In “Ms. Marvel” #7 by G. Willow Wilson and Jacob Wyatt, Kamala and Wolverine team up to fight off the Inventor’s giant mutant sewer alligator. The plot itself is an extremely straightforward team-up scenario, but the delight is in the details.
As usual, Wilson’s characterization and dialogue shine. Kamala is at once distinctive and relatable, and this team-up is a joy to read. It’s neither contrived nor predictable, two common pitfalls for team-up stories. Kamala’s starstruck glee is especially funny set in contrast to Wolverine’s grumpy and bemused reactions. Wolverine’s rapport with Kamala is squee-inducing without going over the top.
As part of Kamala’s arc as a superhero, “Ms. Marvel” #6 and #7 are an inflection point for her. First she gets good advice from Sheikh Abdullah, and now she receives sound guidance from Wolverine, both of them nudging her towards self-knowledge and confidence.
Wilson and Wyatt expertly balance Kamala’s confiding in Wolverine with the rhythm of the fight with the gator and then in their journey around the sewers. The pacing and action flow naturally, with the suspense coming from the reader’s interest in the conversation rather than the external threat.
The Inventor is a hilarious concept for a villain, but he’s beside the point. In the last issue, Sheikh Abdullah advised Kamala that “when the student is ready, the master will appear.” The Inventor and his mutant gator are merely a convenient and colorful way to for them to meet.
Wyatt’s art is a great match for Wilson’s scripts in sensibility — it’s light, casual and effective, with a perfect grasp of the humor, pacing, and attention to character. The body language is superb in “Ms. Marvel” #7. Wyatt doesn’t beat Adrian Alphona on attention to detail, but he has strengths of his own, namely a lightness of touch that give “Ms. Marvel” #7 extra bounce. Sometimes he draws Kamala almost chibe-style for greater emotional or humorous effect.
Wyatt’s sense of design particularly shines in the full-page spread where Kamala and Wolverine travel upwards through sewer pipes to the top of the page. He’s also good with action and takes full advantage of the non-talking-heads setup that the Inventor and his “megagator” provide. His figures lean towards being static-feeling in action scenes, but his panel flow is so fluid that one hardly notices. His composition is also excellent, with dramatic and beautiful layouts for both page and panel.
Herring’s color work is gorgeous. The bulk of the color scheme is based on complementary soft warm reds and aqua greens, with pops of blue and yellow. He brings a lot to the look of the comic. A more standard palette with primary colors or neons would be much too harsh in “Ms. Marvel.”
“Ms. Marvel” actually loses some juice when the Inventor shows his beaky face. His evil plan will amuse “Star Wars” fans, but there’s almost no suspense. The discovery of Julie is sobering and has some impact due to Wyatt’s composition skills, but Kamala and Wolverine’s interactions are so strong that a traditional dramatic climax can’t compete.
For the transition scene at the end, Herring sticks to the red and green color scheme, but tips it towards the cool end. Wyatt also makes a tonal shift into mystery instead of humor. Their combined efforts on the flaming red hair of Medusa and the architecture of Attilan are very pretty and eerie. The cliffhanger on the final page promises more hi-jinks and another meet-up for Kamala.
Wilson’s “Ms. Marvel” is a classic coming of age story, but everything else about it feels unpredictable and fresh, particularly in the texture of Kamala’s background and everyday life and in the charm of her personality. The ease and the sheer pleasure of “Ms. Marvel” makes it one of the best comics Marvel is putting out right now.