How Directionality Sells the Drama in Ms. Marvel 34

by Drew Baumgartner

Ms. Marvel 34

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The only limits in comics are those of the imagination and the page itself. That sounds grandiose, but I genuinely believe that to be true. There are no CGI budgetary restrictions or limits of practical effects that could make a shot or a sequence impossible (though time constraints may make big crowds on horseback less likely), no locations on earth (or off) that can’t be used, no detail to small that can’t be captured in a panel. That means comics are a medium with nearly infinite potential for flashy epicness, which can easily hog our attention. But its the fundamentals — nearly universal to all storytelling — that ultimately make a comic sing: characters, clarity, and heart. Sometimes those flashy elements can help connect us to those fundamentals, but sometimes it’s the simpler details that sell the story. Such is the case with G. Willow Wilson and Nico Leon’s Ms. Marvel 34, which utilizes one of the most basic givens in the medium to remarkably effective results. Continue reading

Themes and Team Make for a Dream in Squirrel Girl/Ms. Marvel 1

By Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

On paper, the team-up of Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel makes too much sense for it not to happen. Both heroes are young protagonists. Both are second tier Marvel heroes next to the headliner Avengers. And perhaps most importantly, both of their series are strikingly modern and fun. But just because a team-up makes sense in theory doesn’t mean it will really work in practice. Artistic differences and such often derail the best laid team-up issues. Baring this in mind, does Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl/Ms. Marvel 1 strike gold or strike out? Continue reading

It’s OK to Keep Secrets in Ms. Marvel 30

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

In any relationship, romantic or otherwise, there are bound to be secrets. For a long time, there was belief that prevailed which said your partner was entitled to know everything about you, which basically meant no secrets were kept. However, times have changed, and people have begun to accept that it’s healthy and natural to not tell your partner everything. That’s not being duplicitous, that’s just being human and respectful. This is healthy turn of events, but as with all things, it’s more complicated if you’re a superhero, just as Kamala find out in Ms. Marvel 30. Continue reading

Ms. Marvel 29: Discussion

by Taylor Anderson and Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Taylor: There’s a reason why Archie comics are still around almost 80 years after the first issue was published. The lives of teenagers, to a certain extent, will always be the same, and Archie comics have traditionally done a pretty good job of chronicling what it’s like to be a high-schooler. In particular, the series’ focus on the romantic and emotional lives of its characters is what has made it an enduring title. After all, it’s not necessarily your AP Biology class you remember so much as the crush who happened to sit next to you in it. But it would be a mistake to think that Archie comics have cornered the market when it comes to teen dramas, or, as Ms. Marvel 29 shows, that teen dramas can’t include super heroes. Continue reading

Sometimes a Comic is Actually Comedic in Ms. Marvel 28

By Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Comics as a medium suffer from a case of poor branding. They’re called “comics” even though a majority of what we think of when we think of comics aren’t comedic at all. One has only to pick up an issue of Batman to get what I mean — the Dark Knight’s adventures aren’t exactly full of laughs (Joker antics aside). There are reasons for this nomenclature, of course, but it’s always kind of rewarding when comic treats its content with levity. This proves true in Ms. Marvel 28, but G. Willow Wilson accomplishes this without losing any of the series’ heart. Continue reading

Inspiring Vulnerable Populations in Ms. Marvel 26

By Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Kamala Khan is such a good kid. She get’s these stretchy-growy-shrinky superpowers and the very first thing she does is try to protect the vulnerable people in her community. Of course, that doesn’t mean helping impoverished families navigate the SNAP program or helping people with job placement or anything like that — it means punchin’ bad dudes with her temporarily over-sized fists. It’s an inspiring thing, both to read and for the characters within Kamala’s orbit. Issue 26 continues the ‘Teenage Wasteland” story arc by showing us just how thoroughly Kamala has inspired her friends to act as nobly and selflessly as she did when faced with roughly the same threat. Continue reading

Best of 2017: Best Issues

Best Issues of 2017

Episodic storytelling is the name of the game in monthly comics. Month- or even multi-year-long arcs are fine, but a series lives and dies by its individual chapters. From self-contained one-offs to issues that recontextualize their respective series, this year had a ton of great issues. Whittling down those issues to a list was no easy task (and we look forward to hearing how your lists differ in the comments), but we would gladly recommend any (and all) of these issues without hesitation. These are our top 10 issues of 2017. Continue reading

The Hole in the Center of Ms. Marvel 25

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

How does an issue of Ms. Marvel work without Kamala? Well, in the case of Ms. Marvel 25, I’d argue that it doesn’t. There are moments here that feel unmoored, floating in a pool of heightened drama without the grounded tether that Kamala offers when she is the center of the narrative.

Continue reading

Generations: Ms. Marvel and Ms. Marvel 1: Discussion

by Taylor Anderson and Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Taylor: When I was in college, I was a man of strong convictions. I may not necessarily have acted on these convictions, like a true American, but I at least had ideals that I believed and on which I was unwilling to compromise. Now that I’m older and have experienced the real world, my convictions aren’t nearly as strong as they once were. This isn’t to say I don’t believe in them anymore, but I recognize the need to make certain sacrifices and compromises for the things I truly believe in. It’s a hard lesson, but one Kamala Khan learns when she meets a young Ms. Marvel, and one that I can appreciate now that I’m a bit older. Continue reading

A Heartbreaking Loss of Innocence in Ms. Marvel 22

by Drew Baumgartner

Ms. Marvel 22

This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.

The song I’d like to do for you is a song that I had the pleasure of doing when I was 15 years old…it’s a song that will last, unfortunately, for a long, long time. And when I say “unfortunately,” I’m talking about the fact that it will always be relevant to something that is going on in this world of ours.

Stevie Wonder, introducing “Blowin’ in the Wind”

Love, loss, betrayal, greed. There are a number of timeless themes we might trace back to the earliest stories we can find. But there are other themes, just as timeless, that have not always been featured in our stories in this same way — themes kept so out-of-sight that some people refuse to acknowledge that they exist at all. Of course, for the people actually affected by those timeless truth of oppression, it is simply a part of life. If we are any more aware of those themes in this day and age, it is only through listening to the people who actually experience them. As ever, G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel presents a frank account of what life is like for a young muslim woman in America, bringing hard truths to those of us who might not see them, otherwise. Continue reading