MS. MARVEL #23 by G. Willow Wilson and Diego Olortegui
While there doesn't seem much in the way of story (yet), MS. MARVEL #23 is a nice cool-down from the previous issues of high-stakes and doom.
80 %
Simple, yet sweet.
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For people who know more than two individuals at any given moment, it must be freaky when worlds collide. Suddenly someone from your pilates class happens to run into you and your friends at the supermarket. This example might appear silly, yet Kamala finds herself in a similar scenario in MS. MARVEL #23. Written by G. Willow Wilson with art from Diego Olortegui, MS. MARVEL #23 begins a new adventure for the spunky teen, yet will it be able to follow up the previous arc?

Old Friends, New Allies in MS. MARVEL #23

As Kamala’s brother prepares to leave the family to live with his wife, Kamala gets word that a new student from Pakistan shall join her class. The teacher, in all her wisdom, assumes in a country of 200 million people these two teenagers of Pakistani descent must know one another. Of course, being a comic, the new exchange student happens to be Kareem: a boy who lived with Kamala’s grandmother back in Pakistan. After the two recognize one another, they quickly hear about a runaway train. The pair excuses themselves and changes into their alter-egos, Ms. Marvel and Red Dagger, respectively. However, neither seem to realize who the other is in costume.

Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

It’s nice seeing Kareem in a new context. Kamala met him in Pakistan when she was busy kicking major butt there, yet aside from that context we never really got a chance to know him. The two heroes are fairly similar, after all. While Red Dagger has no powers, he, like Kamala, has an unwavering loyalty to where he’s from. When Ms. Marvel fought in his home of Karachi, he found her interference threatening. Now, it appears that the shoe is on the other foot; though both seem to have a passing respect for one another. Hopefully, this positive dynamic continues throughout the story.

After the wild ride of the previous arc, it’s nice to see how things have settled down for this one. So far, the drama seems quite light, only really bringing Kareem over to the States. Yet at the same time, it seems too calm. Kamala has gone through quite a bit at this point; throwing her back into silly high school drama seems like a waste. Although it is still very early in this story’s run, so a lot could happen between now and the final issue of the arc. Yet, with what they’ve given us, it’s hard to see how the story could move forward. There just doesn’t seem to be much conflict as it stands right now.

New Arc, New Art

Diego Olortegui brings a nice spin to the usual art style of the MS. MARVEL. In this, he goes for a slightly less abstracted take on the human figure, making Kamala appear more like a real kid than before. The only downside to this particular style is how similar each of the characters now appears to one another. Instead of having exaggerated facial features like their noses, jaws, and even hairlines, each of the characters seems quite standard to each other. They lack the personality the exaggerated style offered. That’s not to say it isn’t well drawn — the two just have different strengths. I think this particular style works in defining backgrounds. Now, one could actually find themselves recognizing various background images, like the MARC train to New Jersey. This works for all of the high-speed outdoor fights within the issue, though it does take some adjustment to see the characters in this design.

Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Final Thoughts on MS. MARVEL #23

All in all, MS. MARVEL #23 is a fairly decent superhero comic. It stays relatively down to earth, setting up some fun ideas but leaving the threads to get finished later on in its run. I trust G. Willow Wilson to lead this story into the stuff of legends, but for now, people will just have to wait for Kamala to swing into action in the next issue.

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