Okay, for that actual arc finale this week, we get a bunch of Kamala learning valuable hero lessons while deliberately trying to use her powers in a way that she’s not used them before.
If the last issue was about Wilson laying out the general theme and (for lack of a better word) moral of this story–that younger generations shouldn’t be judged unfairly by older ones, especially when older humans have a horrible track record of leaving social messes for their kids to clean up–then this one serves primarily to give the necessary heroic resolution. The Inventor gets his comeuppance after being Kamala’s primary antagonist for nearly a year’s worth of issues, and we see Kamala have another epiphany about what it means to be a hero.
To cover the relatively mundane stuff first, Kamala confronts the Inventor, who has kidnapped most of her classmates, including Nakia, and plugged them into his giant power grid for megalomaniacal reasons. Because it’s been thoroughly established by this point that the Inventor knows Kamala’s major weakness (she can’t shape shift immediately after she’s been electrocuted), Kamala finds herself in a series of tight spots where she has to rely on the help of the teens she rescued from the Inventor’s safe house in the previous issue, Lockjaw, and ultimately Bruno and the police. Given that the arc of Kamala’s first year of stories has been all about her growing into her Ms. Marvel identity and contemplating what it means to be a hero, this last lesson that she doesn’t have to save the day all by herself is a nice one. Being okay with relying on your support network is a good skill to develop even outside superheroics, and given the generally positive worldview of the book, it makes sense with Kamala’s character that she would embrace this community oriented vision of doing good.
In a small parallel to that, it’s nice to see this last issue of the arc feature Bruno finally being included in Kamala’s plans. Many issues ago the two of them established a code for how Kamala can call for help, and up to this point she’s not really made use of it. Combined with Bruno’s small complaints about how Kamala gets to go do all the exciting stuff, it’s pleasant to see him finally being able to do the job he’s been trying to do for a while. Maybe he’ll finally stop running headlong into danger to try to protect Kamala (yeah right).
One other good bit of character development comes from Vick. Bruno’s screw up brother has been Kamala’s sort of mascot through most of her adventures up to this point (even more so than Lockjaw; at least the dog actually does useful stuff in action situations). He’s a bit of comic relief, often getting into trouble that requires Kamala to rescue him. In this issue Vick comes into his own as the de facto leader of the teens while Kamala is busy fighting the Inventor’s machines. He distracts the big robot of the issue for a while so Kamala is able to save Nakia from the Grid tubes, and then when Kamala needs to call for backup, it’s Vick who goes to get Lockjaw to bust her out. He’s still a pretty big doofus, but Vick grows on me in this issue.
Like with other climax issues, I’m not super excited about everything that’s going on here. What’s appealing about Ms. Marvel as a book are the character dynamics and Kamala’s growth as a hero. She grows a little bit here, which is fantastic, but it’s a very brief part of a twenty-something page issue.
- Coin slot on the Inventor’s Grid tending robots
- Dude wrapped head to toe in bandages
- Skeleton with umbrella
- “Dropkick Enthusiast”
- “Bears Do It Too”
- “Kamala is a calling”
- “Bigfoot: Ghost Hunter”
- “Top Dropkicks of 2014”
- “Introducing: The Bangladeshi Nut Blaster”
- “Dropkick a Bison in 3 Steps”
- “School of Kung Fu Treachery”
- “Roundhouse Cola”
- The big splash page of Kamala winding through the robot gears is inverted
- “Sal’s Used Cheese”
- “Radoslav’s Soul Food”
- “Bobby Beisbol”
- Pixel Art Ms. Marvel inside the robot button label
- “Nuke it”
- Girl with hammers excitedly showing her hammers to the police