by Ryan Mogge
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Every character has a set of principles by which they live their lives. These can be made clear in daily actions or revealed in moments of crisis. Sometimes, a writer can just have the character lay it out. In Ms. Marvel 20, G. Willow Wilson give several of her characters a chance to share their philosophies directly, making it more a story of ideas than super-heroes.
Wilson gives the first several pages to Aamir’s philosophy of what makes a person a terrorist. There are thematic story reasons for this speech, as demonstrated by cuts to Discord and Lockdown, but the monologue is not limited to the implications of the story. This point of view does not just apply to Marvel’s Jersey City. It functions as a direct communication to the reader about our own world. Wilson gives Aamir space to make his case without challenge and the cop’s disinterest in engaging in the broader conversation leaves the text seeming to support Aamir’s ideas. This is pretty bald speechifying, and starting the issue in such a heady place makes much of what follows feel more like a mirror exercise than a vital story of its own.
When the crowd at Chuck’s rally does the “Chuck Her Out” chant, there is no question that we are to be reflecting on similar chants during the 2016 Presidential campaign.
It’s here that Ms Marvel gets a short speech of her own in which she acknowledges that she hasn’t always considered the perspective of the people who didn’t want a costumed hero. It’s a generous moment for her, since there has been no reasonable or thoughtful presentation of that position. This is an emotional mob, led by a manipulative politician whose rhetoric evokes an imaginary “better time” in the past.
Later, Wilson gives former Mayor Marchesi a chance to explain her own theory about human nature. When she claims that the primary fear for humanity is scarcity. Again, like Aamir, Marchesi is unchallenged. Wilson allows this assertion to sit there for the reader and Kamala to process. In the final panel of the issue, Kamala is faced with a direct threat to her brother. For the first time in the issue, it feels like the action within is more compelling than the ideas espoused.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?