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Saturday
Mar162019

The Magnificent Ms. Marvel#1 : Directors Cut Review

This is the 1st issue of the newest Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan series.  Her previous one ended last month with the writer that is best known for writing her G. Willow Wilson finishing her run with the character(Ms. Wilson is now working on Wonder Woman for DC Comics).  Before I begin I should give a brief rundown on just who is Kamala Khan.  

 

Kamala is a teenage girl from Jersey City New Jersey who is a HUGE superhero fan.  One day while stumbling home from a party she wasn’t supposed to go to.  She gets hit by the Inhumans “Terrigen Mist”.  Since she has Inhuman biology she gained stretching and size changing superpowers(she can shape shift to look like other people but she RARELY uses that ability).  Because of her love of superheroes and admiration of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel she decides to use her new powers to help the world at large and Jersey City in particular!

 

THE STORY-

The issue begins on some alien planet in the future where a dad tells the story of the “Earth’s greatest hero” Ms. Marvel.  Uh, yeah it looks like the writer Saladin Ahmed is going to use “THAT” type of storytelling framing device.  *sigh*  Anyway over the course of the issue we see her fight a villain, recap how she got her powers(in only 3 panels, pretty impressive!)argue with her parents, fight another villain and see some gloop!  You’ll know what I mean when you read the issue.

 

REVIEW

 

The issue is basically a day in the life of Kamala.  Hanging out with friends, fighting villains and dealing with trouble at home. Art wise it looks good and no one suffers from the same face different character syndrome. Everyone resembles their original character designs and artists Minkyu Jung & Juan Vlasco are able to put their own spin on the designs.  That said I have a couple of issues with the art. One, the coloring at times is a bit off.  Since Kamala and her family are dark skin you’d expect their skin color to be various shades of brown.  Except unless my eyes or deceiving there are times when they appear to be red.  I’m starting to get flashbacks from “New Mutants: The Demon Bear Saga” again!

 

The other problem I have with the art is that it appears to be too conventional.  It reminds me of the old DC comics “house style”.  That isn’t inherently wrong it’s just that since her debut issue in 2014 she has had more compelling art style in her series.  An great example of this would the final issue of her last series.  Several artists worked on it(I believe they were all of her previous artists).  Each style was unique and striking.  I’ll give the series a few issues to see if the art work grows on me.  Maybe Minkyu Jung & Juan Vlasco art well also evolve during that time as well.

 

Writing wise the plot is just okay.  While the cliffhanger is really interesting but I’ve already notice a problem.  Kamala Khan.  Right out of the gate the previous writer G. Willow Wilson made Kamala a fun and engaging character.  She was funny, energetic, a bit of dork, could be moody but also had a lot of heart.  She resembled Peter Parker but in a different way(if that makes any sense).  Here as in also the “CHAMPIONS” series she seems WAY too serious.  When G. Willow Wilson isn’t writing her it seems writers try to make her character resemble Carol Danvers.  Yes, Kamala is probably Carol’s biggest fan(Kamala took over her previous moniker) but that doesn’t mean she should be written like her.  After all Peter Parker and Frank Castle both admire Captain America but they don’t have the same personality as him.

 

EXTRAS - 

 

The Directors Cut is 119 pages long and includes a few variant covers, thumbnails, character designs and cover sketches.  What is interesting is that the original script is put in here as an extra.  To also pad out the issue the art process is in here.  By that I mean the original pencils then the inks and then finally the color.  I’m not sure how many people are going to like that but as an artist I find it interesting to see how much an inker can change another artist(the penciler)work.

 

Is the book and extra’s worth the 3.99 price? I’d say yes.  Comics already now days cost 3.99(4 bucks)so to get anything else along with that is a plus.  That said I wish there were more.  Example how about a an interview with G. Willow Wilson before she leaves and an interview with the oncoming writer.  This is a bit of a nitpick since in the final issue 38(February 2019) the oncoming writer and G. Willow Wilson both wrote some parting words.  Another thing I wanted to see was maybe some artwork done of the character by other artists and maybe perhaps showing people cosplay as her.  How about as well showing letters from fans of Kamala telling what she means to them and their favorite stories of her.

 

The extras of the book seemed like a missed opportunity.

 

RECOMMEND/GRADE:  I’d give this issue a C.

 

This issue has an interesting plot point introduced(which has been spoiled by Marvel Comics in promotion for this issue)the problem I see coming from this issues cliff hanger however is that there is going to be an ultra serious tone for this series.  That’s not what made the previous iteration of the series so good.  Yes there were serious moments but there were also heartwarming ones, bittersweet ones, humorous ones and just fun and heart.  The previous writer and artists had an obvious affection for the character that I’m not sure that the current creative team has.

 

It just seems that after the previous run this one will just go a very conventional or rote route.  The previous run would tweak conventions.  Heck one of Kamala’s first villains (“The Inventor”) is a human size bird that is the clone of Thomas Edison for crying out loud!

 

You know I keep referring back to the previous run of the character and issue # 38 in particular.  While that might not seem fair I think it is.  Every issue of the last year hasn’t been stellar but was still good and the final issue really shows off the best parts of the series and the title character.  Kamala Khan is a likable relatable character.  She’s not a miniature version of Carol Danvers.  She’s her own being.

 

For those interested in the character I say before you read “The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1” read her final issue (38) from her previous series(it’s still available at comic shops and on digital from comixology.com).  That will give you a great idea about the character.  After that if you like the issue and want more then check out the first trade of her first series “MS. MARVEL Vol. 1: NO NORMAL”.  Which I did a review of back in 2015( shameless plug…) but seriously it’s a good story to start off with.

 

I will give this new series a chance though.  I’ll stick on for the first off and hopefully it will get better.

 *music used Indie & Thinking Back

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