REVIEW: Ms. Marvel #29 – “Khan You Feel the Love Tonight?”

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

Release Date: 4/11/18

After taking some time to herself and trying to redefine normal, Kamala Khan is finally back in town. She’s once again surrounded by friends and family, including her sister-in-law who is about to give birth. Her crush, Kareem, has finally made a movie and things could not be going better. That is, until ex-best friend Bruno reappears and messes all her emotions up. What’s a superhero to do with such unheroic problems?

Plot: Tyesha gives birth to Malik Theodore Khan at the start of Ms. Marvel #29, and Kamala’s heart is bursting with joy. It’s a feeling that isn’t diminished when Red Dagger springs a kiss on her, until of course Bruno picks that exact moment to show up. Thankfully, this gives them the opportunity to have a much-needed conversation about their friendship and feelings. At the same time, we also get to look back on Bruno’s day and learn more about his feelings and insecurities through his Wakandan friend Kwezi while Kamala gets advice from an unexpected source.

Story: Ms. Marvel #29 took a break from regular villains this month, which was for the best after an extended arc that had too many friends pretending to be her and no actual Kamala. This was an excellent time to get reacquainted with her state of mind, as well as for her to sort out her complicated emotions before jumping back into saving the world full-time. G. Willow Wilson provided a nice balance between the joy of becoming a new aunt, the exhilaration of a first kiss and the much more complicated emotions that come with a first love. And considering this was Bruno’s first major appearance since #18 or so, readers needed all the pages they could get re-establishing that bond.

That being said, the leap from Bruno’s return to Kamala realizing she was still in love with him happened a little too quickly for my taste. Not that I don’t believe her, but rather that she wasn’t given much time to think about him or his absence in recent issues so it felt like abruptly tacked-on to his return, especially when Ms. Marvel #29 already had its hands full jumpstarting her romance with Kareem and hashing out the breakdown of her friendship with Bruno. But I wouldn’t trade the final pages of self-reflection for anything, so I can’t say that I would rather hold off.

New girl Kaylee also set up an interesting mystery at the end of  Ms. Marvel #29, even if most of the characters don’t know it yet. Poor Zoe isn’t having any luck in love, but the way she’s been incorporated into the circle of friends and the larger story of the series is very interesting. In fact, Ms. Marvel‘s treatment of its secondary characters is one of the book’s biggest strengths.

Art: Nico Leon’s artwork continues to impress, and the soft edges are perfect for the teenage joy and heartbreak that permeates Ms. Marvel #29. Ian Herring’s coloring also offer an excellent complement to Leon’s line work, mixing pastels with vibrant tones for close-ups that still make the background stand out. Since there isn’t much action this week, the artists are able to focus primarily on the characters’ emotions, which are portrayed with care and realism despite the generally cartoonish style.

While the more emotional panels avoid details backgrounds to keep the eyes trained on the characters and their revelations, the busier pages still sketch out the areas around them with attention to the appropriate details. We already know what Kamala’s version of New Jersey looks like, so it’s not always necessary – but new locations are designed to fit right in with the rest of her world. Kamala’s visit to the masjid at the end of the issue is especially beautiful, alternating between shots of her realistic facial expressions and the markings which make the mosque so unique.

Verdict: Ms. Marvel #29 is more of a catch-up issue, but it encapsulates Kamala as a character very well and explores several of her important relationships. It’s a great issue to hop onto if you haven’t been reading, as it sets up both a significant arc for her as a person and in intriguing mystery for her as a hero.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5

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