October 13, 2016

Review: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I reviewed the previous Ms. Marvel, Last Days, I noted that the series had regained its usual quality following what I felt was a disappointing third volume, Crushed. This installment completes this return to form, taking its place alongside my favorite so far of the series, Generation Why.

I must admit that I haven't (so far) read any of the other relevant Marvel storylines, so I have no idea what went into Kamala Khan's becoming an Avenger. Not to worry. G. Willow Wilson does an admirable job of compressing these outside developments into three finely-drawn pages, and then we go back to the themes that make Super Famous such an excellent addition to the series.

In this volume, Kamala is torn between her duties as an Avenger and her family and friends. We realize, before she does, that she is stretching herself way too thin, and is trying, as she says, to be "too many things to too many people." Before this is resolved at the end, we are treated to two entertaining stories that drive the point home. In the first, her best friend Bruno (who she told in Last Days she couldn't be with because she had to devote herself to being Ms. Marvel) finds a girlfriend, Michaela "Mike" Miller. (By the way, Mike is an awesome addition to the series, and I hope we see more of her.) There is a bit of complicated arglebargle about Jersey City being taken over by a development company, Hope Yards, which turns out to be a front for the Avengers' old enemy, Hydra. Kamala and Mike work together to defeat Hydra (at least this time) and send it scurrying, but the tension between Kamala's private and superhero lives is driven home.

In the second story, Kamala's brother Aamir meets a young woman named Tyesha and wants to get married. Kamala's attempts to continue in school, help with the planning of her brother's wedding, and bust Jersey City's bad guys lead her to create copies of herself, aka "golems," so she can be in three places at once. This, of course, gets out of hand, and she ends up fighting a giant version of herself, and calling in Captain Marvel and Iron Man to help her out.

(Yes, Tony Stark has a couple of brief cameos here. These lead to the single funniest panel in the entire book, where he folds his arms, looks down at Kamala, and demands an explanation: "Spill it. Whatever it is. Otherwise, you're gonna have to explain the whole thing to Patriot Pants, and you know how he is." One can only imagine Robert Downey Jr. delivering this line.)

After taking in Carol Danvers' advice, Kamala realizes where her priorities lie. The themes of home and family espoused here may be simple, but sometimes the most basic ideas are the most powerful. In any case, Super Famous is delightful, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

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