Home » Book Reviews » Book Review: Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #4 “Past Curfew”

Book Review: Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #4 “Past Curfew”

WRITER: G. Willow Wilson

ARTIST: Adrian Alphona

COLOR ARTIST: Ian Herring

LETTERER: Joe Caramagna

EDITORS: Devin Lewis, Sana Amanat, Nick Lowe, Axel Alonso

“Ammi and Abu taught me to always think about the greater good. To defend people who can’t defend themselves, even if it means putting yourself at risk. I wish they could see that that’s exactly what I’m trying to do.” (Kamla Khan, Ms. Marvel #4)[1]

“Who am I? It seems like an easy question. And then I realize … Maybe what I said to those cops wasn’t a joke. Maybe the name belongs to whoever has the courage to fight. And so I tell them.” (Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel #4)[2]

Issue #4 “Past Curfew” begins after the cliffhanger of the previous issue,[3] as Kamala is lying injured on the floor of the Circle Q. Bruno is freaking out because his brother Vick just shot Ms. Marvel. Bruno frantically calls the police and Vick hurriedly leave the premises.

As Bruno is one the phone, Kamala changes her appearance from Carol Danvers back to herself, revealing to Bruno that she had superpowers and is the one who saved Zoe. It’s here that Kamala finds out she has another power: she’s able to heal really quickly; the bullet wound is already healing, and she feels fine. However, she’s worried about the cops showing up, since Bruno has called them. There’s a little moment that acknowledges the profiling of Muslims, as Kamala doesn’t want the police officers who show up at the scene to know she’s a superhero because, in her words, “My parents will freak, the NSA will wiretap our mosque or something, and then they’ll sell me off to science!” It’s a common thing for superheroes to keep their identities secret, but this is one of the few instances (along with the X-Men and Spider-Man) in which the canon story contains an understandable reason for the character to be concerned about others knowing who they really are, so there’s some additional substance there (in addition to the humorous element). Bruno has the usual friend reaction, not believing that Kamala wouldn’t tell him she has superpowers. It was a really sweet moment, as Bruno praises Kamala and then blushes.

When two cops and a paramedic show up, Kamala figures out that the healing power only works when she’s not shape-shift, so she can’t hide her identity by making herself look like Carol Danvers again, because the wound isn’t completely healed yet. Bruno and Kamala improvise a (rather silly) way to prevent the cops from finding out Kamala’s identity. I really couldn’t believe that their plan worked in fooling the cops. One of the officers does say to expect a subpoena for the security tapes. I don’t know how or if that’ll be addressed in future issues, as the security tapes might reveal Kamala’s identity if she was in the camera shot when she changed her appearance back to how she actually looks. As the responders are leaving, the paramedic makes a comment about how they keep getting calls related to superheroes, and we get a fun reference to fellow superhero Hawkeye (presumably Clint Barton,[4] not Kate Bishop,[5] based on the pronoun). It was a humorous moment that shows Kamala is a superhero in a universe filled with superheroes.

After Bruno knows Kamala’s secret, they work together. The setup is there for him to be the friendly sidekick (and perhaps a future love interest, based on some hints in this issue and issue #1). Their first mission is to figure out what Bruno’s brother Vick is up to. Kamala decides she needs a superhero costume, and there there’s a hilarious interaction between her and her mother related to this. Kamala is digging through looking for her burkini (a modest swimsuit), and her mother (in usual parental fashion) knows exactly where it is and brings it to her. Kamala’s mother is suspicious, because Kamala had previously said she’d never wear the burkini, and tells Kamala she’s going to set her alarm for 1:00 am to check if Kamala is still in her room in the middle of the night, threatening to get Sheikh Abdullah involved if Kamala sneaks out again. Undeterred, but realizing she has a limited amount of time, Kamala calls Bruno and they go on their first superhero mission together. Kamala and Bruno head over to an abandoned house in Greenville, where Bruno knows Vick has been going recently. The two have some fun acting like secret agents, sneaking up to the house and noticing that there are two people lazily standing guard on the porch.

It’s here that we get the first moment of Kamala taking on her new superhero name. Before, she was using her powers to look like Carol Danvers, the hero previously known as Ms. Marvel (now Captain Marvel). At this moment, Kamala considers herself the new Ms. Marvel, and that’s the name she gives when the people on the porch ask who she is. We also get to see Kamala in a superhero pose in her home-made superhero costume: a blue-and-red burkini, yellow fanny pack with pink flower design, white sneakers, and black domino mask. It’s an important moment in her story, and the fact that it’s written and drawn the way it is adds to the charm.

After Kamala gets past the two people who’ve been stationed as guards on the porch, she barges into the house, and fights a bunch of insect-like robots (telling herself it’s just like the video game World of Battlecraft as a form of motivation), and heading down to the basement where Vick is being held prisoner (with the words “Property of the Inventor” written on the wall above his head). The issue ends on another cliffhanger, as three people (the two from the porch and one more) confront Kamala.

The writing and art continue to be great. Kamala and Bruno have some great interaction in this issue, and I love their conversations. Kamala’s narration is also really fun to read, as she gets into the whole superhero lifestyle and decides to put her geek knowledge to work. Something else I want to mention is how much I enjoy the little details in the artwork. For instance, we see the titles of magazines for sale in the Circle Q, the cover on the hangar with the burkini indicating that it’s from Auntie’s Modest Swimwear, the (literal) writing on the wall and floor when Kamala goes into the abandoned house, the (hilarious) slogan on the shirt of one of the Inventor’s supporters who confronts Kamala. There are similar little details in the previous issues as well. This provides some additional worldbuilding and humor.

Overall, this is a fun continuation of the story and a really enjoyable read. We’re in the middle of Kamala’s first somewhat planned mission as a superhero, as she tries to figure out how to do these things she’s undoubtedly read about and written about, but doesn’t have much experience with personally. The series continues to be impressive.

[Originally Written: 21 July 2014]

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References

[1] Wilson, G. Willow; Alphona, Adrian; Herring, Ian; et al. “Past Curfew”. Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #4. Marvel, 28 May 2014.

[2] Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #4.

[3] EAS. Book Review: Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #3 “Side Entrance”. Homeworld Journal, 22 May 2016. https://homeworldjournal.wordpress.com/2016/05/22/book-review-ms-marvel-vol-3-3-side-entrance/

[4] “Clinton Barton (Earth-616)”. Marvel Database wiki entry. Retrieved on 21 July 2014 from http://marvel.wikia.com/Clinton_Barton_(Earth-616).

[5] “Katherine Bishop (Earth-616)”. Marvel Database wiki entry. Retrieved on 21 July 2014 from http://marvel.wikia.com/Katherine_Bishop_(Earth-616).

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