G. Willow Wilson is taking it nice and slow with Ms. Marvel’s origin story, and I really think that it’s the right approach. After only 2 issues Kamala Khan feels more like a real person than most other superheroes, and that’s because more focus has been on her characterisation than just putting her in a costume and making her fight people.
The story starts off with Kamala still freaking about her transformation into Captain Marvel and whatever’s going on with this weird mist. Turning into her hero is the mere tip of the ice-berg of Kamala’s new Inhuman abilities however, as we see her turn back to normal, and then, when over-hearing the voice of her concern troll frenemy Zoe, turns back into the blonde, white Captain Marvel. It’s interesting that Kamala’s powers seem somewhat related to her state of mind. Zoe makes her feel uncomfortable about her real self, so she turns into someone more like Zoe, and after that, she even shrinks down to the size of a cockroach. Zoe, and people not understanding her culture, literally makes her feel small.
But Kamala doesn’t get to spend too much time hanging with her new roach buddy, as Zoe is accidentally dropped into the water by her drunk boyfriend. Kamala rushes in as Captain Marvel and saves her, by growing a massive hand and scooping her out of the water. This draws the attention of some other passers-by, who start to question what Captain Marvel is doing there, why is she in her old costume? What’s with the giant hand? Rather than risk being discovered, Kamala runs off. I loved the narration in the following scene, where Kamala realises that being Captain Marvel isn’t all she thought it was cracked up to be. The costume is uncomfortable for one thing, and the long flowing golden locks get in her face. We’re starting to see Kamala realise that she shouldn’t want to be someone else, and she can just be herself and be a hero at the same time.
Feeling cold in the Captain Marvel costume, she borrows a dirty jumper from a homeless guy, and heads back home, but it turns out that sneaking back in through her window is harder than getting out, as her loud landing on her carpet attracts the attention of her brother. She starts babbling, trying to explain her blonde appearance, but she doesn’t have to, she’s back to normal. This is more good stuff about her powers, now that she’s at home, she is more able to just be herself. But Kamala’s not out of trouble, because her parents know she snuck out to the party, and as such, she is grounded, which will probably put a dampener on her burgeoning superhero career. I liked how this scene gave us a bit more depth about Kamala’s parents, as we see that her mother is a bit stricter than her dad, and also that she regrets even coming to America, because it’s messed up both her kids. This book is doing a fantastic job of showing the diversity within Islam. I do wonder though why none of Kamala’s family members have gone through Terrigenesis as well. Either she’s adopted, or some later issue is going to shockingly reveal that everyone in her family has powers too.
The issue ends with Kamala alone in her room, looking at her poster of Captain Marvel doing her Rosie The Riveter pose (it’s the Ed McGuinness cover to #2 of the first DeConnick run) and doing the same thing, but with a giant fist.
Adrian Alphona’s art was once again excellent, his style really fits the body-morphing powers that Kamala has, and the cartoonish elements to his work are just perfect for teen superheroes. This book needs unique art to go with the rest of what makes it different. I don’t think the more deliberate pace of Wilson’s story would work without Alphona, and I don’t think Kamala would be as likeable a character without him either, his facial expressions are just so spot-on.