Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, and friends have stormed the Inventor’s hideout for a climactic battle that will determine the fate of Jersey City’s youths.
Last issue, the teens Kamala rescued turned out to be willing volunteers for the bird-clone’s plans to depopulate the world and create cleaner energy sources. Lockjaw was taken captive, and Ms. Marvel persuaded her downtrodden peers to fight for their future.
In Ms. Marvel #11, the Inhuman Kamala and her very human friends look upon the extent of the Inventor’s plans — a bevy of bottled-up teens being used as human batteries. And while the Inventor has no real physical superpowers of his own, he does possess one giant guard-bot that needs to be taken down.
It takes a village, but the group rallies around Khan as she shrinks and gets into the guard-bot’s innards and takes control of it. When the Inventor zaps her with an electromagnetic pulse, Kamala loses control of her powers and begins to grow back to her normal size. Just as she’s about to be squeezed to death, Vick and Lockjaw come to the rescue, dismantling the robot and releasing Ms. Marvel from a horrible demise.
This issue continues building on the themes that carried issue #10. Ms. Marvel wins the day not for and by herself — the Inventor’s defeat is a group effort that proves these kids deserve a chance at living their lives. It’s a powerfully affirming story that also shows that superheroes need help, and there’s plenty of power in numbers. What the teens overcome by believing in themselves shows their potential, and that can be applied outside of this comic to the kids growing up today. It’s up to us all to save the world, and we’re more than just a statistic, number, or assigned currency.
I think G. Willow Wilson has a strong voice in her scripting, and her Ms. Marvel is every bit Kamala Khan and vice versa. In the past 11 issues, we’ve seen a teenager become a superhero as much in her heart as her physical abilities. Ms. Marvel’s powers aren’t a cheat-code as much as they’re tools. She doesn’t rush in, win the day, and move on. Instead, she has to rely on her wits, push forward with the extent of her talents, and maintain a tenacious desire to see things turn out right. We can all relate to that.
Wilson also throws in humorous tidbits of geekery here and there — after Khan takes over the guard-bot, she tells the Inventor, “You are going down, birdy guy. All your bots are belong to us.” It comes across natural and as a surprise, but it’s appropriate and fitting for who Kamala is.
And huge props to Wilson for not going there with the police department. With all that’s taking place in the real world, we don’t need a comic story where the main character can’t get along with the law. I’m glad that both sides are amicable and supportive of each other, and the arc ends peacefully for the most part.
I’ve loved the Ms. Marvel series, and I’m afraid of the coming Marvel changes — I hope this title continues with its current creative team, and that the crossover doesn’t disrupt the chemistry in place.
I would really miss Adrian Alphona’s artwork along with Ian Herring’s colors. The artwork for the series has been gorgeous, and there’s something to be said of Alphona’s character designs. Kamala isn’t a typical superhero with an enhanced body, yet there’s a beauty here that captures her emotional brilliance. Ms. Marvel is a comic about a teenager coming to terms with her own place in the world, and it’s been a treat to see the panels filled with active expressions that range from humor to devastation. And where Alphona’s artwork gives us the beautiful outlines, Herring’s colors fill the panels with exuberance and wonder.
Even with the Inventor gone, we know there’s an even greater threat, for who invents the Inventor? I don’t know whether Secret Wars will be a huge wall or a bridge for Ms. Marvel’s future a few months from now. It would be a tragedy to lose something so reminiscent of those golden age comics — a book that inspires and exhorts its readers to reach higher, think of others, and fight for justice.
Ms. Marvel #11 (2014)
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Words: G. Willow Wilson
Art: Adrian Alphona
Colors: Ian Herring
Letters: Joe Caramagna