The hits just keep on coming in Ms. Marvel #9 as Kamala fights to save her school despite her failing healing factor. With her classmate still in the crosshairs of the Inventor’s giant robot, she sends Lockjaw for help, only to find herself teleported away to New Attilan by Medusa herself. Kamala’s world is about to be shaken once again in this issue from series writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona, only to find there’s more to her and her new villain than meets the eye.
In Medusa’s care, Kamala learns the truth of her superhero origins. She’s not the mutant she thought she was, but instead an Inhuman whose powers were activated by Black Bolt’s Terrigen Bomb. This revelation makes Kamala feel more alone than she already did as a Pak-American mutant, throwing her alien ancestry and the uncertain future of the Inhuman people atop her growing pile of weird. Clever quips and references pepper this sequence, keeping this dramatic reveal light and in-character for the nerdy outsider Kamala. Also very true to character, she remains determined to stop the Inventor, despite the urgings of her friend Bruno and the assurances of Medusa and Vinatos, and teleports back to Jersey City with Lockjaw.
After a reconciliation with her parents, Ms. Marvel’s back on the street, staking out the Inventor’s operation. As another test subject is moved from the house to the power plant, Kamala and Lockjaw spring into action. Alphona delivers truly impressive fight, rendering this scene and the opening mecha brawl with well-paced action and incredible line work. The colorful and frenzied assault on the Inventor’s army of machines proves futile, however, as other test subjects emerge from the house to tell her that they’re all volunteers. The very people she came to save are there by choice, blowing a hole in her rescue mission as the issue draws to an unexpected close.
What I appreciate most about this title is Wilson’s commitment to Kamala’s growth, and this issue is no exception. Every storyline throws new obstacles her way, new challenges to overcome a she finds her footing as a hero. She makes many mistakes along the way, but is always given the chance to learn from them, while a less conscientious writer would try to mitigate her failures or brush them aside. This why Kamala feels like the most organic and relatable young hero that I’ve encountered in a very long time, and Wilson keeps this tale of growing pains fresh issue after issue through the sheer strength of her storytelling chops. Combined with Alphona’s incredible line work and Herring’s soft, dreamy color palettes, Ms. Marvel #9 is another great issue from an amazing creative team.