Ms. Marvel #33 Review

by Charles Martin on August 29, 2018

Ms. Marvel #33 Review
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Nico Leon
Colourist: Ian Herring
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

We jump straight into the action with Ms. Marvel facing down the Shocker. Even though Bruno's return has conspired to thoroughly fritz her powers, heroes gotta hero. The pace never lets up: Bruno is split off on his own and Kamala deals with ominous developments with both the powers problem and the Shocker. 

Essentially, the plot thickens like the Dickens. 

If you came on board last issue for the hoo-rah return of Kamala & Bruno, teen hero-buddies, Ms. Marvel #33 maintains the exquisite wonder of that team-up while temporarily dividing the heroes. 

The Shocker makes a surprisingly strong case for moving himself to Jersey City. Not, of course, in the sense that Kamala starts rooting for him, but by the end of this issue, he'll have more than a few readers on board with his proposed relocation.

Rather than answering last issue's questions, this one dials up the intensity on several of them. (What's really going on with Kamala's powers? Why's Bruno relying so much on Professor Ale-X-a? Why's the Shocker stealing plumbing supplies?) Though many multi-issue stories succumb to a "part two" slump, this one stays brilliantly engaging thanks to its speed and humour. 

Some comics convey a fast pace by cutting their ideas to the bone and leaping from development to development without stopping to breathe. Ms. Marvel #33 takes a more ambitious route. It pushes the plot relentlessly forward while still providing copious detail in both words and pictures. It's a strategy that calls for significant skill from its creators.

Fortunately, G. Willow Wilson and Nico Leon and Ian Herring have A LOT of skill. The speedy pace isn't their only weapon for holding readers' attention without spilling a lot of plot-beans. Mr. Leon gets a noteworthy chance to shine thanks to the Rube Goldberg insanity of the Shocker's lair. 

The complex machines the Shocker's created are depicted in loving detail. Ms. Marvel is usually amply stocked with background gags and visual treats, but the Shocker's lair adds a hearty dessert course to the already-rich artistic meal.

Ian Herring's thick, meaty colours (yikes, are those really the adjectives I want?), as always, tie the story together and anchor it in Kamala's Jersey City. That's a visually unique place, and I firmly believe Ian Herring deserves as much credit as anyone for building that distinctive look. It's a beautifully quirky community; no wonder Shocker wants to immigrate!

The visuals are not quite 100 percent perfect. There is one page in the final act, where the Shocker and powers-fritz threads tangle up together, that's stuck with disappointing art. Mr. Leon rises gamely to the challenge of melding a very concrete villain fight with a very abstract existential crisis, but the results just aren't that pretty.

The script also betrays the slightest imperfection. The Shocker's behaviour in the first act is difficult/impossible to explain without narrative fiat. He runs from a fight primarily so that Kamala and Bruno can split up and Kamala gets a little chase-space so that she can monologue while pursuing him.

The Shocker's momentary cowardice is just a ploy to make the plot work. The plot works so well, though, that it's easily forgiven. Kamala's monologue is priceless, particularly when she starts pondering supervillain psychology.

Ms. Marvel #33 demonstrates that the "Kamala + Bruno vs. crazy challenges" formula is still a winner. There are a few tiny flaws, but it's a remarkably strong performance for a second chapter. It draws us in deeper by amplifying the manic intensity of the previous issue without turning loose any secrets. This rabbit hole just gets deeper, and the creators make the fall itself so fun that we wouldn't dream of opting out.

Our Score:


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Seriously though, why pipes?