Magnificent Ms. Marvel #4 Review

by Charles Martin on June 26, 2019

Magnificent Ms. Marvel #4 Review
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Penciller: Minkyu Jung
Inker: Juan Vlasco
Colourist: Ian Herring
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics
So, the last issue cliffhangered with Kamala and her parents and her new easy-on-the-eyes rebel prince pal getting their ship exploded by the Evil Space Tyrant.

Gee, ya think they survived? Of course they did!

Kamala and the dreamboat-y Cheb Hura bond over escaping and fighting and meeting his rebel friends. The elder Khans follow along with a trail of not-unreasonable tut-tutting. The Evil Space Tyrant attacks and this issue gets its own cliffhanger in the form of a "surprise" ending that was reverse-foreshadowed ("Of course that couldn't possibly happen") earlier in the comic.

Along the way, a single Earth flashback page sketches out some ominous hints regarding Yusuf's dramatic health developments and Bruno's current romantic feelings. 

And all of those plot developments run the risk of coming across as trite or clichéd. It's not an inventive playbook; it's too easy to connect the dots and predict how events both past and future are going to play out. 

That could be a mortal blow to a story. It's a good thing Saladin Ahmed takes two steps to anchor the story to Kamala and make it hers. First, there's the fact that the by-the-numbers plot beats are deployed with impeccable skill and timing. Second - and far more important - is the unique narration Kamala delivers in this issue.

She's talking about stories. And that transforms her relationship to the space opera (Barsoom meets Last Starfighter with big-budget Arabian Nights art direction) she's stuck in. 

Best of all, it's a strong hint that Kamala will be ready to flip the clichés on their heads and write her own ending in the upcoming issues.

The storytelling narration also governs the character relationships in a superb way. Kamala's captions mention that she sometimes has to shout to make her own story heard - and at the same moment, she has to literally shout to get her parents to trust her.

The high adventure plot picks up some needed depth from another hard-working art performance by Minkyu Jung and Juan Velasco. Their imaginative vistas and scrupulous details keep the planet Saffa both wild and real - and showcase plenty of exciting combat.

(Nittiest of nit-picks: Kamala does a lot of embiggening in this issue, and the shoulders of her uniform repeatedly expand in a way that looks more like "Murphy Brown super-shoulder-pads" than "Kamala smash" bulk-up.)

Ian Herring's palette handles a range of different settings, each with its unique colour profile. The night-time and underground scenes are my favourites with their deep shadows and intense purples. The desert daylight scenes appear a bit washed out. But on the whole, the colours contribute significantly to making the fantastic seem a little more real.

Kamala's Big Space Adventure develops along predictable lines, but the presence of her parents and her own whip-smart narration provide the distinctiveness this part of the plot lacks. The art has an easier time of it, once again carving out a unique setting and sharing plenty of exciting action. The script accomplishes a tricky goal. It builds anticipation for a finale that seems poised to both fulfill and defy expectations.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
Muneeba is still the awesome-est, fearlessly finger-poking Cheb Hura when he wants to make a warrior out of her baby girl.