REVIEW: Ms. Marvel #22 – “Help From My Friends”

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Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Penciler: Marco Failla
Colorist: Ian Herring
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 9/13/17

After the major of Jersey City instituted a new agency called K.I.N.D. (Keepers of Integration, Normalization and Deference) to police Inhumans and other heroes, Kamala’s brother was taken in by mistake. When Kamala went to rescue him, she wound up in a showdown with one of the program’s enforcers called Discord, who turned out to be her classmate Josh. Now it is Kamala’s turn to unmask, with the hope that Josh will see the human part of her rather than the Inhuman one.

Plot: Though Josh is still steadfast in the belief that Ms. Marvel is his enemy, he lets Kamala escape while he holds off the other K.I.N.D. agents at the start of Ms. Marvel #22. Meanwhile, Nakia and Tyesha lead a protest demanding the release of cilivians and the disbanding of K.I.N.D. This time, however, they have the law on their side.

Up against a wall, Lockdown tries to escalate the situation – but good wins out this time thanks to a new trick Kamala learned and some sweet legal justice from Jersey’s last mayor.

Story: Kamala is feeling incredibly down and out at the start of Ms. Marvel #22. Despite escaping the clutches of K.I.N.D., she’s still reeling from the emotional losses she’s suffered. It’s only fitting that just as she’s lamenting not having any friends, an unexpected – but very welcome – friend comes to her rescue. Her next stop, to a restaurant where the employees believe in her abilities to stop the bad guys, only strengthens her resolve. This issue took great pains to showcase how much stronger people are when they come together and have a support system, and G. Willow Wilson was very successful in getting that message across. As brave as Nakia and Tyesha are, they couldn’t stop K.I.N.D. without the backing of a Court of Appeals, and as strong as Kamala is, she needs emotional support too.

On the other hand, Ms . Marvel #22 also explores how the beliefs and actions of someone like Josh can be at odds. Kamala knows that you have to believe who people are when they tell you, and Josh is adamant that he believes in the discriminatory and unlawful system K.I.N.D. is promoting. Yet he wavers with certain actions, such as letting Kamala escape or fearing that Lockdown has gone too far when she threatens to harm civilians. At the end of the day, though, it is not enough to waver between doing good and doing harm. Josh chooses not to stand against an unfair program and instead perpetuates it while still clinging to the hope that he’s a good person, and we can easily see the difference between someone like him and someone who is a true ally.

Art: The pastel color palette from Ian Herring continues to be a staple of Ms. Marvel, softening the harsher realities that Kamala is having to deal with without appearing too close to a fairytale. Meanwhile, Marco Failla continues the tradition of detailed and expressive characters. The art and dialogue work in perfect tandem to convey the story and themes in each page, with an elasticity that fits each new mood as easily as Kamala’s body can fit new shapes.

Speaking of that uncanny shape-shifting ability, there is one fight sequence near the end that could easily look so ridiculous it’s laughable. But once again, thanks to Herring’s delicate coloring and the details Failla provides, there is less laughter and more awe at the new things Kamala can do.

Verdict: For those who love their heroes because they stand for the good of the many, and for those who recognize the heroes in every day life, Ms. Marvel #22 is an excellent look at just how important characters like Kamala Khan are.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5

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