Well here’s something we haven’t seen in a while, a Last Panel column. That’s mostly due to a lack of things I feel the need to blog about, but also because of school, which thankfully will be over soon, and then I have every intention of posting regularly, which should be helped by a thing that’s in the brainworks, so be on the look out for that in the next few weeks. So with all that nice admin stuff out of the way let’s talk about Ms. Marvel #14.
Its pretty damn near impossible for me to dislike an issue of Ms. Marvel, even when it uses tropes and plots that have been done almost to death; of course Kamala’s male best friend has a crush on her, of course Kamala gets a crush on some other dude who seems totally perfect, of course said perfect guy is also Inhuman, of course he’s also almost definitely not really a good guy. But as with the use of any trope, it’s the details that make things interesting. Sure there are loads of bits and characters and plot points that I’ve seen before in the current “Crushed” arc, but there are also tiny, unique moments that remind me why I love this series so much.
In Ms. Marvel #14, the second part of the three part “Crushed” arc, there’s one scene almost totally unrelated to the plot that gives me loads of respect for writer G. Willow Wilson. In the issue, Kamala’s male best friend/secrect admirer and her brother have a conversation at a bus stop after Kamala gets picked by her Mr. Perfect to go to school. Kamala’s brother, being no idiot, pretty much tells Nico to let his feelings for Kamala go because, while their family respects him, they wouldn’t approve of a relationship between Kamala and the Italian-Catholic Nico. Many a writer, probably even me, would have taken the easy route: have Kamala’s brother basically just say “that’s the way things are”, show that Kamala’s parents are clearly in the wrong, give the typical message that you can love anyone and culture and religion shouldn’t be a barrier to love. However, Wilson didn’t do that, she took a different route. Rather than just portraying Kamala’s family as in the wrong or overly conservative, Wilson has a debate in the pages of the comic. She points out the similarities between Nico’s and Kamala’s immigrant familes, shows that Kamala’s family has respect, and even a bit of admiration for Nico, but that they have concerns of their own. They care about Kamala and don’t want her or her possible children to lose touch with their past and their heritage. They’re immigrants worried about losing their unique identity in a whole new country. This whole scene was just fantastic because there was a super easy way to write it, a way that’s been done a million times, but Wilson didn’t do the expected, she did something ever so slightly different, and for that Ms. Marvel #14 is pretty damn good.