Ms. Marvel #36 Review

by Charles Martin on November 14, 2018

Ms. Marvel #36 Review
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Nico Leon
Colourist: Ian Herring
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

It's a tricky week for budget-conscious G. Willow Wilson fans. The banner headline is that she's scripting one of DC's Holy Trinity now with Wonder Woman #58. But Ms. Marvel is still a force to be reckoned with - the latest issue is a wondrously weird one-shot with a lot of heart and impressive art. And if you're really pinching pennies, you might want to put Marvel over the Distinguished Competition this time around.

(Or, skip your next trip through the drive-through and scrape up the cash for both!)

The last arc of Ms. Marvel delivered a bumper crop of status quo upgrades. Kamala's powers got a super-science explanation. A beloved left-field guest star (Singularity) brightened the story tremendously. And Bruno went through some jaw-droppingly great character development, gaining new perspectives on both his life in general and his relationship with Kamala.

So now we have a little one-shot to decompress after all that momentousness. Are we going to unpack the changes?

Ha, ha, nope; it's time for a vacation in 13th-century Iran!

One of the other things Kamala's last timey-wimey adventure did was give her a glimpse of a Mysterious Medieval Figure who seemed to recognize her. That's the point Kamala and Bruno fixate on during a very romantic (at least potentially romantic) stargazing session. 

And the narrative sweeps us away to 1257, where four young and suspiciously familiar folks are travelling the great Silk Road from Samarkand to Constantinople. It's Lady Zoë and Lady Kamilah in the cart with brave Sir Joshua and Sir Brunello riding point!

Will hijinks ensue when they come across the mysterious Farak engaged in battle with a supernatural (but very recognizable) enemy? You bet your pointy medieval booties they will!

It's a sumptuous and heartwarming little tale, ennobled considerably by some powerful artistic effort invested in cool historical costumes. The plot is simple, but the tone and spirit of the story are impeccable. And the dialogue does a stellar job of sounding authentically archaic without veering into cheap Asgard-speak.

Lest you fear that the big developments of the previous arc might be going away, there's some powerful character work lurking in the frame story. Bruno's attitude has changed enough for Kamala to remark on it, and that change promises to keep their relationship evolving in future stories. 

The colours are, as always, in top form. Rather than casting a heavy-handed stylistic veil over the historical flashback, the distinction between the two settings is made through a strict palette separation. Modern-day Jersey City is a cool night full of blues and greens; the ancient road outside Nishapur is a golden summer day. Both are gorgeous and unmistakably a part of Ian Herring's consistent Ms. Marvel world.

Though a one-shot medieval flashback is a complete left-field surprise for Ms. Marvel, it's hardly an unwelcome one. Tremendous storytelling talent and a consistent theme count for a great deal. This little essay on romance - in both the "high adventure" and "lovey-dovey" senses - is unexpected but undeniably delightful.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
If this issue tempts you to start learning about the history of the Ilkhanate, go with it. It's a fascinating setting!