It’s hard to be a superhero and a regular teenager.
Doing it with a broken heart is damn near impossible… Your Major Spoilers review of Ms. Marvel #16 awaits!
Previously in Ms. Marvel: “After a strange Terrigen mist descended upon Jersey City, Kamala Khan got polymorph powers and became the all-new Ms. Marvel. With strict parents on her case, her best friend Bruno by her side, and a who lot of weird (like, ‘Loki-came-to-the-school-dance’ weird) ensnaring Jersey City, Kamala soon realized that being a superhero is… complicated. But when her crush, an Inhuman named Kamran, turned out to be a kidnapping liar, Kamala learned that balancing it all with a broken heart…
Well, that’s just downright hard.”
A BROKEN HEART FEELS LIKE THE END OF THE WORLD…
Every time I think this book can’t get any more adorable, Wilson and Alphona (and company) surprise the heck out of me. We open with the classic “broken-hearted hero at the bar talking about her feelings” scene but, since Kamala is only 16, it’s a hot dog cart. And the vendor isn’t particularly interested in his teenage customer’s tales of woe. Also, three Doom Dogs may be one Doom Dog too many, even for an Inhuman superhero. It’s a really funny/touching sequence, leading into blind panic by everyone else in the city, thanks to the arrival of Earth-1610 in the skies over Manhattan. Taking care to try to help panicked civilians and stop looters, Ms. Marvel makes her way home to check on her family (which is a wonderful touch that shows off how loving and human she is, powers or no powers), but quickly finds that her jerkface Inhuman-supremicist ex-boyfriend has beaten her home. There’s a tense confrontation (with troubling implications about her brother Aamir) after which Ms. Marvel has to once again take to the streets, trying to lead her friends and family to the reinforced shelter of her high-school gymnasium for safety during the crisis.
…UNTIL THE ACTUAL END OF THE WORLD
Every page of the this book is wonderful, from Kamala’s ingenious use of her powers to “walk” on water, to the way her friends and classmates come together in the crisis, including a little magical assist from Loki of the Young Avengers. With doom on the horizon (literally and figuratively, he said significantly) and her entire world gathered in the gym to weather what may be the literal apocalypse, Ms. Marvel is overcome by her responsibilities and rushes to the roof… where she meets her idol at last. “Nice costume,” says Captain Marvel, surveying the city. “Still not sure how I feel about the name.” Kamala’s face at that moment, a combination of fear, shock and surprise, is utterly beautiful, as is all the art in the issue. Wilson’s script manages to make a teenage broken heart feel as important as the literal end of the Marvel Universe (although, to be frank, given the frequency of world-ending threats in the 616, there’s precedent here) and make the humans of Jersey City the focus of the issue, reminding us that even if Secret Wars comes later, there’s a human cost to the ongoing fighty-fighty that the heroes face every month, and ending with the tantalizing promise of Marvel/Marvel team-up action.
THE BOTTOM LINE: THAT LAST PAGE… WHOA
I’m a sucker for Ms. Marvel since her very first appearance, but you have to believe me when I tell you this issue is a special one. With intense personal moments for Kamala, some awesome bits from the supporting cast, and Captain Marvel’s cameo, it’s one of the best books of the week for me. Ms. Marvel #16 is a winner, emotionally touching and well-drawn, made even more compelling by the fact that (spoilers) the world actually will have been destroyed at the end of the conflict, leaving us with 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. With the knowledge that Kamala will soon be joining the Avengers and Captain Marvel finally in her life, Ms. Marvel is about to hit the superhero big time, and you should really pick up her book so you can say you were there before she was the Next Big Thing…