Review: Ms. Marvel #13
Man, I wish the real presidential election (And some of the local elections in my state/district) was like this special Election Day themed issue of Ms. Marvel #13, which contains an honest-to-Lockjaw PSA on the various ways to register to vote and features an upset victory for a progressive, Jersey City librarian over the perfectly named Chuck Worthy, one of Dr. Faustus’ HYDRA henchmen from a previous storyline. But before Stella Marchesi can win, Ms. Marvel has to put away the punching and polymorphing and become a community organizer. Writer G. Willow Wilson, artist Mirka Andolfo, and colorist Ian Herring use the superhero and teen romantic comedy genres to spin a tale of political revolution within the democratic republican system of the United States.
Andolfo brings some fun, manga-infused art to balance the heavier political themes plus all the angst about Kamala betraying her best friend Bruno and him leaving after the Civil War II tie-in arc. Speed lines and sweat drops are her storytelling bread and butter. However, she doesn’t skimp on detail either as evidence by the textured hairstyles of various characters, especially Gabriel, a new student at Kamala’s school, who is also her brother’s wife’s little brother. Drama definitely ensues when they bump into each other, and Andolfo and Herring are there with bright colors, big expressions of anger and pining (Poor Zoe gazing at Nakia.) , and some creative stretching during this issue’s all too brief fight sequence between her and a knock-off lightsaber wielding HYDRA goon, who is trying to hinder her organization.
By minimizing the role of action in this issue, Wilson stresses the point of voting’s importance to effect change in a peaceful not involving vigilantism. And this applies to the real world because Donald Trump probably won the 2016 US presidential election because of non-voters, and Worthy’s strategy is to take advantage of the low turnout for local elections and win by redistricting Jersey City in a classic move of political corruption. Kamala’s friend, the teen polymath (and ex of Bruno) Mike, acts as the brains of the organization helping her with political terms like “gerrymandering” while Ms. Marvel acts as the face of the movement showing the power of iconic symbols to motivate people. This also allows them to continue to be friends even after Bruno’s departure, and Wilson includes scenes of her bonding with Mike and Gabriel to show that between the investigating and rallying that Kamala still has time to be a teenager.
It’s very idealistic compared to the United States’ current political reality, but Ms. Marvel #13 is a powerful rallying cry for political change via local elections. And G. Willow Wilson, Mirka Andolfo, and Ian Herring keep the narrative entertaining and not overly PSA-esque by combining political themes, superhero hijinks, and teen angst in a similar manner to the gentrification plot in the first arc of this volume.
Ms. Marvel #13 is a light bit of progressive superhero fantasy in a world that desperately needs it. It’s the 2016 equivalent of the famous 1940 Captain America Comics #1 cover, which featured Cap punching out Hitler, but its post-Election Day release date makes the comic bittersweet.
Story: G. Willow Wilson Art: Mirka Andolfo Colors: Ian Herring
Story: 9 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review