REVIEW: Ms. Marvel #26 – “Help From Friends”

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Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Penciller: Nico Leon
Colorist: Ian Herring
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 1/10/18

While on temporary Ms. Marvel duty in the wake of Kamala’s disappearance, Zoe ran into Red Dagger and decided to investigate a retirement home with him. Now they’re having to face off against a rampaging lizard monster.

Plot: Ms. Marvel #26 starts exactly where the previous issue left off, with a giant lizard in robot armor chasing Zoe and Kareem out of the retirement home and into the street. The would-be heroine must gather her strength and CrossFit knowledge to fight back instead of running away, but in the end Kareem does most of the heavy lifting. Now they’re left trying to figure out who sent the monstrosity, and it takes the whole group of kids to go after the Inventor once they know what they’re dealing with.

Story: The storyline that’s been developing ever since Kamala’s crisis of confidence is an enjoyable one, but it can be frustrating read through Ms Marvel #26 with yet again very little hint of her whereabouts. On the bright side, Naftali comes into his own as a character while he tries to find the hidden heroine. Not only that, but there is wisdom to be found in his words – even when someone needs space, others might need their presence. And as much as Kamala might want to be left alone, giving up on her isn’t the answer either.

Zoe also keeps proving herself as a friend and hero. With the help of Harold the observant elderly resident, she makes her way into the unknown without any powers or tech to guide her. And the supportive environment of Kamala’s friends extends beyond her, seeing how Nakia then begins worrying about Zoe just as much and convinces the rest of her group to band together for her sake. Once again, it’s a lovely showcase for the supporting cast in Kamala’s story, but Ms. Marvel #26 might move a little too slowly for those who are wondering where the title character might be.

That being said, the reappearance of the Inventor continues to make for an exciting plot – especially when we’re not sure how heroes without powers will stand up to him. It’s just too bad we have to wait another month to find out.

Art: Nico Leon maintains the same realistic yet humorous art style in Ms. Marvel #26 as in the previous issue, and this time around Ian Herring gets more of a chance to play around with light and colors. The various locations that the characters shuttle in and out of allow for a winder range than the usual bright pastels that populate the book, and the artists work to define the surrounding even in moments of relative darkness.

Zoe and Harold venturing into the basement is one such moment, and the few panels that take place before the lights are turned on still make sure to detail the silhouettes in a way that keeps the page interesting.

Verdict: Ms. Marvel #26 contains some great character work for Zoe and Naftali, as well as a compelling villain in the Inventor. With some eye-popping art to boot, the only problem is the lack of forward movement when it comes to Kamala herself – or her family for that matter.

Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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