I was a pretty big fan of the first Ms. Marvel starring Kamala Khan, but it seems now that Wilson has Kamala’s origin story out of the way, it’s really just time to have some fun. I LOVED this. Kamala is adorable. I love her stupid face. She’s sweet and funny and enthusiastic and deadpan and so determined.
A lot of it is that Kamala is so young. She’s only sixteen and full of notions about what a superhero should be. She’s still learning her powers, which are largely untested, but bad guys are coming at her anyway, and she feels obligated to meet them face to face. She’s also still in the process of learning what kind of superhero she wants to be. There’s this lovely scene where Kamala is called in by her imam because her parents are worried about her, sneaking in and out of the house and hiding things from them, but instead of a lecture, when she tells him she’s keeping secrets because it’s the right thing to do, he actually gives her helpful advice and doesn’t tell her to stop disobeying her parents. He simply tells her that if she’s going to continue in her behavior, to make sure she’s being the best version of herself that she can be. He also suggests she seek out a teacher of some sort, but we’ll get back to that later.
We got a hint of Kamala’s new nemesis The Inventor at the end of the first volume, but here he’s front and center. And he turns out to be a bird. Well, not really. Actually what he is is a clone of Thomas Edison who got contaminated by cockatiel DNA while he was growing in his little clone vat. He even has giant bird claw hands. First of all, I can’t even express to you how happy it makes me that Thomas Edison is a bad guy here. And even if I didn’t know the historical context, I still really dig this bird as a villain. There’s just something about the way he talks and the things he cares (coughcoughinferioritycomplexcoughcough) about that is simultaneously funny and terrifying. He’s not a mondo-level supervillain or anything, but he’s still a real danger, so he’s a good first test of Kamala’s powers.
The Inventor is also ultimately responsible for one of the greatest superhero meet-ups of all time, and that is Kamala Khan and Wolverine. They have SUCH a good dynamic. She’s such a fangirl, but she’s also really competent herself, and her youth and invulnerability make a good contrast to Wolverine’s tired veteran persona, especially now that he’s SPOILER lost his healing factor and Kamala actually has to save his butt at one point END SPOILER. The Wolverine meet-up issues had a different artist than most of this volume (and volume one) but I really liked the aesthetic of it, even if I did miss the way that Adrian Alphona draws Kamala’s face.
She has some really kick-ass moments in this book, and they only made her more likeable for me. I also really really liked her interactions with all the other characters: her friend who knows her secret (whose name I am forgetting . . . is it Bruno?), her first meet-up with the Inhumans (she’d been thinking she was a mutant), and her interactions with all the teenagers she saves by the end of the book. I can see why people would be a little bit off-put by the on-the-nose message of this about young people not being a waste, but I didn’t mind it all. It felt like the kind of thing Kamala would say, being a teenager herself, and struggling all day every day not to be discounted for it. Ooh! Ooh! And I almost forgot! She gets a dog in this one! An alien dog that’s huuuuge and has teleportation powers.
Also, she really hits the bird with some top shelf insults. This panel made me spit iced tea in a restaurant.
I can’t wait for volume three.