WRITER: G. Willow Wilson
ARTIST: Elmo Bondoc
COLOR ARTIST: Ian Herring
LETTERER: Joe Caramagna
EDITORS: Charles Beacham & Devin Lewis, Sana Amanat, Nick Lowe, Axel Alonso
“Friendship is something real and good and anybody who doesn’t understand that needs a dictionary.” (Bruno Carrelli, Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #12)
“I can’t believe I let you drag me to this patriarchal capitalist display of fake affection.” (Nakia Bahadir, Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #12)
Contrary to the title of this Valentine’s Day issue, the story actually does not focus on Loki being in love with anyone. After the end of the previous story arc, Freyja, the All-Mother of Asgard, sends Loki to Midgard (Earth) to investigate and find out if any of the students at Coles Academic High School are still allied with the Inventor. (There’s a hilarious bit of dialogue about New Jersey having been “too long neglected by the gods”. I think this is likely related to G. Willow Wilson’s comments about Kamala feeling like she’s a second-string superhero from Jersey City, NJ which is in the shadow of New York, NY.) Loki shows up in Jersey City right before the Valentine’s Day Dance at the high school and proceeds to interfere in people’s love lives rather than working on the mission he was sent there to complete.
This issue was hilarious. From Kamala claiming she should get extra credit for physical education (which she’s failing) because of her superheroics to Bruno calling Loki a “Hipster Viking” to Kamala and Nakia’s conversations, this issue kept me smiling all the way through. Despite my enjoyment of the previous issues of the series, I genuinely wasn’t expecting this and was pleasantly surprised. There’s always the issue of how to handle a Valentine’s Day story without being too cliché – either by creating a bland love story without anything to distinguish it from the many other similar ones or by being so cynical that even some people who don’t celebrate the holiday will think it’s a bit much. On top of all of this, in a story with a Muslim protagonist whose parents don’t let her date, there are a lot of ways the story can go wrong. I was kind of nervous about how this would be handled.
The creators deal with this by situation by focusing a great deal on friendship in this story. There’s lots of interaction between Kamala and Nakia and Kamala and Bruno. Although Bruno likes Kamala and wants to ask her to the dance, he still defends friendship when his brother Vick brings up the “friend zone” argument. Kamala and Nakia are hanging out together and discussing the mysterious love letter (written by Loki on behalf of Bruno, despite Bruno’s protests) that Kamala received. We get to see these two friends talk about boys and dating in a relatable way, their experiences obviously influenced by their families’ religious beliefs but also similar to teenagers of other religions as well. When they sneak out to the dance, Loki is spiking the punch with truth serum, and Kamala has to become Ms. Marvel to fight him. I feel I should add that there are also a nice couple of panels showing a same-sex couple at the dance, which I thought was nice; as always, I hope that there are more LGBTQ+ in more stories. My only criticism of the way the story in this issue is handled is that the issue of Kamala’s differences with her parents regarding relationships cannot be put off forever. However, it does seem like the upcoming story may deal with this, and I hope that it’s addressed well there. Overall, I really liked the creators’ approach to this issue, because they took what could have been a boring or frustrating concept (a holiday issue) and made it fun.
This issue has artwork by Elmo Bondoc, and I really liked the way that the artist drew the story. Though I often get used to seeing the characters drawn a certain way by the main artist, the artwork in the issue immediately pulled me into the narrative and fascinated me. The coloring was by the usual colorist for the series, Ian Herring, so the artwork still had similarities with the previous issues. I wasn’t as big a fan of the cover art by Kris Anka, mostly due to the way that the characters’ faces are drawn. The writing was lots of fun, and G. Willow Wilson’s work continues to be among my favorites.
This issue was a one-shot holiday story, and as far as holiday stories go, it was rather impressive. I enjoyed the focus on character development, fun moments between friends, and a storyline that was connected with previous development. I’m definitely looking forward to the next issue, which is due out tomorrow.
[Originally Written: 10 March 2015]
 Wilson, G. Willow; Bondoc, Elmo; Herring, Ian; et al. Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #12 “Loki in Love”. Marvel, 18 February 2015.
 Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #12.
 EAS. Book Review: Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #11 “Generation Why, Part Four”. Homeworld Journal, 30 May 2016. https://homeworldjournal.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/book-review-ms-marvel-vol-3-11-generation-why-part-four/
 Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #12.
 Arrant, Chris. “G. Willow Wilson’s New MS. MARVEL – Teen, Muslim, Jersey Girl, Fan Girl!” Posted on 6 November 2013 at Newsarama. Retrieved on 9 March 2015 from http://www.newsarama.com/19488-g-willow-wilson-s-new-ms-marvel-teen-muslim-jersey-girl-fangirl.html.
 Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #12.