Ms. Marvel 15 (July 2015)

Ms. Marvel #15

Okay, what is Wilson doing?

She knows where the story beats are for this issue but she doesn’t hit them. Kamala gets her first broken heart. Wilson gives it the last page and less emphasis than a string of Star Trek and Star Wars references. After a big gamer reference.

Did Marvel’s market research come back on Ms. Marvel or something? Because it’s darned frustrating considering the rest of the issue is pretty good stuff. There’s an amusing “real world” products in the comic book context with Bruno using Siri and Kamala’s phone being better than anything James Bond had in the sixties and maybe seventies. Wilson’s got the chops to do something amazing and, every time something significant comes up, she goes for the cheap shot.

And the overall plotting is getting stretched.

Ms. Marvel’s still an exceptionally likable comic, Wilson’s just making it more likable than exceptional lately.

CREDITS

Crushed, Part Three; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Takeshi Miyazawa; colorist, Ian Herring; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Charles Beacham and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ms. Marvel 14 (June 2015)

Ms. Marvel #14

When I started reading this issue of Ms. Marvel, all I could think was, “I hope Wilson doesn’t make Kamala’s ‘too good to be true’ love interest too good to be true.” Because lumping Kamala in with all the other teen superheroes who’ve fallen for someone they shouldn’t have? I hoped, pointlessly as it turns out, Wilson wouldn’t go down that path.

But I never expected her to do it in one issue. Especially not an issue where she finally turned the brother into a full character (he and Bruno have “the talk”). It sends a really odd message about Kamala actually not being able to think for herself, which I’m sure isn’t Wilson’s goal but it’s definitely what happens.

Miyazawa’s artwork is lovely this issue. Not perfect, but lovely. It’s idyllic, New York trash on the streets romance. It’s a shame Wilson went with the norm and chucked it.

CREDITS

Crushed, Part Two; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Takeshi Miyazawa; colorist, Ian Herring; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Charles Beacham and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ms. Marvel 13 (May 2015)

Ms. Marvel #13

Takeshi Miyazawa’s art changes Ms. Marvel. Along with the family emphasis this issue–Kamala spending time with them instead of her friends at school–it nearly feels like a different comic. Miyazawa is action-oriented and less detailed than the comic’s usual artists; the experience is different.

Even Wilson’s writing feels a little different, as she’s telling a story about Kamala having a crush on an older guy from her perspective (complete with her family being concerned).

Not to mention there are now so many Inhumans everywhere it’s like Marvel got worried about “The Flash” TV show being able to create a new supervillain every week and had to do the same thing themselves.

Unfortunately, that aspect of the comic–the big, somewhat boring supervillain fight–is where Wilson loses track of her story. The texture is gone. It’s a fine issue, it just ends a little out of step.

CREDITS

Crushed, Part One; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Takeshi Miyazawa; colorists, Ian Herring and Irma Knivila; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Charles Beacham, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ms. Marvel 12 (May 2015)

Ms. Marvel #12

It’s an extremely impressive issue of Ms. Marvel from Wilson. Loki–the good version of Loki–guest-stars and gets involved with the life of Bruno and, through Bruno, Kamala, and through Kamala and Bruno, Ms. Marvel. It’s a classic Spider-Man coincidence but Wilson adorns it just right and homages with a great creativity.

There’s also the guest art from Elmo Bondoc. Bondoc’s art is outstanding, but thanks to Ian Herring’s gentle colors. Almost watercolor-y.

This issue of Ms. Marvel is where the series has arrived and achieved. It’s a Marvel comic, done with this not-Marvel art style, about a non-Marvel style hero; the art perfectly matches the story. But it’s not Marvel formula. It’s Wilson and her editors doing something really amazing with Ms. Marvel.

The last time Marvel was this cool was on The Mighty Thor. It’s been way too long between the two.

CREDITS

Loki in Love; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Elmo Bondoc; colorist, Ian Herring; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Charles Beacham, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ms. Marvel 11 (April 2015)

Ms. Marvel #11

Wilson wraps up this Ms. Marvel arc rather nicely. In fact, she finally does what I said Ms. Marvel should’ve done issues ago–she calls the cops. Not sure why she couldn’t call Wolverine, who’d be guest star value (oh, wait, I heard he’s dead), but still… calling for help’s a good move.

Alphona has some great art moments at the end of the issue. The art’s fine–even if the action scenes are confusing and not particularly rewarding–but the art at the end on all the characters (there are about two dozen roaming around) is great. There’s a lot of personality to that scene.

And the comic’s got personality too. Wilson’s final speeches for Kamala are a little much, but they’re sincere as far as the character goes.

The story arc ends with a big bang, but not much character development. Ms. Marvel is a sturdy comic book.

CREDITS

Generation Why, Part Four; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Adrian Alphona; colorist, Ian Herring; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ms. Marvel 10 (February 2015)

Ms. Marvel #10

In some ways, the more rushed Alphona gets on the art, the better the art gets. The energy in the rushing moves the comic along. Wilson goes for inspirational superhero talk quite a few times this issue, which drags it out. And it’s good she drags it out, because the story consists of a fight scene and the aftermath. Not a long time.

What’s so shocking about the issue is how traditional it gets. It’s a nice, solid Marvel superhero book. Wilson has gotten Ms. Marvel, after ten issues, to a comfortable point where she has enough built-up character to not worry about big steps in character development. Here, Kamala just gets to apply her knowledge, knowledge the reader knows about at this point so there’s not a lot of exposition related to. It.

Wilson and Alphona also the sell the heavily foreshadowed ending, but still comes off affecting.

B+ 

CREDITS

Generation Why, Part Three; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Adrian Alphona; colorist, Ian Herring; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ms. Marvel 9 (December 2014)

Ms. Marvel #9

It’s secret origin of Kamala Khan time. Does she particularly need a secret origin? Maybe. But the way Wilson brings in the Inhumans–they’re not quite deus ex machina, but they’re a very convienient way to tie Ms. Marvel into big Marvel publishing events–doesn’t take advantage of anything.

Wilson literally beams Kamala, her admirer and Lockjaw over to Inhuman City for a quick expository scene with some decent Star Wars jokes. Much better than the Star Wars joke later in the issue, when Kamala returns to her nemesis’s hideout to free the kids. It’s a messy scene, leading to a pat cliffhanger. Wilson doesn’t have the issue plotted well at all.

Worse, Alphona’s artwork doesn’t work out–not in the opening cliffhanger resolution at the high school and not later when Kamala’s talking to her parents. The panels are too busy, too full.

It’s fine, but definitely not standout.

B 

CREDITS

Generation Why, Part Two; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Adrian Alphona; colorist, Ian Herring; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ms. Marvel 8 (November 2014)

Ms. Marvel #8

Alphona is back on the art, which explains the awkwardness of the action scenes. Alphona goes crazy with the settings–this time an abandoned factory setting–and that detail distracts from the action. It's hard to discern foreground from background.

But Alphona returning does make Kamala and company seem very familiar; it's only eight issues in and it feels a little retro.

Kamala gains a friend in Lockjaw. Wilson might be using him too much as a comedy prop, but it's cute enough. The problem with the issue is the ending; everything up until the cliffhanger works out fine but the cliffhanger has Kamala's powers failing her in a crisis situation (a giant robot attacking her at school).

Of course they're going to fail her at just that moment, when else would they? Powers always have to fail at the most dramatic moment otherwise the plotting would have to be more compelling.

B 

CREDITS

Generation Why, Part One; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Adrian Alphona; colorist, Ian Herring; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ms. Marvel 7 (October 2014)

Ms. Marvel #7

Events take a somewhat predictable turn in the finish, where Wilson reveals not just how Kamala got her powers–which perhaps more up to date Marvel Comics readers also figured out–but also how she’s part of the bigger world. Wilson goes from having a Wolverine cameo to dragging Kamala into the greater Marvel Universe.

It’s only an issue if it overshadows the organic character development–which does get a couple boosts this issue thanks to Wolverine’s presence. It’s impossible to anticipate how Wilson will handle it, because Ms. Marvel is actually a rather odd book and Wilson’s an odd superhero writer.

Great bit where Wolverine’s grossed out with Kamala’s stretchy, growing powers too.

Wyatt’s art continues to be a good fit for the book. He’s not detail heavy, but he handles the various complicated action sequences well.

It’s a rather good issue until the awkward finish. Lots of banter, lots of action.

B+ 

CREDITS

Healing Factor, Part Two; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Jacob Wyatt; colorist, Ian Henning; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ms. Marvel 6 (September 2014)

Ms. Marvel #6

New artist Jacob Wyatt comes in just in time for Wilson to find–or find again–Ms. Marvel’s awesome.

Wilson doesn’t appear to be changing anything to right the series’s course, she’s just explaining the things needing explaining and bringing back the unpredictability of the comic. Having unpredictable events in Kamala’s superhero life means having Wolverine guest star, which isn’t a big deal. Unpredictable events in superhero stories are the norm.

But unpredictable events in Kamala’s regular life–and there’s a big one this issue—are really cool and they ground the comic. It needs some grounding given the oddness of the powers, though Wyatt’s art helps with that aspect too.

Wilson also balances the superhero and regular better here. There’s a commercial factor to Ms. Marvel and it needs embracing, not avoiding.

Also–the villain. Wilson redeems him with a combination of logic and humor.

It’s great comics.

A 

CREDITS

Healing Factor; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Jacob Wyatt; colorist, Ian Henning; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ms. Marvel 5 (August 2014)

Ms. Marvel #5

It’s not often I’m reading a superhero comic and think, why don’t they just call the cops, but really… they should have just called the cops.

There’s a kidnapped teenager and house full of deadly robots. You can call the cops on that one. They may just call the Avengers, but you can call the cops. Instead there’s a montage where Kamala trains to save the kidnapped teen. Wilson doesn’t specify how long it takes, but it seems like at least two or three days.

During those two or three days, she’s grounded, which Wilson never talks about once quickly establishing it and the kid could be killed too.

It’s lazy plotting. Wilson’s going for cool sequences instead of a solid plot. And the ending, featuring the reveal of the villain, is an awkward one. Either the villain’s goofy or just looks dumb.

Still, it’s fine–Kamala’s a great protagonist.

B 

CREDITS

Urban Legend; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Adrian Alphona; colorist, Ian Henning; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ms. Marvel 4 (July 2014)

Ms. Marvel #4

Well, this issue definitely delineates Wilson’s strengths when it comes to writing scenes. The opening where Kamala reveals her secret identity to Bruno is a fantastic, long scene. Wilson gets to do all the “I’m a superhero now” exposition and brainstorming about a costume amidst a sincere scene between two friends.

Then there’s a comic ending to the whole thing when the cops show up.

And the scenes with Kamala’s mom are good, even though it ends way too quick because Wilson has to move things along to the big action scene. The big action scene is where there are problems.

Ms. Marvel fights little evil robots in a crappy beach house while trying to save a high school classmate. Why are their evil robots? Who cares, it’s a terrible idea. Wilson’s clearly having a problem finding her awesome protagonist superhero adventures.

There’s a disconnect and the heroics feel forced.

B 

CREDITS

Past Curfew; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Adrian Alphona; colorist, Ian Henning; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ms. Marvel 3 (June 2014)

Ms. Marvel #3

Wilson does some really cool stuff this issue–having Kamala not just deal with the possibilities of her superpowers, but also what the ability to shape shift means for her identity–but she also gets way too after school special melodramatic. She’s mixing too many subplots together.

And she goes for a really cheap hard cliffhanger. It’s an effective one, sure, but in a cheap way, especially given all the complicated connotations of it given the overdone subplot combination.

Alphona’s art is particularly good this issue, something I don’t want to forget to mention either. The superhero stuff almost feels like a dream. Ms. Marvel is definitely not the standard Marvel comic.

What Wilson does best, at least for this issue, is give her plot gravitas while focusing on Kamala. One really sees the story from her perspective, even when there are diversions with other cast.

It’s just too complicated.

B 

CREDITS

Side Entrance; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Adrian Alphona; colorist, Ian Henning; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ms. Marvel 2 (May 2014)

Ms. Marvel #2

I remember worrying about whether or not Wilson would be able to maintain the first issue’s level of quality as Ms. Marvel went on. Apparently I didn’t need to concern myself, because not only is the second issue just as good, Wilson starts to show her hand.

First up, the superhero alter ego is going to be more important to the protagonist than to anyone else. I can’t imagine how Wilson will deal with a crossover. Second, the family and friends aspect is going to continue to be where Wilson gets the majority of the drama. In some ways, it’s not a very Marvel comic, but in others… it’s very much one.

There’s some excellent art from Alphona too. The setting has to be mysterious, familiar and contained all at once. Then the second half is (good) family comedy. Alphona handles both styles equally well.

Wilson and Alphona have Marvel covered.

A 

CREDITS

All Mankind; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Adrian Alphona; colorist, Ian Henning; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ms. Marvel 1 (April 2014)

Ms. Marvel #1

Finally. And it’s a Marvel book–insert Jeanette Kahn doesn’t work here anymore jokes about DC here. But someone finally did a superhero book aimed at teenage girls without being exploitative or objectifying the protagonist.

I wonder if Jeph Loeb read it and thought, “But she really needed to kiss that other girl!”

Sadly, it’s way too soon to say if Captain Marvel is going to be good. It’s not going to be full of crap, not with G. Willow Wilson writing it, but Wilson’s basically writing a funny drama here. The family stuff is awesome, for example. The teenager stuff is decent; really strong in passive scenes, somewhat tipsy in active ones.

Very nice art from Adrian Alphona too–it’s simultaneously wistful and humorous. Still, there’s no danger in it, which might get to be a problem.

Wilson’s apparently going to be very ambitious. I hope it works out.

A- 

CREDITS

Meta Morphosis; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Adrian Alphona; colorist, Ian Henning; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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