Last time we were in the world of Ms. Marvel, we were witness to the titular hero stepping up big time to be a responsible member of her generation, and inspiring others to do the same. It was a great moment that I think underscores some real-world realities and thus writer G. Willow Wilson is able to better place her hero in the ongoing changing world of comics, where the comics are often a stark reflection of our world and our changing perception to it. Nothing to be scoffed at, that.
The Inventor has been ever-present since the start of the series and while G. Willow Wilson has dealt with some other things along the way, the story has still remained focused on Kamala’s first nemesis, someone who can be considered to be at-level and thus a good foil for her in some ways while also being the primary antagonist. With Ms. Marvel #11, G. Willow Wilson closes out her first mega-arc, while at the same time artists Adrian Alphon and Ian Herring continue to present some truly excellent artwork.
There’s a lot that goes into making a superhero who she is. And when you consider legacy heroes, the expectations are all the more strict and ambitious accordingly. This is one area where Ms. Marvel has been an absolutely stellar series, and all of that continues in this issue as the writer shows the true potential of someone like Kamala as an inspiration. For her part, Kamala draws inspiration from her own heroes, supers like Captain Marvel and Wolverine and others. But for the people around her, she fulfills that same kind of need, and thus she is as important as any of the big-hitters. That’s the message underlying this entire comic, and I think it is something worth paying attention to.
Wilson has built up The Inventor thus far to be a true threat for the titular hero, someone who can give her one hell of a challenge, both mentally and physically, and this issue is the capstone to all of that. The villain has presented the hero with challenges of ever-increasing complexity and this issue is no different, though the big actual difference is that this issue marks his temporary exit since the hero proves triumphant after all. And the great thing is that she kind of beats him at his own game, that of the mind.
The face-story of this issue can be discussed at great length but I think the more valuable thing in here is all the subtext of the dialogue and the events themselves. We’ve seen Kamala as a loner and kind of a bumbling hero as well. But we’ve slowly seen her develop into something else, someone who can make real changes beyond the obvious. And you can consider that to be her net effect here: she inspires the people around her to do better, she has faith in them and they have faith in her in return. That’s pretty damn valuable as far as I’m concerned.
In many ways, this current arc has been all about the Old vs. the New and The Inventor certainly encapsulates that, no matter how you look at it. At one end we have the villain, and on the other we have the hero herself. And this is all a tug-of-war between them, sprinkled with some great humour that really brings out the drama of the story.
In the end, that’s really why I love Kamala so much and why I loved this issue so much. It is both subtle and obvious in many ways and G. Willow Wilson maintains an excellent balance at all times.
Adrian Alphona is the artist here with Ian Herring on colours and VC’s Joe Caramagna on letters with Kris Anka on the art. As usual, I loved the artwork. The body language is just too good, and the coolest thing is the design of The Inventor, being both quirky and nice at the same time. His head can sometimes make it difficult to get a read on him in the context of the story, but then that’s where Adrian and Ian’s art really shines, to use one example. The action scenes too are fairly good, and when you put it all together, you get something genuinely impressive.
Strong start to the year!