“Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant” #1

By | August 31st, 2023
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

Welcome to the X-Men, Kamala Khan. As if being a teenager and an Inhuman wasn’t enough, now Ms. Marvel has to contend with death and resurrection . . . as a mutant.  This makes studying for biology and driver’s ed child’s play in comparison.

Cover by Sara Pichelli

Written by Iman Vellani and Sabir Pirzada
Illustrated by Adam Gorham and Carlos Gomez
Colored by Erick Arciniega
Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna

KAMALA KHAN IS BACK…AND SHE’S AN X-MAN! That’s right – the good news is that fresh off her world-saving death, Kamala has been brought back via Krakoan Resurrection Technology! What a way to learn she’s a mutant! The bad news is her debut at the Hellfire Gala didn’t go exactly as planned, and now all of mutantkind are being hunted worldwide! Into this world of hate and fear, Kamala has a secret mission to pull off for the X-Men, all the while struggling to acclimate to this new part of her identity! PLUS: This huge new chapter of Kamala’s story is being co-written by the MCU’s own Kamala, Iman Vellani, and Sabir Pirzada of both DARK WEB: MS. MARVEL and her Disney+ series!

The great George Washington (of the stage) once said, “Dying is easy, young man. Living is harder.”

That’s something Kamala Khan now knows a little too well.

After dying to save the world in “Amazing Spider-Man” #26, Ms. Marvel is back thanks to the wonders of technology. But technology is only good when it works, and Kamala finds herself not only a mutant, but part of a mutantkind seen by the world as Public Enemy No. 1 thanks to a little shady organization called Orchis.  It’s up to Ms. Marvel to save the day for all with Krakoan blood (and probably the rest of the world too, that’s how these things work) . . . but she’s got to do this while balancing her old life as Kamala Khan,  New Jersey teenager.  So she’s high school student taking summer courses at Empire State University by day, and skulking the sewers of New York City at night with the likes of Kitty Pryde, Rasputin, and friends.

And did we mention some really nasty nightmares too?  Even sleep does not bring Kamala any kind of peace.

Dying is easy, young Kamala. Living is definitely harder.

Embracing Ms. Marvel as one of the X-Men brings her into an established continuity that stretches farther and wider than her arms when she shouts “EMBIGGEN.”  There’s enough explanatory matter throughout this issue to bring the reader who isn’t up on the ‘Fall of X’ to speed, but to truly appreciate what she’s up again, you’ll want to read the aforementioned “Amazing Spider-Man” issue, and this year’s “X-Men: Hellfire Gala.”

The other oft-discussed aspect of this new series is part of its writing team: the woman who brought Ms. Marvel to life on TV, Iman Vellani.  With the help of Sabir Pirzada, the script has the same carefree tone as G. Willow Wilson’s series that put Kamala on the map.  You can certainly hear Iman’s voice in the dialogue, and there’s plenty of narration in the right places to give you the right level of insight into her mind.  Placing her in New York City also keeps her close to the people that make her who she is – – best friend Bruno and her family – – while giving her the room for her to grow in her new found family.  It’s something many a college student, heading back to campus in the coming weeks, can certainly understand and appreciate.   It appears though, that they don’t know her new mutant secret, a bit surprising when you recall that her family was more than accepting of her superhero life, once she told them.  One of those barriers comes down at the end of this issue, and you can imagine the others wil soon follow.

There’s a very subtle use of color that shows Kamala’s shift between worlds while remaining in the same city. Her Kamala side is a world in warmer and brighter tones with just a touch of earthiness.  When she’s with the X-Men, color turns cooler and more saturated.  These are subtle but noticeable shifts, which hint that while she’s working hard to keep her mutant side under wraps, they are not too far from each other – – and no doubt will collide more than once.

Continued below

A new identity as a mutant also means a new look.  Ms. Marvel’s suit gets an upgrade to something more polished and slick, as does the rest of her image.  Fans who are used to their Ms. Marvel looking more like your everyday teenager might find a Ms. Marvel that looks a little more out of the pages of Vogue and less like young adult a bit disconcerting.  It’s important to note that her body proportions are still realistic; this isn’t a supermodel look taken to the extreme.  The messiness of Kamala, the imperfections of Kamala, the uniqueness of Kamala, is part of what makes her so endearing, and that’s a bit erased here.

Where the art does excel is in action. Adam Gorham and Carlos Gomez know how to draw action, packing movement in every punch. Both have extensive experience in X-Men comics, so they know how to make their mutants look good. (Yes, I do consider this comment ironic given my gripes about Kamala’s body proportions in the previous paragraph.)  Near the end of this issue Ms. Marvel stretches her arms out to protect her fellow Empire State students in the quad from an exploding Orchis bus, and Gorham and Gomez draw her arms looping around and over each other twice to show just how far she can stretch.  It’s the beauty of the freedom of a two dimensional medium, where you can break the laws of physics and science time and again.

Kamala Khan’s death certainly shook the Marvel universe.  Her resurrection looks poised to do just that, and more.  It’s a new chapter of her story.  And however this ends, it’s good to have my favorite Jersey Girl back.

Final Verdict: 7.2 – Welcome back Ms. Marvel.  We knew you wouldn’t stay away for long.

Kate Kosturski

Kate Kosturski is your Multiversity social media manager, a librarian by day and a comics geek...well, by day too (and by night). Kate's writing has also been featured at PanelxPanel, Women Write About Comics, and Geeks OUT. She spends her free time spending too much money on Funko POP figures and LEGO, playing with yarn, and rooting for the hapless New York Mets. Follow her on Twitter at @librarian_kate.