Thursday, 26 January 2017

Ms. Marvel, Volume 6: Civil War II Review (G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa)

A couple books ago Ms Marvel was engulfed in the then-current Marvel event, Secret Wars, and thankfully came through relatively unscathed; this time around Kamala is once more sucked into the latest event, Civil War II, and it kinda ruins this one unfortunately. Not to say it’s a bad comic but it’s definitely my least favourite volume in the series so far. Good job, Marvel!

I haven’t read Civil War II yet but from what I can tell from this book the premise is that an Inhuman telepath called Ulysses can see the future and predict when crimes will be committed. Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel decides to use Ulysses to set up a kind of “future crimes division”, arresting people who haven’t committed crimes yet but apparently will, while Iron Man opposes her - the rest of the Marvel heroes fracture along these two figures and we have Civil War II. Minority Report anyone (which is actually referenced here)? 

Carol asks Kamala to head up a squad of lil’ fascists in Jersey City which, to Kamala’s credit, leads to her eventually seeing past her Captain Marvel fangirl worship and realising what’s happening is wrong. It’s not the best story particularly as Civil War II, like the first Civil War, is so blatantly one-sided you couldn’t possibly choose one over the other. Arresting people for crimes they haven’t committed? Not to mention the flaws in relying on Ulysses to always get it right and will likely get it wrong sometimes, leading to arresting innocents who don’t follow through with any crimes and remain innocent! 

You either choose to live in a free society and accept that with that freedom comes bad people who will do bad things and sometimes good people will suffer those choices, or you go totalitarian, ie. PATRIOT Act madness and beyond where you sacrifice freedom for the illusion of increased security even though bad things inevitably continue to happen. This always - ALWAYS - leads to the people given this power over you to abuse that power. Civil War II looks like such a predictable and dim-witted story. 

Anyway, yeah, this book is mostly a Marvel-ized Minority Report rip-off which I expect the main event will also be but on a grander scale. Spoilers don’t bother me but if they do to you and you don’t want to know any of the twists and turns of the main story, you might want to avoid this book until after you’ve read Civil War II as a major character death from that story is casually revealed here. 

Dotted throughout are flashbacks of Kamala’s family history going back to Pakistan’s separation from India in the wake of Indian independence from British rule. Drawn by Adrian Alphona, I loved these brief sections, telling a real, compelling human story amidst the intrusively loud superhero nonsense. That’s why I liked the last issue the most as Kamala visits her family in Karachi and we get to see Pakistani culture - it’s perspectives like these that’s made Ms Marvel such a unique Marvel title and I wish there’d been more of Kamala in Pakistan. 

There’s an issue where Kamala’s school takes on Miles Morales’ school at a science fair that was ok but mostly for Alphona’s art - the story itself is pretty unremarkable. Also, there are a couple of good things to come out of the Civil War II storyline: Takeshi Miyazawa’s art (he also drew most of the art from Ms Marvel Volume 3) and the developments in Kamala’s friendship with Bruno. 

It’s not really G. Willow Wilson’s fault - she, like everyone else, had to acknowledge and work Marvel’s latest tripe into her series whether she wanted to or not. She still manages to pack in enough of the great character moments Ms Marvel fans read her comics for, and the art team is top-notch throughout, but I still wasn’t as into this volume as I usually am when it comes to Kamala Khan, and that’s solely down to idiotic event bullshit. Hopefully the series gets back on track with the next volume.

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