[Comic Review] Energeneration — Ms. Marvel #10

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Kamala Khan keeps learning something new every day.

After saving a group of teens at one of the Inventor’s camps, she comes to find the teens being used as human batteries are actually volunteers.

Say wha?!

It isn’t the hero’s welcome she expected, and Kamala can’t wrap her brain around the fact anyone would want to give up their bodies for fuel. While she listens and tries to make sense of it all, the Inventor strikes and captures Lockjaw, leaving the teens to realize that the evil bird clone might not be all he’s cracked up to be.

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That sets up an infiltration mission with Khan sneaking into the Inventor’s main headquarters. Passing through booby traps, scaling steam vents, and busting through a fan, Kamala finally comes face to face with her first nemesis for an epic showdown.

Ms. Marvel #10 might not be the most progressive story in terms of sprinting to its inevitable finish, but the first part of the issue takes its time, offering a mouthpiece to a generation of teens who don’t value themselves. I’m not sure if this issue’s teens are representative of a pervasive sentiment common in modern high school kids — I’m actually more inclined to believe it’s something G. Willow Wilson projects onto these characters, something perhaps the previous generation feels about youth of today.

And perhaps Khan is Wilson rousing the youth to aspire to bigger and better things. It doesn’t come off as preachy — Khan’s motivational talk with the teens seems grounded in common sense and altruism rather than anything political or or religious. Ms. Marvel as a series has been a positive one that’s more about accountability to the human race and doing what you can with what you got, and this issue continues in that vein.

That doesn’t mean Ms. Marvel is an after-school special of warm fuzzies. There’s plenty of action that pits Kamala against one of the Inventor’s mech suits. Having learned a lesson or two from his previous battles, the Inventor has buffed his technology to cancel out Lockjaw’s abilities, and he summons air support to fly him and his new captive back to his homebase.

I’m glad Adrian Alphona hasn’t been whisked away to another project. Alphona’s artwork feels incredibly alive, and none of the panels feel neglected or skimped over. There’s a panel where Ms. Marvel gathers the teens into her super-large hands, and you can see the depth and layers of the bodies and fingers holding them up. The motion is fluid, the expressions are spot-on, and the composition keeps the eyes moving along with the text bubbles.

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I’m also fond of Ian Herring’s textured colors. They’re something akin to a story book’s painted illustrations, and there’s a softness to it that also brings to mind the look of film grain. The palette doesn’t come across as harsh, and the lighting benefits from split-toning that layers specific panels with certain hues without drowning them.

Ms. Marvel is one of my favorite series from 2014, and I hope they keep this team together for a long time. Ms. Marvel #10 doesn’t neglect to speak to its audience, and it’s great to see a positive message from a comic book that takes itself as seriously as it needs to. Fans looking for a classic-styled superhero comic with a great sense of humor and a dose of great power working hand in hand with great responsibility should look no further.


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Ms. Marvel #10(2014)
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Marvel
Words: G. Willow Wilson
Art: Adrian Alphona
Colors: Ian Herring
Letters: Joe Caramagna

Previous Issue: Ms. Marvel #9 Review
Next Issue: Ms. Marvel #11 Review

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