Last issue, Wolverine brought Medusa news of Kamala’s existence, prompting the queen of the Inhumans to send Lockjaw to keep an eye on her. While New Jersey reacts to a giant alien bulldog with appropriate fear, Kamala immediately adopts Lockjaw and persuades her parents to let her keep him.
And with her personal war against The Inventor escalating, Lockjaw couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s hard enough for a non-superpowered teen to sneak out at night, and Kamala needs a way to escape the limits of space and time if she’s going to moonlight as a superhero while obeying her parents wishes — or create the semblance that she is.
Khan gets a lead after using a previously kidnapped teen’s social media to discover a frequently visited spot. After suiting up, Kamala and Lockjaw storm the abandoned power plant and take on a giant mech. Kamala headbutts the robot into submission, revealing its power source — another missing teen that’s crossed paths with Kamala before.
The familiar teen faints but not before he demands Kamala stop from unhooking him from the robot. Khan drops him off at the hospital and huffs it to school with a stowaway in her bag. Another one of the Inventor’s mechs comes crashing into the school, and Khan receives a wound that, without her powers, would have killed her.
The issue ends with a tense standoff between the powerless Kamala and a hulking mech ready to throw down.
On first glance, we see Adrian Alphona’s returned. There’s something about Alphona’s rendition of Kamala that gives her life. The expressions and reactions as Lockjaw comes bounding into New Jersey are wonderful, and Kamala looks about as happy to see Lockjaw as I am to once again review Alphona’s visuals.
One of Alphona’s strengths that I haven’t touched on in previous reviews is his ability to fill out his panels with details we might overlook. Take, for example, the screws on the various robots along with the swiveling joints. While we don’t need to know exactly how the Inventor’s robots work, the extra details, mechanics, and technological innards of his creations build up the character because we see a bit of the method to his madness. Alphona takes none of these things for granted, and it adds a meaty layer to a very deep title.
Ian Herring on colors also gets a boost because of the various textures Alphona uses. Fencing, rubble, fur, and skin — the colors pop with appropriate contrasts and subtle shades. It’s great work.
Writer G. Willow Wilson’s pacing on the issue is snappy, and we go from scene to scene without missing a beat. I really enjoyed how Bruno has become a sort of Oracle to Kamala’s Ms. Marvel, and Wilson’s inclusion of Lockjaw into the mix doesn’t result in automatic winning. During the junkyard brawl, it’s Kamala that pulls off the victory after Lockjaw gets smashed.
Issue after issue, Ms. Marvel continues to rock, and I’m glad Wilson didn’t end the first story-arc with a simple meet and beat. Ms. Marvel needs an arch-villain, and instead of giving her training wheels with a familiar B-level villain who gets dispatched and tossed away, we get a measured conflict that’s appropriate. This isn’t so much about world domination as it is a localized and immediate threat, and the title’s better for it because of the more personal approach.
That the last act mirrors some of the newsbreaking stories involving crimes on campus makes this issue a pertinent one that proves Wilson isn’t writing with kid gloves on. Again, I’m looking forward to the next issue — make mine, Ms. Marvel.