Home » Book Reviews » Book Review: Ms. Marvel #9 “Generation Why, Part Two”

Book Review: Ms. Marvel #9 “Generation Why, Part Two”

WRITER: G. Willow Wilson

ARTIST: Adrian Alphona

COLOR ARTIST: Ian Herring

LETTERER: Joe Caramagna

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

“This is all so weird. I thought I was finally starting to figure things out. It seems like anytime you want to learn something, you have to unlearn something else. I thought I was a mutant — now it turns out I’m part alien. I’m a Pak-American, Part-Alien, Morphogenic nerd.” (Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #9)[1]

“I like not being scared. I want to keep not being scared. (Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #9)[2]

“You’re from a galaxy far, far away.” (Bruno, Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #9)[3]

Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #9 “Generation Why, Part Two” is a continuation of the story arc that began in issue #8.[4] Kamala Khan is faced with one of the Inventor’s giant robots, which is attacking her school. At this rather inconvenient moment, her shape-shifting powers won’t work the way they used to. If she fights the robot, her fellow classmates and others in the area will realize that she has superpowers. So, she tells Lockjaw to create a distraction while she fights the giant robot, in the hope that no one will recognize her. The fight causes Kamala to use up all of her energy, pushing her healing factor ability to its limit, and Kamala passes out. When Kamala wakes up, she’s in New Attilan, home of the Inhumans, which Bruno refers to as the “art deco alien city in the river”.[5] There, Kamala meets Medusa, Queen of the Inhumans, and Vinatos, a physician who’s treating her injuries. It’s here that Kamala finds out that she’s not a mutant; she’s an Inhuman. Despite Queen Medusa’s expectation that Kamala should stay in New Attilan and let someone else deal with the Inventor, Kamala leaves.

One of the things I’m really enjoying about this series is Kamala’s decision to define her own life and destiny, instead of going along with what others expect of her. She has disagreed with and rebelled against her parents,[6] realized that she doesn’t want to fit in with classmates who look down at her,[7] and argued against Sheikh Abdullah about gender segregation at the masjid.[8] In this issue, she refuses to stay in New Attilan, despite Queen Medusa’s demand that she do so. Kamala’s a rebel with a cause — a good cause. She wants to find her own way, instead of following what others tell her to do. The reader can’t help cheering for her. It’s heartening to see a character from underrepresented demographics standing up for herself and making her own choices. It’s much needed in media and and is done very well here. She gets to be herself, and she’s awesome.

When Kamala and Bruno are in New Attilan, Vinatos offers a hypothesis about why Kamala might be having difficulty with her shape-shifting powers. He suggests that the more Kamala uses her healing abilities, the less she might be able to shape-shift. This offers a challenge that might become relevant in Kamala’s future attempts at superheroics. The even more fascinating part is the metaphor, a suggestion that that accepting oneself, instead of pretending to be what others expect, is a part of healing. Part of Kamala’s story is about her looking up to Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, to such a degree that she subconsciously changed her appearance to look like Carol when her powers first emerged. Throughout the story, Kamala has been learning that she herself can be brave and do good things, that she can take actions that are inspired by the superheroes she admires without looking just like them or hiding who she really is.

After returning home to her concerned family, Kamala is still determined to defeat the Inventor and convinces Vick to take her back to the house outside Greenville. It turns out to be a harvest day, when some of the teenagers are taken to the power plant. The artwork shows a person on a stretcher being brought out of the house. At the end of this issue, Kamala receives a big surprise when the teenagers she’s trying to rescue that house are reluctant to go with her. They’re volunteers, not captives. As I wrote in my review of issue #8,[9] there were hints in previous issues suggesting that the teenagers had voluntarily joined the Inventor, although their specific plans are still mysterious.

I really hope that this story arc goes in an interesting direction. There have been many times while reading this series that a certain subject matter or theme has been introduced and made me nervous, due to concern about how it would be handled. Every time thus far, the creators have exceeded my expectations in their storytelling. I hope that this development of the teenagers joining the Inventor is similarly handled well. Hopefully, we will find out more about them and their motivations. There are many interesting directions that the story could go in, and the reveal at the end of this issue ties in with the larger theme of teenagers trying to find their way and trying to find something to believe.

Generally, this issue was mostly build-up for the rest of the story arc, but the creators working on this series make it fun nonetheless. Kamala finally finds out the source of her powers and meets more Inhumans. There are some character development moments and introductions of new characters who will likely become more significant later. There are some fun references to Star Wars and Halo, showing Kamala’s fan interests, something that her fans will be able to relate to. This story arc is at the halfway point, so I’m hoping that there will be some important developments in the next two issues. I’m looking forward to seeing Kamala’s further interactions with the teenage followers of the Inventor and find out more about the Inventor himself.

Ms. Marvel is one of the comics that I look forward to the most each month; Kamala has quickly become one of my favorite superheroes. The Kamala Korps[10] may be new, but it’s a fandom for one of the best superheroes. I hope her fandom grows and that she is one day counted among the pantheon of the best-loved characters.

[Originally Written: 15 December 2014]

###

References

[1] Wilson, G. Willow; Alphona, Adrian; Herring, Ian; et al. Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #9 “Generation Why, Part Two”. Marvel, 15 October 2014.

[2] Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #9.

[3] Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #9.

[4] EAS. “Book Review: Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #8 “Generation Why, Part One”. Homeworld Journal, 30 May 2016. https://homeworldjournal.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/book-review-ms-marvel-vol-3-8-generation-why-part-one/

[5] Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #9.

[6] EAS. “Book Review: Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #1 “Meta Morphosis”. Homeworld Journal, 17 May 2016. https://homeworldjournal.wordpress.com/2016/05/17/book-review-ms-marvel-vol-3-1-meta-morphosis/

[7] EAS. Book Review: Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #2 “All Mankind”. Homeworld Journal, 22 May 2016. https://homeworldjournal.wordpress.com/2016/05/22/book-review-ms-marvel-vol-3-2-all-mankind/

[8] 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/

[9] EAS. Book Review: Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #8 “Generation Why, Part One”. Homeworld Journal, 30 May 2016. https://homeworldjournal.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/book-review-ms-marvel-vol-3-8-generation-why-part-one/

[10] Oler, Tammy. “Marvelous: Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel are changing the way readers (and publishers) think about who can be a superhero”. Slate, 7 April 2014. Retrieved on 15 December 2014 from http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2014/04/kamala_khan_as_ms_marvel_and_carol_danvers_as_captain_marvel_female_nonwhite.html.

Advertisements