C.R.A.D.L.E. is in town and looking for Amulet. Thinking to distract them, instead Ms. Marvel finds herself on a completely different adventure. Find out more in The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #16 from Marvel Comics!

THE MAGNIFICENT MS. MARVEL #16

Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Minkyu Jung
Colorist: Ian Herring
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Alanna Smith
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 11, 2020

Previously in The Magnificent Ms. Marvel: As if Kamala’s life weren’t complicated enough, she has unwittingly become the face of a movement to ban underage superheroes. The law that bears her name has led to the government-sponsored task force C.R.A.D.L.E. which now is hunting her as Ms. Marvel! As she struggles to recover from her injuries and keep up with her schoolwork, she just cannot resist continuing to be a hero.

LETTING OFF A LITTLE STEAM

The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #16 opens at breakfast as Kamala finds herself inadvertently in the center of an argument between her parents centered around whether or not Ms. Marvel is dangerous. The new story of her life has intruded upon her at home. And there is something so human, so identifiable in this argument that then wanders on to whether newspapers or television are the better source of news. And all Kamala wants is to eat her breakfast in peace.

That afternoon she finally gets a chance to hang out with her friends. Or some of her friends. She and Zoe have been fighting over Kamala’s Law, and Bruno has to go off and meet with another friend, and Mike seems to be avoiding her. She goes – alone – to a local juice bar where she will at least have the peace and quiet to do her homework.

But no sooner does she unpack her laptop when three people from C.R.A.D.L.E. march in through the door. Instinctively, she goes through her mental checklist of how to fight them, but they aren’t here for her. They are looking for Amulet. The owner of the juice bar, a man of color, was a law student and questions their paperwork. They threaten him with arrest, and the young customers crowd around, telling C.R.A.D.L.E. to back off and filming. This really strikes a chord in today’s world.

Kamala sneaks out the back door and changes, hoping to be a distraction, and almost immediately bumps into Amulet. He had come here because of C.R.A.D.L.E., but he gets a mystical message from his grandmother that there is a Ghul in the area. The backstory for this is so flavorful. Amulet comes from a family who has been tracking the Thousand Cursed Things – objects filled with the spirits of monsters. And this Ghul is one of them. He asks Ms. Marvel if she could help him.

Amulet directs them to an abandoned train station where they find the Ghul. Ms. Marvel is in a mood to hit things, so punch it she does, but it just won’t go down. Amulet figures out that its Cursed Thing is the necklace it’s wearing. If Ms. Marvel could hold the creature still, he could destroy the necklace. It takes some doing, but when the dust settles, the Ghul is gone and the independent old lady it was possessing is left behind, somewhat confused. They tell her what happened, and she accuses them of having gone goofy, grabs her cane, and heads for home. I enjoyed that little ending of the battle so much.

Finally Kamala gets to let off some steam, make a new friend, and have something go her way. But how long will it be until C.R.A.D.L.E. comes after her again?

A CREATURE OF A DIFFERENT SORT

The art of The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #16 is lovely to look at and it is full of wonderful moments. In the opening scene, Kamala, not unusually for a teenager, looks not entirely awake yet and not ready for the argument around her. She asks her parents to please pass the roti, and it doesn’t even register with them. Kamala’s eyes look so world weary.

Amulet is Arab-American and here we get to see that his powers are magical. That’s how he can track the Ghul. But this also gives the creative team some interesting material to draw upon in bringing the Ghul to life. It is a ferocious, wiry, red-skinned humanoid with claws, fangs, and horns. Not only is it tough in a physical fight, but it can breathe fire. This makes for quite a tangle of a fight where Kamala has to use her stretching powers against its flexibility to try to keep it still.

BOTTOM LINE: YOUTH AND ENTHUSIASM

The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #16 is bright and energetic. This issue is a tidy adventure on its own, but it breezily fills you in on the backstory and hints at the larger surrounding plot. Amulet is a fascinating new character who brings a lot of fun to the table.


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The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #16

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Instead of another fight with C.R.A.D.L.E., Kamala gets in some good, old-fashioned monster bashing.

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By day, she’s a mild-mannered bureaucrat and Ms. Know-It-All. By night, she’s a dance teacher and RPG player (although admittedly not on the same nights). On the weekends, she may be found judging Magic, playing Guild Wars 2 (badly), or following other creative pursuits. Holy Lack of Copious Free Time, Batman! While she’s always wished she had teleportation as her superpower, she suspects that super-speed would be much more practical because then she’d have time to finish up those steampunk costumes she’s also working on.

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