Laura McCarthy reviews Ms. Marvel #5…
How does a young girl from Jersey City become the next biggest super hero? •Kamala has no idea either. But she’s comin’ for you, New York.
So it’s come to this, folks, the penultimate chapter is Kamala Kahn’s first story as Ms. Marvel. Where do we find ourselves.
Compared to the last four issues, a lot happens here. Some of it is a little strange and confusing, but the story seems to have finally picked up some speed. Kamala gets into her first fight, and loses in the most realistic way possible. Her rescue mission turns into an absolute failure and she is caught sneaking back into the house by her parents. After a touching scene between Kamala and her father, she pursues with a renewed vigor – which includes a training session with Bruno (which apparently lasts only one day, the passage of time feels a little weird here) and the final version of her costume. Her second fight goes better than the first and helps establish her place in the community. We also get our first look at the Inventor, who is apparently a large bird.
The issue gets straight to the point without beating around the bush and feels as close to a classic superhero origin as we’re going to get. As readers, we also finally get to see Kamala truly shine – especially as she realizes just how different she is when she puts on the mask compared to her every day life. Kamala Kahn is exactly the hero young girls need, she’s brave, determined, and slowly growing into a role model. She doesn’t want to be somebody else or a recreation of the classic Ms. Marvel – Kamala just wants to be the best her she can be. And that is a beautiful message.
With the female audience expanding every year (last I checked, female readers were only less than half – but I’m not sure if the poll went outside the gender binary), we need more creators that are willing to take risks and write these kinds of stories. If we can have more books like Ms. Marvel on the shelves, imagine what other great things we can accomplish.
The only qualm I have about this issue is probably the passage of time for Kamala’s training session. A lot happens over the course of a few hours. The first time I read those pages, I thought a few days had passed and I was very concerned about Vick, wondering if they were just going to leave him to die in that basement. It also looked as if there hadn’t been any clean up from the previous battle and Mr. “IMA BAD GUY” was still wearing his kick ass shirt. Personally, it was kind of confusing – but that could just be me.
As to where this book is going now that we’re finally wrapping up Kamala’s origin story: a lot of this issue actually reminded me of the pre-New 52 Blue Beetle series. During the conversation between Mr. Kahn and Kamala, I was totally convinced she was going to tell him about her recently developed powers. While I’m not holding my breath over such a thing happening, it could open quite a few doors narrative wise. The friendship between Bruno and Kamala is also reminiscent of Jaime, Brenda, and Paco. I have to wonder if G. Willow Wilson has ever read that series or draws any inspiration from it. I could be reading too much into it, but hey, I can dream.