sarah smiles // panic! at the disco


Anthony: “Here’s to another awesome summer, so let’s celebrate by making this party so loud, we’ll be heard throughout the multiverse!”

//  And with that, the Hawaii event is officially over!

Ms. Marvel #10 Review

spoilers spoilers spoilers spoilers spoilers spoilers spoilers spoilers spoilers

Kamala continues to grapple with some tough issues in this tie-in to the Civil War II event from he creative team of G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa, Adrian Alphona, and Ian Herring et al.

The last few issues have seen Kamala recruited into Captain Marvel’s preemptive task-force utilizing Ulysses’ precognitive visions so to stop crimes and disasters before they happen.  Alongside a battalion of junior Carol Corps, Ms Marvel has been successful in stoping a number of tragedies, yet her faith in the mission (as well as that of her hero, Carol Danvers) has begun to waver as she has seen citizens detained without actually committing a crime and denied their rights to due process.

One of these citizens has been Kamala’s friend from school, Josh.  Ulysses’ vision had seen Josh causing a fire at their school that would have cost many students and teachers their lives.  Ms. Marvel and The Carol Cadet squad had interceded and prevented Josh from accidentally causing this fire.  Yet to ensure the vision wouldn’t come to fruition, Josh had to be detained at a facility without legal representation.  
It was all a difficult situation for Kamala, leaving her feeling quite ambivalent.   To make matters worse, the power to arrest and detain culprits had gone to the young Carol Cadets’ heads and they started acting a frighteningly authoritative fashion.  

Bruno, meanwhile, was not going to sit idly by while Josh was left detained without due process.  Taking matters into his own hands, Bruno used a homemade explosive device to try to break into the detention facility.  This device malfunctioned and detonated right in front of Bruno, leaving him severely injured.

This issue begins with a flashback to the day that Kamala and Bruno first met, wonderfully illustrated by Adrian Alphona (so happy to see Winged Sloth back in the pages of MM).  We learn that Bruno and his brother had been placed into foster care with their grandparents due to their mother’s difficulties with substance abuse.   Initially, Kamala is forced by her parents to make friends with Bruno, but the two quickly bond over their mutual love of the ‘Tween Mutant Samurai Turtles’ and a lifelong friendship is born.

Flash forward to the present (just as wonderfully illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa) and poor Bruno is in the intensive care unit, comatose with significant burns over much of the left side of his body.  It is still not clear whether he will survive and, if he does, the extent of the longterm damage.  

Kamala is bereft.  She feels that this is all her fault and now it is up to her to set things right.  She dashes from the ICU and makes her way to the detention facility to shut down the operation and send home Basic Becky as the rest of the Carol Cadets.  Becky does not take kindly to the suggestion and she uses this cool plasma armor generator thingie to fight Ms. Marvel.  

MM ultimately defeats Becky and just then Captain Marvel shows up.  Kamala tries to explain her extreme reservations with the preemptive justice program.  Herein, there is a key piece of dialogue that sums the matter up quite succinctly.  
Kamala says, “this predictive justice stuff isn’t working.  I mean the predictive part is working, but not the justice part.  We’re not creating fewer victims of crime - we’re just creating different victims.”

Unfortunately, Carol is not in a place to hear the good sense Kamala is making.  She’s too invested in the program, tied up with the frictions between her and Tony Stark, as well as broken up over the death of her boyfriend, Jim Rhodes.  Carol needs this to work and she needs Kamala to pull through.  And Kamala is left extremely torn.  Basic Becky, meanwhile, does appear torn at all.  Indeed she utters a comment that suggests may have some nefarious schemes afoot…

As evidenced in an earlier story where Kamala coerced Bruno to engineer clones of her to help her cope with mounting responsibilities, Kamala doesn’t always make the best decisions when she’s under a lot of stress.  And it looks as though she on track to make a similar mistake.  She hatches a scheme to prove the preemptive justice program doesn’t work and she recruited the Canadian ninja super villain, Hijinks, to help.  Of course this is a terrible idea and I can’t imagine how it can possible work out well.

How all of this will pan out remains to be seen and will likely be revealed in the next issue.  For the time being, however, it’s worth noting that Hijinks sports some pretty fly light-blue crocs (which I can only imagine is standard issue garb for Canadian ninja villains (soorry!)).  

Back at the ICU, Kamala comes to visit Bruno who is still in a coma.  She pleads with him to wake up, expresses how much she needs his friendship and guidance in this difficult time.  And just then Bruno crashes and goes into cardiac arrest.  The doctors rush him to the operating room and we’re left with yet another cliffhanger, unsure what is going to happen.  

What an emotional rollercoaster!  The heartwarming scene with Kamala first meeting Bruno; all the fun and silly details that Alphona and Miayzawa add into the illustration; coupled with very tough decisions and dilemmas faced by the characters (quite evocative of pressing real-world concerns); as well as the looming and dreadful prospect that Bruno might not make it.  It all makes for a rather intense issues and reading it is both fun and at the same time disquieting.  

Wilson and company continue to do an excellent job of capturing the very difficult conflict at the heart of the Civil War II thematic.  Predictive crime prevention can work, I’m sure is has worked, but there is always going to be innocent victims and individuals who are unfairly profiled.  Do we choose liberty over safety?  The quick and easy answer is ‘no’ sacrificing liberty for safety is simply unAmerican.  Yet those who have been personally effected by a terrorist act or a mass murder might not be so quick to come to that same conclusion.  
Kamala is against this preemptive crime prevention initiative because she’s seen how Josh was so unjustly treated and how it led to Bruno being critically, perhaps fatally injured.  And yet, would she still feel that way had Josh not been stopped?  What would be her take on the matter had Josh accentually set that fire and so many of Kamala’s classmates and teachers perished in the ensuing fire?  There’s no way to know.  There are no easy answers…

All of this is occurring in the backdrop of real world matters that are equally as nebulous and difficult to navigate.  And oddly enough, it brings me a sense of solace to see Kamala struggling with these matters alongside me.  

Another home run from G. Willow Wilson and the team.  Very highly recommended.  Four and a half out of Five Lockjaws.