MS. MARVEL #21
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Penciller: Marco Failla
Colorist: Ian Herring
Letterer: Joe Caramanga
Release Date: August 9, 2017
Plot: The latest release of Ms. Marvel has been a roller coaster of emotion for our heroine and the people she cares about. In Ms. Marvel #21, Kamala is pit in a battle against villains that put the safety of innocent mutants and inhumans at odds with her own super hero status in New Jersey. As always, she’s being forced to make difficult decisions which, in the end, would endanger the livelihood of others as well as all the good she does as Ms. Marvel. When her brother held with a gun to his head (so to speak) she quickly folds. However, Amir has other plans.
He fights back, and his fighting inspires her to do the same. Innocents being identified and discriminated against for their abilities isn’t fair, and she knows that the right thing to do is ensure that none of them are wrongly “deported” from Jersey based on nothing more than those differences. The battle brings the entourage of captured super powered beings to a mosque where the battle continues on and Ms. Marvel comes face to face with one of her newest and most worthy adversaries yet- Discord.
Story: G. Willow never fails create cultural and political mirrors that run parallel to our society. It’s refreshing to be able to relate to the real world with what we read in our comics, on a level that’s easy to understand. Furthermore, when that narrative is being expressed from the vantage of Ms. Marvel, a teenager with a pure bleeding heart for others, we can identify with the difficulty of many of the decisions she has to make.
In this case, she’s fighting against the oppression of the majority, and doesn’t have a real way to win. It’s the idea that drives them. They have the backing of the people. Even the mayor has been replaced with Chuck Worthy, figurehead for those that “won’t be erased” by the tyranny of the powered people in Jersey. With this notion in mind, and strength in numbers, how can she hope to defeat them?
Of course, the story takes more twists leading to finding out that the mysterious “Discord” is actually the new trained and enhanced Josh, Zoe’s Ex-Boyfriend. I had an idea when he was first introduced, that this is who he was, but I wasn’t sure. I must note how Wilson takes seemingly flat supporting characters and gives them complex ideologies and reasoning for their actions. She breathes life into these people with not only characterization, but true character. Their decisions when they come to major crossroads define who they are. With Josh, this created Discord.
Art: Marco Failla has become another definitive artist for Ms. Marvel. There’s a certain definition to character’s faces that really have me impressed. Everyone seems to have matured somewhat with his art and this is a good move for the book as it still captures who they are without making the book feel foreign. The cover on this book does well to pre-empt what the story is going to be dealing with and the use of Ms. Marvel’s symbol with her face in it helps that out quite a bit. Like always, I must comment on Ian Herring’s colors being perfect and a staple on her solo run. I never want to see the colorist change. There’s something about the rich strokes and grainy feel that I really, really enjoy. The creative team is quality work, through and through.
Verdict: As Ms. Marvel’s book continues to expand she deals with more social justice issues, it’s clear that it’s a fun book with political undertones, but these tones are often appropriate for the situations that they are used in. In line with that, Ms. Marvel is also slowly building a Rogue’s Gallery that’s appropriate for her character in both motivation and power level. Her series has been consistently intriguing and I think it will continue to be going forward, if G. Willow’s history is anything to go by.
Star Rating: 4 out of 5.