Monday, 14 December 2015

Ms Marvel, Volume 4: Last Days Review (G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona)

In this book, Kamala meets her biggest threat yet: the whims of Marvel editorial! That’s right, Ms Marvel and her creators G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona all get sucked into the maelstrom of shit that is Secret Wars in this fourth volume, Last Days. 

A planet appears in the skies above Manhattan signalling the end times. As Kamala resolutely tries keeping her friends and family safe from the chaos erupting in her hometown, Jersey City, she receives help from an unexpected visitor: Carol Danvers. It’s Ms Marvel and Captain Marvel at the end of the world - the team-up to finish them all! 

Adrian Alphona triumphantly returns to close out this enormously successful first run on Ms Marvel. G. Willow Wilson comes up with a decent story for the two Marvels to do while the world crumbles around them: save Kamala’s brother Aamir from her former crush Kamran as he tries to get back into Inhuman leader Lineage’s good books by awakening Aamir’s latent Inhuman powers. 

I like Kamala’s cutesy version of nursing a broken heart in a bar: eating Doom dogs at the Jersey shore. The vendor even does the “I think you’ve had enough”/“You okay to get home? Want me to call you a cab?” schtick! And I love Loki’s protective magic at Kamala’s school: these two giant blue, ahem, balls (Kamala’s buddy Bruno knows all about those)!

But… Captain Marvel. I still don’t see what others do in this character. She’s ok. I like her enough in this book and Wilson writes her better than Kelly Sue DeConnick did. But she’s still very bland, isn’t she? She flies, she’s got super-strength… eh. I feel the same way about her that some people (wrongly) feel about Superman but Supes has this rich history to draw on while Carol doesn’t. Her costume’s even grey in this story too - she looks as washed out as she reads! 

Once Wilson’s past the Captain Marvel/Inhuman stuff, there’s some awesome scenes. Kamala’s brother comes off as a much more realised character, talking about how he’s happy to go to mosque and read books – he likes his life regardless of what people think and doesn’t aspire to be an Avenger like his sister, new powers or not. There’s a beautiful scene between Kamala and her mum, and even Zoe (the preppy girl from the first book who insulted Kamala) comes off well too. And I won’t give away the ending but… perfect, just perfect. 

The book closes out with Amazing Spider-Man #7 and 8, aka “padding”, which I didn’t like much, mostly as I’m not a fan of this series - if I was, I’d go read Spider-Man instead of picking up a Ms Marvel book! Kamala and Spidey team up to fight some bland monster - whatever. Christos Gage doesn’t write a good Peter Parker, let alone Kamala Khan, but at least Peter’s not Hugh Granting it up too much here. Also, Silk gets a makeover - who fucking cares?!

As good as the ending was to Kamala’s story, don’t go getting all misty-eyed, Ms Marvel fans – I’ve been reading it and Secret Wars is one big red herring. Kamala’s fine, nothing changes with that ridiculous event story, and, if you follow the monthlies, you’ll know Ms Marvel has restarted with Kamala and all of her supporting cast, along with the same creative team - the only thing different is the numbering which goes back to #1. It all works out! 

Last Days has enough great moments that fans of this series have come to expect to make this another fine Ms Marvel book. Yet again an awesome title gets messed with by a crap Marvel event but this one comes through unscathed and, thankfully, (no) normal service resumes with the next volume.

Ms Marvel, Volume 4: Last Days

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