Home » Book Reviews » Book Review: Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #6 “Healing Factor, Part One”

Book Review: Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #6 “Healing Factor, Part One”

WRITER: G. Willow Wilson

ARTIST: Jacob Wyatt

COLOR ARTIST: Ian Herring

LETTERER: Joe Caramagna

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

“How am I supposed to find someone to teach me how to—you know—be better? At helping?”

“As the ancient saying goes: ‘When the student is ready … the master will appear.’”

(Kamala Khan and Sheikh Abdullah, Ms. Marvel #6)[1]

“I did have a ‘healing factor.’ I don’t anymore.

“Oh my God. You’re actually hurt.”

“I’m actually hurt.”

“So like … now you’re just a short, angry man who punches stuff?”

“I knew I liked you the minute I saw you.”

(Logan and Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel #6)[2]

Issue #6 “Healing Factor, Part I” begins Kamala Khan’s next story arc, after the conclusion of her origin story in issue #5.[3] Kamala has been fighting the Inventor’s robotic inventions and trying to figure out what the mysterious villain is up to. While trying to fight these robots, she receives a phone call from her brother Aamir, informing her of news that she’s perhaps even more frightened by than the Inventor: their dad wants Kamala to have a talk with Sheikh Abdullah, due to her recent misbehavior. As we saw in issue #3, Kamala and Sheikh Abdullah often argue due to the sheikh’s views on social issues, such as gender segregation.[4]

So, Kamala heads over to the masjid (mosque), where Sheikh Abdullah is surprisingly (to both her and the reader) understanding. She tell him she’s trying to help people but isn’t very good at it yet. He gives her some useful advice and also suggests she needs a teacher (foreshadowing the upcoming team-up). It was a nice moment of nuance, showing that even a character who our protagonist usually disagrees with can be friendly and helpful. It also shows a conversation between a Muslim religious leader and a Muslim teenager that doesn’t fit the negative stereotype of the religion. At the same time, I do hope that Kamala’s disagreements with Sheikh Abduallah are not ignored for the remainder of the story, as I could really relate to the moments in Kamala’s origin story in which she expressed her view that she’s being treated differently due to her gender, both at home and at the masjid. Exploring issues of gender equality in a story with a well-written female teenage Muslim protagonist could be fascinating, even if it’s a subplot.

Later, Kamala heads over to her local comics shop. On her way there, we see her jacket sleeve has a patch with the letter X on it, another bit of foreshadowing of her team-up. When she reaches the shop, Roy asks her if she’s there for the latest issue of Magical Pony Adventures. It’s a nice moment in which comics fans can relate to Kamala due to her going to a comics shop. The fact that Kamala likes both superheroes and stories about ponies is a nice little challenge to the idea that certain types of comics are for boys while others are for girls.

In front of the comics shop, Kamala sees a huge pothole with strange noises coming out of it and decides to go investigate. She gets ready in her superhero costume and (hilariously contemplating that she still needs theme music) heads down into the sewers, where she meets a holographic projection of the mysterious villain. The Inventor, as it turns out, is a clone of Thomas Edison with some cockatiel DNA. (I liked the little reference to Kamala’s home state; the real Thomas Edison lived and worked in New Jersey, where there is even a town named after him.)[5] In addition to the bots that Kamala was fighting earlier, the Inventor has also created bionic alligators that are apparently being controlled by machines wired to their brains. It also turns out that the Inventor wants Kamala alive for some reason.

While finding out all of this weird information, Kamala meets Logan/Wolverine of the X-Men, who’s looking for a mutant runaway named Julie who disappeared from the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning in New York. (She meets him when she’s about to attack him before realizing who he is.) The two of them work together to fight the bionic alligators and have some funny interactions. Kamala tells Logan about her fan fiction about various X-Men, which is hilarious. Readers who may not have been following all of Logan’s storyline find out (along with Kamala) that he’s lost his healing factor. We also get some foreshadowing of Kamala’s future storyline, as she wonders if she’s a mutant. (Fans who’ve read interviews of the series’ creators or are familiar with other Marvel storylines will already know she’s an Inhuman, but Kamala doesn’t know that yet.) When I first heard that Kamala’s first team-up would be with Logan, I was really excited (since I like both of them) and also slightly amused (since the Powers That Be apparently decided to squeeze in a team-up between Logan and a Kamala just before his upcoming death.[6] I thought this issue was a good (though brief) start to the team-up and appreciated that Kamala was still written as the main character, despite Logan being more well-known.

As usual, I really enjoyed the writing in this issue. There’s lots of humor, everything from Kamala thinking that she needs theme music to her conversation with Logan about her fan fiction about the X-Men. The only part that I found odd while reading was a passage which I later realized was a reference to a meme that I hadn’t known about before. Kamala’s excitement for being a superhero and her uncertainly in her ability to be a superhero both come across. This is the first issue of Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 with artwork by Jacob Wyatt. I found the depictions of the characters a little difficult to get used to at first. Overall, I thought that the artwork was well-done, though I did miss Adrian Alphona’s style. The one thing that stood out to me throughout, which I just couldn’t get past, was the way that Kamala’s eyes are sometimes depicted as white circles. It was a bit jarring. On the positive side, Michael Bround’s blog post “Minding Ms. Marvel #6” gave me some appreciation for the way that Wyatt uses long panels very effectively to convey motion.[7] In general, I definitely thought that the underground sewer panels were better, with more interesting details, than the ones set aboveground.

Overall, I enjoyed this issue. It’s a nice follow-up to Kamala’s origin story to have her team up with an older superhero who will act as a teacher. It simultaneously has two effects: tying in with her origin story while also being a new adventure with a (perhaps conveniently) famous character.

[Originally Written: 13 September 2014]

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References

[1] Wilson, G. Willow; Wyatt, Jacob; Herring, Ian; et al. Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #6 “Healing Factor, Part One”. Marvel, 16 July 2014.

[2] Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #6 “Healing Factor, Part One”

[3] EAS. Book Review: Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #5 “Urban Legend”. Homeworld Journal, 24 May 2016. https://homeworldjournal.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/book-review-ms-marvel-vol-3-5-urban-legend/

[4] 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/

[5] “Thomas Edison”. Wikipedia entry. Retrieved on 18 August 2014 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison.

[6] “The Death of Wolverine Vol 1”. Marvel Database wiki. Retrieved on 2 September 2014 from http://marvel.wikia.com/Death_of_Wolverine_Vol_1.

[7] Bround, Michael. “Minding Ms. Marvel #6”. Posted on 25 July 2014 at Atoll Comics. Retrieved on 13 September 2014 from http://atollcomics.blogspot.com/2014/07/minding-ms-marvel-6.html.

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