Ms. Marvel #11 Review: The Saddest Comic You Will Read This Week


Ms. Marvel faces the worst crisis she has ever faced. It isn’t a villain or a disaster, but the consequences to her actions. Will she ever be the same again?

Ms. Marvel #11

Writer: G. Willow Wilson

Artists: Takeshi Miyazawa & Adrian Alphona

Colorist: Ian Herring

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Ever since Amazing Spider-Man hit the scene, superhero comics starring teens have been a metaphor for growing up. Ms. Marvel has proven to be no exception. G. Willow Wilson is not just telling the story of a Muslim-American Inhuman super heroine. She is telling the story of Kamala Khan growing up in a world which can be both dangerous and wondrous. This Civil War II tie in has proven to be a brilliant engine to propel Khan’s growth into independence and maturity.

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Kamala chose the mantle of Ms. Marvel when she got her powers due to her longtime devotion to Captain Marvel. With Carol Danvers making the case for “predictive justice,” Kamala had the chance to work alongside her for a cause. Unfortunately, this cause led to the arrest of citizens for crimes they had yet to commit, including a classmate. Her best friend (and almost lover) Bruno became gravely injured trying to put a stop to it. And one of Carol’s cadets, Becky, has gone too far.

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After a touching flashback drawn by Alphona detailing how far back Bruno goes in the Khan house, Kamala decides to make a stand. With Bruno’s life hanging by a thread, Kamala’s vowed to put an end to the program in Jersey City no matter what. This includes an alliance with local troublemaker Hijinx, a Canadian ninja (which is only absurd unless Wolverine does it). Alas, “Basic Becky” won’t give up her pseudo fascism easily, and takes the pair on with her custom battle suit.

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Things Were a Lot Easier When Kamala Fought Giant Gators!

As Kamala’s narration explains, things deteriorate from there despite her best efforts. Ms. Marvel calls in both Carol and Iron Man to deal with the situation. Once again, Carol’s earlier dismissal of Kamala furthers the wedges between them and their philosophy. Iron Man has proven surprisingly understanding to teenage superheroes lately. Perhaps he’s learned after decades of failure with the New Warriors or Young Avengers. It appears that the militaristic Captain Marvel has not.

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On the surface, Kamala prevails, although her victory appears Pyrrhic. Carol may consider her mentoring of Kamala over, but she also agreed that Becky went too far. Partnering with Hijinx led to Ms. Marvel being tainted by the idea of allying with a known felon (albeit a lessor one than Dr. Faustus). Kamala chose which side of Civil War II she stands on, and it is against her favorite super heroine. Yet the biggest consequence of all this may be the end of her friendship with Bruno.

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Bruno speaks some hard truths to Kamala here, harder even than the ones Kamala told Carol. There is a nudge on the 4th wall when Bruno mentions the hardship of being on the supporting cast of a superhero, but it works. Kamala may be the star of her own story, but her actions have consequences and not everything can go back to the way it was. Bruno may be leaving her forever, and Kamala may begin a journey of her own. It is painful and brutal, but it’s also part of growing up.

Emotional Heartache, Canadian Ninjas, This Comic Has It All!

It’s hard to squeeze in comic relief in an issue so emotionally powerful, but Hijinx fills that role. For quite a few issues since the relaunch, Kamala seemed to lack more of her own villains. She either dealt with the rogues of others or ramifications of her own zany actions. Becky proved to be a good allegory on the dangers of authoritarianism and how it can go to one’s head. In comparison, Hijinx is a fun, over-the-top super criminal (or vandal) who hopefully shows up more.

Image by Marvel Comics

As with every issue, Alphona and Miyazawa deliver on art. It has been very wise to allow both of the series regular artists to share art duties. Alphona has gotten three page flashbacks to start each issue, while Miyazawa does the rest. Alphona excels at tender emotional pieces, while Miyazawa is better able to mingle that with manga-style action sequences. The pair have different styles, yet work in near perfect tandem. Herring’s colors keep it all flowing in the same palette.

Next: Check out our review of #10

If this second volume of Ms. Marvel has had a reoccurring theme, it’s showcasing the consequences of Kamala’s actions. Her attempts to cheat her way out of juggling her social and heroic life endangered Jersey City with clones. And her failure to listen to Bruno and look past her “hero worship” of Carol sooner has cost both of them plenty. It’s hard to see a heroine so sweet suffer so much, but it’s all part of the journey. Kamala will come out stronger, and so will readers.