As a superhero fangirl, Ms. Marvel is understandably psyched to meet Wolverine, one of the most iconic heroes of our age. Of course, the fact that he’s lost his healing factor and is slowing dying to death, which does mute her excitement just a tad. Also, they’re about to be eaten by an alligator… Your Major Spoilers review of Ms. Marvel #7 awaits!
Previously in Ms. Marvel: Transformed by Terrigen Mists during an Inhuman conflict in Manhattan, Kamala Khan has taken up the mantle of one of her favorite superheroes, Ms. Marvel. With her new transformational powers, Ms. Marvel is now one of the superheroes she has long idolized. As with any job, there are a number of milestones that any young Marvel superhero has to go through, such as the team-up with an established hero… Enter The Wolverine!
GIANT MUTATED SEWER ALLIGATORS
Okay, before we get too far into this, let me get it out of the way up-front: I’m a huge mark for this book. I love teen heroes in concept, and the idea of a smart teen hero trying to figure out both the world of adulthood and the world of the Marvel Universe is a proven winner, dating back to Spider-Man, at least. This issue opens with Ms. Marvel and Wolverine in mortal combat (which is actually not spelled with a “K”, not matter what my custom spellcheck settings seem to imply) with a giant mutated sewer alligator, and the loss of his healing factor, thanks to events in his own titles, makes the fight more difficult than usual. Unlike many superhero-on-lizard slugfests, this one is full of ‘teacher/student’ vibes, as Ms. Marvel cleverly figures out how to fight the creature with her unique look and abilities. Wolverine gets in the killing blow on the monster, leading to one of the best moments in the issue (if not in recent comics history), as Kamala laments that they had to hurt the creature to win. Wolverine, in full zen philosopher mode, explains to her that the hurt is just the circle of life in action, and that the majority of the time, it’s the HERO who ends up taking the shots, making for a great use of Wolverine’s established characterization and also bringing home the concept that his powers are really gone.
Jacob Wyatt does wonderful work with the art on this book, in what I *think* is just a guest stint for regular penciler Adrian Alphona, especially a Will Eisner-inspired page wherein the two heroes climb to the surface through a complex maze of sewer tunnels and ladders, all the while discussing her legacy as Ms. Marvel. Kamala makes a wonderful case for herself, telling Wolverine that she became Ms. Marvel, and is slowly coming to realize that Ms. Marvel can be HER, while the X-Man warns her to be careful about what she tells herself behind the mask. The issue is a great one for both characters, expanding her personality and power set, deepening the drama of his slow death storyline, and even setting up a giant plot point when she reveals that she got her powers from the Terrigen Bomb. At issue’s end, we find Queen Medusa of the Inhumans and Captain America discussing Kamala’s situation, and both agree that she’s something special. Rather than bring her into the fold as an Inhuman student or trainee Avenger, the decide to send a trusted Inhuman to keep an eye on her: Lockjaw. I am gleefully awaiting the “SQUEEE!” when Kamala meets the big lug…
THE BOTTOM LINE: LIKEABLE HERO, LIKEABLE BOOK
G. Willow Wilson has clearly created something special with this hero, with her unique and kind of gross powers (even Wolverine admits that he’s a little freaked out by her abilities) and unique mindset and background. My great fear with Ms. Marvel is that someone down the road is going to try to make her “cooler” by changing the nature of her powers to be less uncanny and weird, making her just another Stature or Morph. Still, that’s a vague worry for another day, because Ms. Marvel #7 is still hitting all the right notes for me, with excellent writing and character, fun manga-influenced art, a judicious and thoughtful use of guest star and some perfect moments for our hero, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. When the characters in the book make the difficult case, in-character, that the lead hero is totally super-special, you guys, and you totally AGREE with that assessment? You know you’ve got a good book on your hands…