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Ms. Marvel #29 Review

by Charles Martin on April 18, 2018

Ms. Marvel #29 Review
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Nico Leon
Colourist: Ian Herring
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The Marvel universe is an amazing place. Over on that end of the shelf, you can read about the Guardians of the Galaxy on a cosmic quest to save all of existence. Down on the Ms. Marvel end, we face drama on a smaller stage: Kamala likes this boy, and this other boy, and what is she gonna do about it?

The brilliance of Ms. Marvel, of course, is that she makes the latter problem every bit as dramatic and engaging as the former. More, in fact. If you wanna tell me Kamala's relationship woes are less interesting than the latest Infinity Whatever, let's just go and fight in the parking lot right now.

I tried to be Mr. Objective Reviewer, I really did. I toted up the bungled faces (Two? Three? Certainly no more than three.) and noted the narrative caption that felt out of place. (If the story is going to stay in the Circle Q for another page, why make it look like Kamala is taking the point of view with her when she leaves?)

But by the time The Big Thing Happened and the romantic plots really started tangling, I was experiencing a physical twisting in my gut that said, "this is incredibly good and incredibly important and absolutely unmissable."

At the end of the day, my reading notes contained four "oh my Gods," one "good Lord," and a bonafide "holy ☠☠☠☠."

Ms. Marvel #29 is the 48th solo issue starring Kamala Khan. If you've followed along through all of them? If this is your 48th issue and you've come to love Kamala? If she's ya girl, your Pride of Jersey City, your Desi idol, your guiding light in the Marvel universe? If G. Willow Wilson and Ian Herring and Sana Amanat and all their superstar art collaborators have made you care about this brave, daring, smart young Pakistani-American polymorph and all the challenges she's overcome?

You. Cannot. Miss. This. Comic.

This is, in my opinion, the ideal place for G. Willow Wilson to take the series. The last few arcs left me unfulfilled with their coy dancing around the outskirts of Kamala's emotions. Ms. Wilson's latest script sinks straight to the core of Kamala's character and unearths huge unresolved feelings. Thanks to this issue's plot developments, Kamala is going to have to face those feelings down and make a gigantic choice. This arc is not going to end with baby steps; Kamala and her relationships are going to be fundamentally different after this. 

Ms. Wilson isn't upsetting the status quo arbitrarily or toying with our emotions here. She's doing what she's always done: Presenting Kamala with enormous challenges and making us love the character for her brave, thoughtful responses to them. This particular set of challenges is intensely personal; that just makes it easier to get invested in how Kamala faces them.

Nico Leon bolsters this drama with outstanding visuals. He is at his very best when the frame gets crowded, and the most appealing art in the issue probably comes when the whole Coles Academic gang reunites in front of the school. Intense emotions for the prime players, but no shortage of subtextual subtleties tucked into the backgrounds.

But there are quiet bits of fun and brilliance in the less-busy panels, too! Look for the pigeon getting tangled in Kamala's scarf when she puts on the Ms. Marvel uniform. Marvellous!

As ever, Jersey City is truly brought to life by Ian Herring's palette. Mr. Leon has become a "regular" Ms. Marvel artist, but Ian Herring's beautiful colours are still the rock upon which her distinctive look is founded. This issue is especially diverse, and the colours evoke everything from the intense warmth of happy families to the chill of existential dread.

This is such a special journey that I'm trying to be extra super vigilant about spoilers. Can I vaguely mention how glorious Sheikh Abdullah's role is? Sure. Can I testify to the hilarity of Bruno's Wakandan roommate Kwezi treating a trip to Jersey City as a chance to experience "the rich culture of a developing nation?" Undoubtedly. Can I verify that there's a Mystery Mean Girl arriving to lend the issue a touch of non-romantic conflict? Done and done. But when it comes to the core character developments that will make you gasp and cheer and sniffle? You're just gonna have to read the book to get those.

Kamala Khan has always been easy to fall in love with. If the past 47 issues have done the trick and turned you into an adoring follower, this latest piece of her story is positively unmissable. Ms. Marvel #29 is a beautiful journey into the briar patch of love, and every step is going to be rewarding for Kamala fans. Some might be painful, but you will be delighted to have made the trip.

Our Score:

10/10

A Look Inside

Comments

Charles Martin's picture
As an EWR frequent flyer, I can testify to the fact that Nico Leon's "wretched hive of scum and villainy" portrayal of the Newark airport is spot-on.