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Ms. Marvel Vol. 3: Crushed Paperback – June 23, 2015
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Top Customer Reviews
More than any other contemporary teen character in comics, it's Kamala Khan (sorry, Miles Morales) who best recalls the 1960s Peter Parker that struck such a chord back in the day. I think, for a superhero to truly make an impact, their civilian identity has to resonate just as strongly with the readers. Kamala resonates on several levels. Not only does she represent Marvel's push for ethnic diversity, but G. Willow Wilson has done an amazing job at making her so relatable. My 9-year-old niece, who resents reading but loves Kamala, reserved the first Ms. Marvel TPB at the library, never mind that there's a month-long waiting list. Kamala Khan is a Pakistani-American teenager living in Jersey City but under a Muslim household. Yet she comes across as such a normal, typical American girl. She's a bit of an outcast and an uber-nerd - and it tickles that she writes fanfic - and insecure and trying to catch a feel for what she wants to be. And, really, that's essentially Stan Lee's Peter Parker right there, an out-of-sorts kid with amazing powers, and we can absolutely relate to what he's going thru. Same with Kamala. As a plus, we're treated to some much-needed insight into a culture that, post-911, has been kicked to the curb in these parts. But, because it's seen thru Kamala's eyes, it's all made accessible.
And what's more accessible than teen crushes? Hold up, though. Issue #12 deals with Kamala's sneaking out to crash a Valentine's Day school dance as Ms. Marvel, only to run into the mischief-making Loki, and, so, cue the mischief. Issues #13-15 is the "Crushed" arc in which Kamala thinks she's found her soulmate ('s what happens when you read too much fanfic, yo), and she gets caught up in the shady dealings in New Attilan prior to the final Inhumans issue, and sweet pop culture references are made re Stars Trek and Wars.
I won't wax rhapsodic (again) over how awesome Kamala is - we now take it for granted that, in G. Willow Wilson's hands, Kamala will remain a fully fleshed out character. What's especially fun for me in this arc is that Kamala's best friend/sidekick Bruno gets a chance to shine. I appreciate the lengths he'd go to to respond to Kamala's S.O.S. code. There's a ridiculous vibe to his sub-plot but also a concentrated intensity as he navigates the many impediments that keep him from reaching Kamala.
One tiny complaint is the absence of Adrian Alphona's delicate, cartoony art. Still, Bondoc and Miyazawa's styles lend enough whimsy and similarity to Alphona's that I settled in eventually. If there's one seriously rough patch, it's that the storyline's biggest bad, Lineage, comes off as too clichéd and melodramatic. He fits in better in those 1930s serial reels, with the mustache-twirling that he does. And, seriously, Kaboom?
As a bonus, S.H.I.E.L.D. #2 has the adorable techhead Jemma Simmons going undercover at Kamala's school... and, then, shenanigans. Also, Ms. Marvel finds a new application for her polymorphing powers. I only wish this story had given more time for Jemma and Ms. Marvel to bond.
Although G. Willow Wilson is doing an awesome job of balancing Ms. Marvel between the feel of a Marvel title and the feel of an independent comic, there is a revolving door of artists involved in the series. While all of them are beyond competent – the artwork is improving, if anything – the lack of a continuing artist and a continuing colorist has kept Ms. Marvel from having a feel of its own. Of all the coloring, I liked issue #13 the best, where veteran color artist, Ian Herring, teams up with Irma Kniivila, but the coloring didn't fit in with the rest of the collection very well. ****1/2
The art in Volume 3 is by Miyazawa and Bondoc. It isn’t quite to the level of Alphona’s art, but it’s much better than Wyatt’s art from a few of the Volume 2 issues, both on a technical level and in meshing with the existing Alphona art and Kamala Khan’s character.
The Loki crossover is as lame at first blush as the Wolverine crossover, but Wilson manages to have (a lot) more fun with it. He’s not the first hipster-viking that has veered over into Jersey City, after all. The S.H.I.E.L.D. crossover included is much more welcome, and features Kamala at her adorkable best. Both storylines, it should be noted, on centered on the school.
Volume 3 also features a much greater role for the Inhumans. I found it interesting and an intriguing thread going forward as someone whose never really been exposed to the Inhumans. I look forward to learning more; Kamala is going to do her own thing but it looks like she won’t be able to get away from the Inhumans.
But the big idea for Volume 3 is the introduction of a love interest. He seems pretty perfect at first—someone her parents like, someone she likes, and SPOILER an Inhuman himself. Alas, things go awry, as they tend to do in fiction.
This version of Ms. Marvel reminds me of MC2, Tom DeFalco's Spider Girl. I like watching new heroes face new challenges while still trying to enjoy the moment. That is what drew me to the original run or Arana as well. The first three volumes of Ms. Marvel has been a fun read so far.