REVIEW: Ms. Marvel #27 – “Take Several Seats, Squirtle”

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

Release Date: 2/14/18

Red Dagger and the rest of Kamala Khan’s friends must save Zoe from the Inventor and stop his evil plot without their heroine in Ms. Marvel #27. Will Kamala return and can the Inventor be defeated without her?

Plot: Naftali is on the hunt for Kamala, and thanks to an interview with Mr. Arjuna, he at least recovers her hat and then proceeds on his fact-finding mission with the help of his “heretic cousin” Alanna. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew spends Ms. Marvel #27 locating Zoe and extracting her from the Inventor’s clutches, but the mission definitely doesn’t go as planned.

Story: There is a lighthearted aspect to Ms. Marvel #27 that is somewhat surprising given the circumstances, but it’s a lot of fun to watch Naftali act as if he is guest-starring on CSI and trying to solve someone’s murder. Perhaps it’d be harder to swallow if the reader felt any genuine concern for Kamala’s well-being, but since it’s just a matter of time until they locate her and hopefully assuage her ailing spirit, it’s easy to get lost in the shenanigans. The only issue is that the lack of Kamala herself can be glaring at times – perhaps seeing her journey running parallel to that of her friends’ would be a better compromise.

Nonetheless, it’s important to flesh out the Jersey that she lives in and learning how people get along without her is a worthy exercise. It also once again gives her supporting cast a chance to shine, especially Zoe who has a rather moving realization about the magic of Ms. Marvel and gets down on herself in comparison. She shows remarkable resilience and depth swinging from her defeatist attitude in one scene to defending the older generation and expounding on their complicated dynamic with the younger ones the next. At the same time, it stretches suspension of disbelief when she survives being crushed by an enormous turtle and the large amounts of rubble he brings down with him. Unless, of course, Ms. Marvel’s suit really is magic.

At the end of the day, Ms. Marvel #27 is a sweet issue but it does not get us much closer to the answer of what Kamala is doing and why – nor does it make the Inventor feel like much of a threat, despite the lip service paid to him being one. However, the final pages promise an exciting encounter for the final part of the arc, and the appearance of Carol Danvers is sure to kick things up a notch.

Art: Leon and Herring remain as solid as ever in their artwork for Ms. Marvel #27, but there are moments when they get to play around even more than usual. The team-up against the inventor, for example, is marvelous and the action leaps off the page thanks to Leon’s line work with Herring’s bright colors bringing a joyful element to the fight. Even Caramagna gets to play around with sound effects and splashy lettering that livens up what might otherwise be a run-of-the-mill battle sequence.

That’s not to say there aren’t some issues, and perhaps one was more noticeable this time around than before. There are a few panels where it’s hard to make out what some characters are feelings – specifically Harold and Kareem. At one point, I almost wondered if Harold was secretly working against Zoe being his face seemed almost too gleeful, but the writing clearly pointed in a different direction. There is more of a feeling of caricature this time around, but that may be primarily because the tone of the story is so light. As the arc comes to a close and we learn more about Kamala’s feelings and whereabouts, the art will most likely depict that in a more serious vein.

Verdict: Ms. Marvel #27 continues some of the excellent character beats that supporting cast members have been receiving, mostly Zoe and Naftali, while mining the group dynamics without Kamala. However, three issues in a row without much if any Ms. Marvel can feel burdensome, and it’s possible this arc will be best enjoyed once it is fully complete. The art, while solid and visually appealing, has a few missteps when it comes to conveying particular emotions.

Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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