With the school under attack by the Inventor’s giant robot, Kamala Khan goes all out to save the day.
A cast of supporting characters who have played and/or will play big roles appear during the attack before Khan’s whisked away by Inhuman queen Medusa.
Ms. Marvel #9 fills in the blanks for Kamala as she finally learns about the origin of her powers during her stay in New Attilan. Her team-up with Wolverine a few issues ago left her believing she was a mutant coming into her powers. The truth is much more complicated, and if puberty wasn’t enough for a teen to go through, imagine finding out you’re part alien.
The reveal would probably overwhelm the average teen, but Kamala’s mind is on getting rid of the Inventor once and for all. Her origin aside, she’s got work to do.
With Vick in tow, Kamala returns to Doyle’s hideout to stop a body harvest.
The problem: The harvestees are volunteers.
Ms. Marvel #9 ramps it up and clears the way for Kamala to grow as a superhero. We get one scene with Khan’s family — her mother and father dealing with the aftermath of the school attack — and there’s one difference that means all the world. The moment happens when Kamala shows her strength and embraces her mother, promising that everything will be fine. It’s a powerful scene that doesn’t narrate itself to death or trip over itself trying to carry itself home.
We are seeing Kamala Khan becoming the hero from the inside-out.
We’re also seeing more plot points with one of the police officers from Vick’s robbery investigation who appears to recognize Kamala during the battle. Whether he joins Team Ms. Marvel or takes up a J. Jonah Jameson sort of role remains to be seen — but in G. Willow Wilson’s hands, I’m looking forward to what’s coming with very eager eyes.
I can rehash my love for Wilson’s writing, but I’ll just point at my past reviews and say: Willow is on fire. I know I’m gushing, but Ms. Marvel feels like a blast from the past — like an album that sounds like the music during my favorite listening years. Ms. Marvel takes me back to when comics were relateable, full of wonder, and fun.
That doesn’t mean all is light and fluffy. The title’s got its share of grim and grit with the Inventor using humans as batteries for his technological creations. That there’s dark blacks to go along with the bright highlights gives Ms. Marvel a wide spectrum that shows us a range of sights and feels.
Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring on art and colors are up to task with beautiful visuals. Alphona’s Kamala is more resolute this issue, and though I wouldn’t call his artwork lifelike, it’s very life-filled. It seems more appropriate to call the artwork animation instead.
Herring’s colors are attractive, as usual, and he should get credit not just for his distinct palette and style — Herring takes into account the fact people have skin tones of many colors. Looking at the various characters in Ms. Marvel #9, it’s great to see that the visual team made it a point to give each person a different look through various visual means. That sort of attention to detail really translates to the reader on many levels, and it gives the book a lot of extra weight when it comes to parsing over the particulars.
Superheroes save people. But what about those who don’t want to be saved? I’m glad Wilson’s diving into the gray areas, and the title so far has gone the now-unconventional route by walking a path buried from years of neglect. What makes Ms. Marvel a great title like the comics of old is its focus on characters, its emphasis on what it means to be a hero, and its ability to access areas of emotion and thought through dialogue and plotting that doesn’t leave us feeling like we’re on the outside looking in.
Kamala’s journey is ours because we’re included, and Marvel would do well to keep this team together for as long as they need to. For all we’ve been given, which has been a delight to read and see, it looks like Wilson’s building a worthy legacy for this character. The hope for a future and the exciting present — readers will look back on these issues as classics.
Ms. Marvel #9 (2014)
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Words: G. Willow Wilson
Art: Adrian Alphona
Colors: Ian Herring
Letters: Joe Caramagna