REVIEW: Ms. Marvel #10 – “Predictions And Justice”

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MS. MARVEL #10
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Pencillers: Takeshi Miyazawa & Adrian Alphona
Colorist: Ian Herring
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 8/31/16

Kamala’s best friend Bruno lies unconscious in the hospital after a foiled attempt to break Josh out of wrongful imprisonment. Now she’s wrestling with the guilt she feels over participating in Predictive Justice as she fights to stop an experiment that’s gone too far.

Plot: Remembering Bruno as a young boy hurts Kamala even more when she’s faced with the extent of his injuries. After she learns how dire his state really is, Kamala goes off in search of a way to make things right. Unfortunately, fighting the task force she’s in charge of leads to dealing with her mentor and hero: Captain Marvel.

Carol and Kamala talk it out, and Kamala acts like she’d going to follow orders despite forming a plan of her own. Meanwhile Becky, the snobby redhead on the Predictive Justice squad, has some hopes of tearing the two superheroes apart. Will Kamala manage to prove to Carol that the system is flawed before Becky turns them against each other? And, more importantly, is Bruno going to pull through?

Story: Though Ms. Marvel usually maintains a lighter tone than most due to Kamala’s age, G. Willow Wilson has never shied away from tackling difficult issues. This week’s issue is no exception. There is no magical recovery for Bruno’s injuries, and the trials he will face if he survives seem daunting. But while we worry for Bruno and understand Kamala’s pain, the story never lets us forget that this situation is partially one of her own making.

One thing Ms. Marvel does very effectively is alternate between the humorous, feel-good tone it’s known for and the darker, grittier setting Civil War II is all about. Kamala forgets the stakes at times, and it’s easy for the audience to follow her lead. That way, when reality hits again, it feels like a punch in the gut. For her and for us.

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The right page turn reveals, on the other hand, pack a little less punch. It’s not shocking to see Captain Marvel interceding, but it is a little disappointing to see her arrive so soon without the younger generation having time to really hash things hows. That does nothing to detract from the quality of the story, however – especially not when we have the pleasure of watching Kamala stand up for what she believes in and explain herself as eloquently as possible to Carol. If anything, Carol comes across as inflexible and uncaring if you’re reading Ms. Marvel without checking in on her elsewhere. That works for Kamala’s story, because any teen worth her salt needs an authority figure to push back against, but it’s still a reflection of how Civil War II is affecting perceptions of Captain Marvel overall.

Since the Marvel event is so much bigger than each individual hero, it can leave a single issue like this one feeling incomplete. Even if Kamala successfully pulls of the plan she concocts at the end of this issue, the audience knows that Predictive Justice won’t be resolved until the event ends. Making Bruno’s condition the heart of the story strengthens the issue, but this still isn’t an issue you can pick up and read on its own without backstory. It’s very clearly one chapter in a longer tale, and we can only hope it has a satisfying ending.

Art: Since its debut issue, the art in Ms. Marvel has been one of its strongest suits. In this issue, Takeshi Miyazawa and Adrian Alphona continue to combine their efforts and create a look that fits Kamala perfectly. The grainy shading in the flashbacks early on immediately pull the reader in. Meanwhile the muted and pale colors from Ian Herring make the beginning of Bruno and Kamala’s friendship all the more bittersweet.

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The shift from the past to the present affects even the borders of the comic, as they go from cream to white. The stark difference between the opening memory and the reality of Bruno in the hospital brings the tragedy of Civil War II that much closer to home. Yet the strong tinge of blue throughout underscores the melancholy state of affairs.

The art in Ms. Marvel is always stellar in my opinion, but I was particularly taken with the depiction of the task force in this issue. At first there seemed to be a discrepancy between their harsh actions and the more colorful style in which they were drawn, but in the end it felt purposeful. It’s easy to forget that these characters are just kids who think they’re doing the right thing, like Kamala. And that sometimes, it’s easy to forget the severity of the situation when it’s not your best friend in a hospital. Sometimes it feels like a game, and you can say “collateral damage” while posing for your close-up.

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Verdict: Ms. Marvel continues to be one of Marvel’s strongest monthly stories in an issue that is both tense and touching. While Civil War II weighs it down, G. Willow Wilson makes the most of the material and portrays Kamala’s struggles sympathetically. Several threads are left hanging, but that just makes the next issue all the more necessary.

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6 Comments

  1. Awesome review!!! I haven’t wanted to touch Civil War related stuff because I find the entire idea dumb and hate that Carol has been saddled with the Fascist Side and as such is being ruined. Regardless, good to see that Ms Marvel continues to be good. Hope Bruno pulls through okay.

    1. If you bothered to look at anything Carol is doing you’d see she isn’t fascist, she is trying to get it right. In all honesty this review is unfair. Carol basically tells Kamala that they need more time to see this through, that to not do so would mean everything they’ve done has been in vain. And truthfully, Josh was rightfully imprisoned. He admitted he was planning to do exactly what Ulysses claimed and I’m sorry, but Bruno did this to himself. It’s his fault he’s in a coma. Carol has done nothing wrong here and I’m getting sick and tired of people claiming she has and trying to paint her as the bad guy, like this review does as well.

      The fact is Kamala is doing something reckless and stupid right now and it will backfire horribly because it’s a stupid plan. She’s asking a criminal to commit a crime. Great heroing there girl. Sorry, she’s wrong, Carol’s right and this is just really sad to see it happening because it’s clear she’s let her emotions get the better of her here. Period.

      1. It’s fair of you to feel that Carol is right, which is why I said in the first place that her appearing here without context might create a biased opinion of her position. But whether Kamala is doing something reckless (which she is in my opinion) or whether Carol is misguided (which she also is in my opinion), the entire point of Civil War II is that you can’t really say who’s right and who’s wrong.

  2. I can say who is right. Who kidnapped and tortured a person because of powers he’s afraid of? Stark. Who was blaming a woman for the death of a person she did not condone or play a role in? Stark. Who has been pushing for war instead of seeking a middle ground? Stark. Who has been using the word “profile” to trigger minority supers to force them to side with him for fear of being Uncle Toms? Stark. Who broke a potential terrorist suspect out of prison during an ongoing investigation? Stark.

    Meanwhile Carol is actually trying to get it right. Her book SHOWS this constantly. She is aware of the dangers, she is trying to avoid them. She is providing an answers to these problems. Tony has no solutions to them, he just raises them, he does nothing offer a way to counter them, Carol does.

    So yeah, I can decide who is right pretty clearly. Carol, period. Tony’s a coward, a gutless little rich boy who keeps dishonoring the sacrifice of his friend by blaming a woman who is suffering just as much if not more than he is. He runs from this, Carol stands. That’s a hero, Tony’s not. Two wars, wrong both times.

    I’m sick and tired of Team Tony trying to drag her through the mud. I’m sick of the bias on part of comic book reviewers and authors who refuse to acknowledge Captain Marvel has a legitimate stance. If you’re on that side you haven’t been reading Carol’s solo and if you’re still on Tony side after that you’re hopeless. I don’t like that they’re doing this to Kamala, that they’re making her go against her idol and siding with Tony just because he keeps shouting “profiling” like a parrot. She should stand with her hero, she’s seen the good work they’ve doing, she was part of it, issue eight, just last week, it had her going to stop a whole apartment complex from blowing up. She saved lives, this saves lives. Tony wants to stop all that, then he’s complicit in any deaths that could’ve been prevented. Does that sound like a hero? No, it’s not.

    That’s why I’m with the Captain. And I honestly wish you people would stop trying to jump through hoops in a very sorry attempt to prove her a tyrant. She isn’t. Period. She’s the real hero here, end of story.

    1. I’m not Team Tony. I was discussing Carol’s position specifically through Kamala’s POV and in the context of her series, which is why I said that readers who aren’t checking out Civil War II might see her as inflexible in this issue. The reason that the event is creating a misperception of Captain Marvel, in my opinion, is precisely because you’re not going to get the nuanced perspective unless you’re reading it in conjunction with the series you’ve already chosen to read. The issue is also bigger than Carol vs. Tony. Predictive Justice is great in theory, but several titles have already pointed out the ways it can be abused or misused. Just because Carol, Ulysses and co. have the purest of intentions doesn’t mean that those intentions will be carried out well. You can already see Becky in this issue starting to plot against Carol and using the task force as a means to do it. Power Man & Iron Fist shows a much clearer miscarriage of justice, as well, in my opinion. At the end of the day, I doubt Marvel is going to keep Ulysses’ power as the definitive method of crime prevention, so something’s gonna give sooner or later.

  3. The vigilantes in the Power Man and Iron Fist book have nothing to do with Carol side or Ulysses. They are delibaretly targeting former criminals through a different, computerized profiling method. You cannot make the suggestion that they are at all in league with Captain Marvel when they are clearly a rogue element who were operating before Ulysses was known to the public. This is a precognitive individual who literally experiences the future and everything he’s seen comes true more or less. He is not the same as some ex-cop pulling a Frank Castle.

    For some one who isn’t with Stark you are taking his side on this issue quite a bit. And like him you offer no clear alternative to the question. These powers exist, are you going to prevent him from using him by locking him up? Depowering him? Killing him? What’s your answer? He just should keep his mouth shut and let people die then?

    Police and soldiers have the best intentions too and constantly get things wrong in the attempt to protect lives. Are you going to just disband them? Or is it better to find ways to minimize the risk of such things going awry? Just because others intentions may be less pure than yours does not make a cause wrong. I’m sure there were plenty of black people who just wanted to go out and kill whites in the sixties for revenge. Did that make the civil rights movement wrong? I know lots of allied soldiers commuted war crimes themselves. Did that make stopping Hitler wrong? You can’t judge a position by the bad apples or those who chose to do it the wrong way. You don’t get anywhere like that. You try to manage the boat, you try to control where it goes, you do not jump ship at the first sign of trouble, you find ways to plug the hole. That’s what Carol is doing, that’s what we’ve seen in her book. She has saved lives thanks to Ulysses, will you deny that as Iron Man has?

    Kamala has seen this herself, she’s stopped The Hand at The UN and prevented an apartment complex from exploding in issue 8 of Captain Marvel. She should know this works. She’s letting her emotions cloud her judgment. More importantly, Becky didn’t make her make a deal with a criminal to try and undermine Carol’s efforts. That’s on her, not Becky. And while she might be impure in her intent, you can’t blame all this on Becky. She didn’t make Bruno blow himself up with his own stupid plan, she didn’t make Josh decide he wanted to get his girlfriend back by setting off a power surge at the school. If Josh had been planning a straight up school shooting and told someone about on Twitter instead of it being through a vision would you still claim he was wrongfully imprisoned? Cause how is that so different from what happened in the previous issue? He was planning something that could’ve killed people. He would’ve if he hadn’t been stopped.

    The point is Captain Marvel is the woman I’d want handling something like this. She’s knows the danger and is working to prevent it from happening. She wants to get it right and she needs to stand strong in face of doubt lest others get killed for second guessing in the field, like Kamala. Read her solo series, see her side. She’s right, it’s that simple.

    If you can’t be bothered to consider all the positive things Carol had accomplished through Ulysses then you’re being incredibly unfair and exceedingly bias in your review. She is not a fascist and I’m sick of hearing misinformed mysoginist fanboys trying to paint her as such and wishing her I’ll for saving lives. That’s why I’m defending her through this extended smear campaign everyone has decided to launch at her.

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