Magnificent Ms. Marvel #15 Review

by Charles Martin on October 07, 2020

Magnificent Ms. Marvel #15 Review
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Penciller: Minkyu Jung
Inker: Juan Vlasco
Colourist: Ian Herring
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Ms. Marvel is back! And things are weird in Jersey City. Kamala's Law has made nobody happy, Dum Dum Dugan is actively hunting Ms. Marvel, and Kamala and Bruno have to Have A Talk.

Unpleasant times for our favourite polymorphic teen hero! But struggles for the protagonist often translate into delight for the reader, and that's largely the case here. Kamala's challenges make for fascinating reading.

Saladin Ahmed's script sketches an adroit portrait of a young woman in conflict. Her first day back at school includes intrusive press and a simmering argument with Zoe. Then she has to hash out her relationship status with Bruno.

When storm floods threaten Jersey City, Ms. Marvel has an excuse to suit up and help out. That, in turn, puts her on Dugan's radar and leads to a confrontation with his C.R.A.D.L.E. agents.

Mr. Ahmed's script does just as well with its antagonist as its protagonist. Dugan bookends the issue in the opening and closing scenes. The author paints him as an honourable man struggling to enforce a contentious law. To Dugan's credit, he eschews questionable methods of hunting down Ms. Marvel. One of his underlings suggests rounding up everyone who matches Ms. Marvel's demographic ("South Asian female, age 15 to 20") and Dugan shoots it down flat. 

It's also great to see Jersey City bucking the usual trend of the Marvel universe and standing firmly behind its hero. Civilians on the street refuse to cooperate with Dugan and don't hesitate to label him a fascist.

This storyline is exceptionally timely, and Mr. Ahmed digs in deep, showing exactly how an urge for "law and order" can rapidly turn into witch-hunting and discrimination.

On the visual side, I'm sad to report that Minkyu Jung isn't firing on all cylinders in this issue. He brings his usual level of imagination and polish to the rescue and fight scenes, realistically portraying more new uses of Kamala's powers.

Things are rougher at the start of the book, though. Character proportions are questionable and there are too many regrettable panels.

Ian Herring does a capable job with the colours, but he may be succeeding to excess. The storm calls for a gloomy palette and Mr. Herring is all too good at conjuring up a dark mood.

These are dark days for Ms. Marvel, and in this issue, her art team manages to make her story look ugly. Unfortunately, this isn't entirely intentional and the results aren't entirely positive. But it's worth bearing in mind that the action scenes are excellent. Mr. Jung also does a sterling job with facial closeups, shining a light on the feelings of the characters.

On balance, though, this is still a fun issue to read. The deep ideas and strong characterization in the script shine through any artistic foibles. Kamala's story is still an incredibly engaging one, even though things are looking dark for the character at the moment.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
Is Dum Dum Dugan supposed to look stumpy?