Magnificent Ms. Marvel #7 Review

by Charles Martin on September 18, 2019

Magnificent Ms. Marvel #7 Review
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Joey Vazquez
Colourist: Ian Herring
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

To perk their friend up, Nakia and Zoe take Kamala on a one-day Garden State road trip. By the immutable narrative laws of comic books, they find a horrifying zombie situation instead of the "America's greatest" gyros they were looking for.

When this comic gets down to pure comics business, the pace is a little herky-jerky. It feels like it takes the girls way too long to grasp that they've stumbled into a zombie story, even though Kamala explicitly notes she's tangled with "mind-controlled horde"-type schemes before. 

Then, when dialogue-capable antagonists show up, they skip straight over some expository steps to dive into their relationship to Kamala. I think the missing exposition is pretty easy to extrapolate, but the skip does leave me feeling like a page or an entire scene went missing. 

(Which is not beyond the realm of possibility; Marvel's track record for giving us complete review files is spotty.)

I'm tackling this comic all out of order. If it fumbles slightly with the superhero business at the end, that is more than made up for with an exquisite opening scene. 

Kamala rushes through a routine morning with her family, struggling with the way her father's illness is not at all routine. Saladin Ahmed's script draws a sharp thematic line between the family's situation as a whole and the literal pain Yusuf is fighting. Kamala's inner monologue ties the thread off deftly: "We can't make the pain normal, but we can learn how to live with it."

One upside to the fast pace at the end is that it makes room to build foundations for a bridge to that same theme. If it's done well, this arc could tie the superheroics back into Kamala's unmasked life in a stupendous way.

Joey Vazquez's debut as this title's artist goes off without a hitch. He picked up some prior Kamala experience drawing the first arc of Marvel Team-Up, and his solid command of the protagonist is amplified with excellent takes on almost all of her supporting cast. (I mean that some of the supporting cast doesn't appear, not that some of the takes are less than excellent.)

He also extends this title's running habit of adding inventive novelties to Kamala's fight moves. This is generally appropriate for a young hero and particularly for one with powers as literally flexible as Ms. Marvel's. In this issue, she tackles being surrounded by a zombie horde with a whirling dervish move that Mr. Vazquez makes look speedy and devastating.

Colour duties remain in the brilliant hands of Ian Herring. He's seamlessly upped the average intensity of his colours in this new volume, but the actual shades and colour relationships remain the same. Kamala's New Jersey is still Mr. Herring's New Jersey. More specific to the issue, he does an excellent job creeping up the mood by adding more and more purple as the zombie tide rises.

This issue starts re-embiggening Kamala's supporting cast with some anticipated returns and some surprising ones. The moving initial scene verifies that this title's grip on the Khan family remains rock-solid, and the more typically heroic fare at the back has plenty of promise. It's all beautifully illustrated, and this issue fully upholds the Ms. Marvel tradition of cranking out reliably enjoyable stories with a thoughtful edge.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
I love/hate Kamala reminiscing about a 10-year-old cartoon which she sees as a superior alternative to a gritty new reboot. Do high school kids really get myopically nostalgic like that? Yes, they do, and their unconscious short-sightedness is naturally infuriating to crotchety geezers like me. Argh! Realism!