Ms. Marvel #17
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Adrian Alphona
I like to take chances on new books – I’m a sucker for a new #1 that introduces a new character. And, being as how I’m a DC born and bred reader, I’m also a sucker for legacy. So, when the new Ms. Marvel series debuted last year, I was excited to see what G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona had in store for Kamala Khan. I didn’t know quite what to expect – I figured that there would be heavy ties to Carol Danvers, and that her powers might reflect those ties. I hoped that it would be a fun title, but not one I held out a ton of hope for – I fully anticipated I’d read the first arc, and that would be it.
So, imagine my surprise that 17 issues later, I’m still excited about a title that I expected to be done with. Never once did I falter at the fact that Kamala Khan’s powers were different than Carol Danvers, quite the opposite, in fact. See, what Wilson and Alphona created was that rare breed of legacy that was equal parts reverent and unique – and while tonally different, Ms. Marvel is as close to DC’s incredible Starman series by James Robinson as we’re likely to get. Legacy heroes, thrust into the spotlight, and expected to be exemplary. And both are – in their own unique way.
Issue 17 continues the ridiculous hot streak that the series has been on since its debut. We finally get the interaction with Captain Marvel that people have been so desperate for (despite the book never once feeling like it was necessary to validate Kamala’s claim to the name). And with that interaction, we get one of the most feel good, buddy-cop stories that I’ve read in a long time – Kamala basks in the compliments and advice provided to her by Carol, and Carol truly admires Kamala’s enthusiasm and heroic drive. It’s an influential symbiosis that is going to serve Kamala well as the title relaunches with a new #1 following the Secret Wars event.
The story itself is driven by Kamala’s need to find her missing brother, who is seemingly being forced to undergo the Terrigenesis process to trigger his latent Inhuman abilities. This story is truly Kamala’s show – Carol is there to assist, never there to overstep and dominate the story, and Kamala in turn learns some valuable lessons as a hero. There’s some truly great moments in the issue as Kamala bargains with some masked hoodlums to have them help the sheltered citizens in the school gym, as well as a touching moment between Carol and Kamala that teaches a valuable lesson about being a hero: you can’t save everyone all the time.
There are some (very) minor pacing problems in the closing act of the story, and an unfortunate necessity to tie into the Secret Wars / Incursion event, but the book doesn’t suffer greatly from those factors. Overall, Ms. Marvel’s Kamala Khan continues to be the best everyman character of the Marvel Universe – and characters like that are a rare discovery.
Rating: 9 out of 10 stars.