Even by the covers you can tell the artwork between these two volumes are vastly different. For me, Wilson and Alphona are my favorite writer/artist team. I feel like the lines are less defined when Miyazawa gets involved and that’s not really my jam.
Story wise, these both still are hitting the mark. I think these volumes are marvelous, and a natural and good continuation of the Ms. Marvel story. One thing I found difficult at certain points, however, is that they are within the Marvel universe, so if you don’t know what is going on there, they get frustratingly vague and confuddled at certain parts. Especially towards the beginning of Volume 5. But let me get more specific.
Volume 4 is split between the storyline of Ms. Marvel, and a fun little side adventure with Spiderman at the end. I think this ordering was done badly. It makes more sense to read the two issues of Spiderman first, in terms of chronological plot, and then read the Ms. Marvel, as certain references didn’t make sense the other way around. For example, in Spiderman, Kamala says she hasn’t met Captain Marvel yet, whereas in volumes 16 though 19 of Ms. Marvel the Captain is an active character. Also, there are many comments on Kamala’s inability to fully control her powers, whereas, in the Kamala Last Days comics, Captain Marvel comments on how far Kamala has come in her ability to control them. It was annoying, since it seemed so simple to switch them.
It meant a lot to me that Volume 4 started with Kamala mourning after Kamran’s betrayal. In books it’s so easy for people to make the characters jump back to normal like nothing happened, but I needed to see Kamala mourn, and I was pleased that was delivered.
I also enjoyed the in detail interactions that Kamala is able to have with her family and Bruno in Volume 4, both of which I thought was necessary, not only for character development, but also in the development as Kamala as a hero. I especially enjoyed the interaction she had with her mom, highlighting the differences between her relationship with her mom versus her dad, which felt very familiar for me. I think positive familial ties are important to highlight in Muslim families. It frustrates me as a Muslim, how many Americans are still caught up in the stereotypes that women are held so below men in Muslim culture that positive family relationships are impossible, which has been so far from my experience. I have a great relationship with my parents, so it meant a lot to me that Kamala did too.
Also shout out to the random Guyanese flag featured in one frame of this volume.
Volume 5 made a great leap. It went from Kamala schoolgirl waiting for death to Ms. Marvel avenger waiting for the next adventure. It was weird making that leap, being someone who does not keep up with the Marvel universe. I had no idea how the two realities fixed each other. But, I guess it did and life moved on. Again, the main plot line of this is Ms. Marvel trying to juggle what others expect of her and what she can reasonably do, showing her struggle isn’t over on that front, but overall, this volume was cute and pleasant to read. No major enemy, other than time management.
I loved the romances in this volume, especially her brother’s, and I liked the realistic calling out of Kamala’s parents racism, but also how they took it in stride and moved forward, showing that even old-fashioned people are open to change under the right circumstances, which I’ve found true without the Muslim culture I grew up in.
Mike is my new favorite character, sorry Nakia. She is so perfect, although I can easily see Kamala becoming an issue in Mike and Bruno’s relationship. I just hope this doesn’t turn into a love triangle situation, because I HATE love triangles with a passion.
So, in summation, other than minor technical difficulties, Ms. Marvel is still perfection and worth the read.