Review by Tony Keen
The second volume of the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel, collecting issues published in 2014 and 2015, continues in much the same vein as No Normal, i.e. it’s brilliant. It’s perhaps slightly less brilliant than the first volume. Partly this is because of the fill-in art by Jacob Wyatt – Wyatt tries hard to capture the same atmosphere as Adrian Alphona, but he can’t quite manage it, and it’s a definite improvement when Alphona returns. Also debatable is Ms. Marvel’s greater engagement with the wider Marvel superhero universe – she meets Wolverine, and is given Lockjaw as a companion by the Queen of the Inhumans, Medusa. All this makes the series a bit less unconventional than previously. It’s also the case that we now know what to expect from Ms. Marvel, so the delightful surprises have less impact.
These quibbles are minor, though. This remains what it was before, a superbly written series about the pain of growing up and finding one’s identity as a first-generation Pakistani-American, crafted by G. Willow Wilson with genuine warmth, humanity and affection for her characters, who behave like real people. The title refers to a sequence in which Kamala makes an impassioned plea to some of her classmates to prove they are not the millennial slackers that the older generation writes them off as. Wilson writes about modern teenagers with real understanding.
Alphona and Wyatt both ensure this doesn’t look like a typical superhero comic, and Alphona in particular remains a delight. If you haven’t read this run of Ms Marvel, this is something you need to rectify as quickly as possible.
Praise should also be given to Jamie McKelvie for the covers on some of the original comics, reprinted here. He absolutely would not be the right person to draw the interior art, but his covers are attractive, and superbly composed, and draw the reader in.
The collection also includes some examples of pencilled pages by Alphona, and the series continues with Crushed. This content is also combined with the previous No Normal in the oversize hardcover Ms. Marvel vol 1.