanding leads to a punch-up with everyone’s favourite puncher. It was okay, but I didn’t think it was the strongest of Kamala’s stories.

Fortunately, the one that follows it makes up for it. In this one, Kamala falls for Kamran, the son of some of her parents’ friends. And falls hard. Unfortunately, things don’t go well, and Kamala has to learn how to cope the hard way. There’s also a surprisingly touching scene between Kamala’s older brother Aamir and her best friend Bruno which touched a few chords with me. This story leaves a lot lying open, some of which, I assume, will be covered in future volumes.

The final story is a crossover with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with Jemma Simmons and Phil Coulson making an appearance. It’s fairly lightweight, and the likenesses of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to the TV show aren’t great but it’s a fun way to end the collection, with a message about family thrown in for good measure.

Book details

ISBN: 9780785192275
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Year of publication: 2015

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2: Generation Why

By G. Willow Wilson

Rating: 4 stars

Generation Why continues the story of Kamala Khan from where No Normal left off. The Inventor is still loose and Kamala needs to find and stop him before more young people go missing. On the way, she meets Wolverine (and somewhat fails to not squee all over him) who she impresses enough that he contacts the Inhumans, the part-alien group of which it turns out that she is a member.

The main thread of the story here is one of being disassociated from society, of barriers between the generations, and ways to overcome them and continue to work for the good of society. These are great themes and it’s good to see a relatable character coming out and telling young people that they’re not worthless or parasitical upon society. That’s something that needs to be said, when the opposite is often heard from mainstream media.

Kamala is a fun character and her world is interesting and growing as she grows and develops as a character. She’s realising that superhero-ing alongside just being a teenager (not to mention an immigrant teenager) is difficult. I look forward to more of it.

Book details

ISBN: 9780785190226
Publisher: Marvel
Year of publication: 2015

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal

By G. Willow Wilson

Rating: 4 stars

Kamala Khan is just an ordinary Muslim-American teenager coping with life until she unexpectedly gets superpowers. She takes up the mantle of Ms Marvel and adds another complication to her life, now having to juggle superheroics to just being a sixteen year old girl, trying to balance the expectations and cultural baggage of her parents with that of the world around her.

This is a fun story and even if, like me, you know little of the Marvel universe beyond the MCU you’ll still be able to get a lot out of it. There’s as much focus on Kamala’s daily life and how she balances life as an American with life as a Muslim, as well as the angst that all teenagers, no matter what their background, feel. This makes Kamala a relatable protagonist which helps cover the problem with many origin stories: that there isn’t much in the way of plot. It’s not too bad though, there’s enough to not make me feel cheated and lots of groundwork for plot to come in future volumes.

For me the question is not ‘am I going to read any more Ms Marvel’, but ‘do I continue with the paperbacks, or switch to the larger hardbacks’?

Book details

ISBN: 9780785190219
Publisher: Marvel
Year of publication: 2014

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