Monday, 8 July 2019

#CBR11 Books 35-36: "Ms. Marvel, vol 3: Crushed" and "Ms. Marvel, vol 4: Last Days" by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona and others

Total page count: 240 pages

#CBR11 Bingo: Illustrated

Ms. Marvel, vol 3: Crushed - 4 stars

Kamala faces a new, terrifying threat: Excessive feelings!

Love is in the air in Jersey City as Valentine’s Day arrives! Kamala Khan may not be allowed to go to the school dance, but Ms. Marvel is! Well sort of--by crashing it in an attempt to capture Asgard’s most annoying trickster! Yup, it’s a special Valentine’s Day story featuring Marvel’s favorite charlatan, Loki! And when a mysterious stranger arrives in Jersey City, Ms. Marvel must deal with...a crush! Because this new kid is really, really cute. What are these feelings, Kamala Khan? Prepare for drama! Intrigue! Romance! Suspense! Punching things! All this and more! The fan-favorite, critically acclaimed, amazing new series continues as Kamala Khan proves why she’s the best (and most adorable) new super hero there is! Plus, see what happens when S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jemma Simmons goes undercover at Kamala’s school!

While the first two trades explained how Kamala got her superpowers and figured out her costume, and how to hide her secret identity (from nearly everyone), this trade deals more with the fact that Kamala is a teenage girl, who frequently crush on cute boys. The boy in question is the son of family friends, who Kamala is initially none too excited to meet (who wants someone your parents heartily approve of), but he turns out to have grown up hot, and Kamala is smitten. Then she discovers that there is more that meets the eye about him as well, but alas, a happy romance isn't in the cards for our heroine. Her crush is more of a supervillain in training than a fellow superhero, which isn't exactly a good thing.

There is also a minor subplot with Bruno, Kamala's best friend, with his unrequited crush on Kamala, being told that whether Kamala returns his feelings or no, her family are never going to accept him as a proper suitor for her. They are from different cultures and religions, and while Kamala is a teenage girl growing up in New Jersey, she's also a devout Muslim girl. Her parents would not want her to date a non-Muslim boy. Of course, they don't know that their suitable candidate is a villainous douchebag, but that's a different issue altogether.

We also get to see the current comics incarnation of Loki in the first issue of this trade. He's rather different from the movie version, played by the lovely Tom Hiddleston, but ever the naughty trickster god nonetheless. I also liked the little hints we got about the current power structures in Asgard, no Allfather in charge there. There was a also a pretty throwaway issue crossing over with the Agents o S.H.I.E.L.D, which might have made more of an impact on me if I a) had watched so much as an episode of the TV show (I have not) or b) read more Marvel universe comics (I have not).

Ms. Marvel, vol 4: Last Days - 4.5 stars

From the moment Kamala put on her costume, she's been challenged. But nothing has prepared her for this: the last days of the Marvel Universe. Lucky she's got the help of Carol "Captain Marvel" Danvers! Between teaming up with her personal hero to rescue her brother and trying to keep her city from falling into an all-out frenzy, Kamala has barely had time to come to terms with the fact that the world is literally collapsing around her. But the truth will catch up to her, and soon. When the world is about to end, do you still keep fighting? Kamala knows the answer. Let's do this, Jersey City.

I'm deducting half a star because while the actual Ms. Marvel issues of this were top-notch and really excellent, there is also a not-very-interesting Spider-man crossover included, which just feels entirely out of place after the fairly serious emotional stuff we've read just before.

A big alien planet has appeared in the sky and things are getting very chaotic. Kamala gets to team up with her biggest hero, Captain Marvel (it's just as adorable and heart-warming as you can imagine). As of yet, Ms. Marvel is not really one of the heavy hitters of the Marvel Universe, and therefore sticks to trying to keep her own little part of New Jersey safe (this feels much more realistic than if she'd been off with a full Avengers team or something).

The impending doom of the situation also makes it necessary for her to take stock of what really matters to her and she has some very emotional scenes with both friends and family. There's an especially moving scene involving her mother (I may have cried a bit) and it just emphasised exactly why I love this comic so much and keep reading it. G. Willow Wilson balances the big, action-packed sequences with less spectacular quiet moments, which nevertheless pack serious emotional punches so well. I'm very excited to see where the comic goes next.

Judging the books by their covers: There's one rather fun and silly cover here, and one rather dark, gloomy and serious. While the cover for Last Days is fine and very atmospheric, I still prefer the more light-hearted and comical one for Crushed. Sadly, I'm too lazy to look up the artists for each to credit them here - sorry guys.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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