One of the most heart-warming and strange tales of everyday bravery are happening right now in the pages of G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona’s Ms. Marvel, which debuted earlier this year to great fanfare. The first three issues have been quite great and each one has offered something different while also offering something similar. In all of this, one thing that has been first and foremost is that the art and story have both been very consistent and that the storytellers here know their audience and their material really well, which is pretty damn nice to see.
In Ms. Marvel #4, the story picks up just a few moments after the cliffhanger of the previous issue, in which Kamala’s friend Bruno’s younger brother Vic shot her when she stopped him robbing his brother’s store. It was a very surprising ending that tail-ended a story about young Kamala Khan struggling to define herself with the acquisition of her strange new powers and creating an identity for herself, hyped on the notion of helping those need her help, as she has been taught by her parents. The story here continues on from there and it is just magnificent.
Can we talk about the cover art here first? Done by Jamie McKelvie, who is a pretty damn good artist and certainly among the best in the industry, it shows a very classic superhero pose, but one that is differentiated by the fact that Kamala’s family are also shown, having a meal in that diner that she is passing by while on superhero business. It hints at some of the things that happen in this issue, although not quite the way that you’d expect. As always, all the covers for this series have been great, and this one is no exception.
One thing that we’ve seen so far is that once acquiring her strange new powers, Kamala has appropriated the identity of the previous Ms. Marvel aka Carol Danvers who is now Captain Marvel. She adores Carol and is a full-fledged fan, so it is no surprise that she would gravitate towards that particular identity given the kind of powers that she has. She has struggled to be both herself and the hero that the people see her as being, and in this issue, she takes some concrete steps in that direction, and begins to find some solutions to her many problems and conundrums.
Throughout it all however is the undercurrent of the fact that Kamala is a teenager and that her perceptions for everything around her are coloured by that. She always reacts as a teenager would under her extraordinary circumstances, and like I said last time, she reminds me a lot of a young Peter Parker. She definitely has that kind of a feel to her dialogue and her narration. If nothing else, I’d love to see a Peter Parker/Kamala Khan team-up at some point, because I think that would be really good fun.
With the first three issues focusing so much on Kamala, this fourth issue is where things start to get a bit bigger as G. Willow Wilson starts to branch out and has Kamala face up to a local menace that Vic is involved in. There are hints of a larger adversary in the background and the bits in this issue that dealt with said adversary where what I enjoyed.
And above everything is the fact that Wilson’s writing is so damn natural in every way. She doesn’t put Kamala’s heritage up front in every issue and you really do get a good solid feeling that Kamala is a normal, everyday girl who has gotten mixed up in big things. That’s really it.
Adrian Alphona’s pencils and Ian Herring’s colours were once again the stars of this issue. And as always, the facial expressions on all the characters are the highlight, something that seems to come really easy to Alphona. And Ian Herring, with his soft lighting on each panel, as well as the strong colour contrasts on every page, well, this is an issue to be bought and flipped through just for the art. It isn’t for no reason that Ms. Marvel is one of Marvel’s absolute best-looking book on shelves right now.
With things heading towards some sort of a showdown now, I’m even more excited than before. This issue was really good!