Travelling Man's Blog


Review: Ms Marvel Volume 1 by Travelling Man

Written by G Willow Wilson

Art by Adrian Alphona

Colour art by Ian Herring

Letters by VC’s Joe Caramagna

Published by Marvel

£11.99

 

Kamala Khan is a desperately normal Muslim teenager who lives in New Jersey, dreams of eating hot dogs and is the largest Captain Marvel nerd on the planet. She’s smart, funny, endlessly compassionate and bored out of her skull. So, one night, she sneaks out to a party. That same night, Attilan falls over New York and the Terrigen Bomb is detonated. And, whilst Kamala doesn’t know that there is one thing she does know;

Everything’s changed. And it’s AWESOME.

This is the book of the year by a country mile. From the first panel of the first page G Willow Wilson makes Kamala instantly likable and sympathetic. She’s not a superhuman, doesn’t possess ridiculous wedge heels (Much as she covets them) and constantly rankle against her upbringing while still trying her best to honour it. She’s a good person on an average day who is handed something amazing. She’s us. We’re her. There are very few characters I’ve ever read who you root for so instinctively, so fast.

Wilson isn’t just focused on Kamala either. Her father is stern, endlessly compassionate and quite prepared to give his daughter room to figure herself out while her mother is endlessly concerned and, quietly, terrified of the gap she feels beginning to grow between them. Her brother is arguably the smartest subversion of expectation in the book but that’s worth finding out for yourself.

Outside the family, but only just, Kamala’s best friend Bruno is equally fun. Bruno’s smart, decent, has a lousy job and is desperately in love with her. He can’t look it in the eyes, she has no idea and again this could be cloying and sentimental. Instead it’s shot through with that sharp edged adolescent longing so many writers try for and so few get. As the pair of them learn about Kamala’s powers, their friendship intensifies and deepens but as of this volume, that’s all. Both have stuff to do. Hero stuff. Because make no mistake, Kamala Khan is the hero Jersey needs AND the hero it deserves.

On the art side of things Herring and Alphona are just as vital a part of Kamala’s origin. Alphona’s art is loose and relaxed and shines in the book’s numerous character moments whilst Herring’s colour work bathes Jersey in a palate of colours that’s deep, rich but still natural. Together they give the book a relaxed, naturalistic look that meshes perfectly with the story. Caramagna’s letters are the icing on the cake, walking you through the pages and making every line hit home.

 

This is a wonderful book. It’s really funny, has a heart a mile wide and is inventive, action-packed and most of all, fun. 2014 has been Kamala Khan’s year. Do yourself a favour, pick this up, and find out why.


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[…] Ms Marvel, written by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by a small, brilliant team of artists like Adrian Alphona, Takeshi Miyazawa, Ian Herring and Joe Caramagna, is one of the most extraordinary mainstream comic books on the market. Kamala, the lead, is a New Jersey-based teenager from a Pakistani family who gains superpowers and does what every nerd would do; fights crime with them. While screwing up a lot. It’s an amazing, clever, kindhearted revolution of a book that’s been infinitely more successful than was anticipated and I’ve talked about it a lot elsewhere. […]

Pingback by Sunday Moment of Zen: Ms Marvel | The Man of Words




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