Ms Marvel #18 Review

Writer: G. Willow Wilson / Artists: Francesco Gaston, Ian Herring / Marvel Comics

I have been waiting for the “What’s Bruno doing in Wakanda” issue for, what…8 issues now? Now we know. He’s been schooling up in Golden City Polytechnic Prep, studying engineering. How are things going for the only white boy in school?

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Not so good. Remember that in the course of helping Kamala fight the junior Captain Marvel corp during Civil War II, Bruno was caught in an explosion and permanently lost the use of his left arm and leg (Issue #10-11). Here In issue #18, a story that is usually about a Pakistani-American learning to be happy in New Jersey is now about an Italian-American learning to be happy in Wakanda. Wilson brings the same themes and the same attitude to bear, letting the reader grow with Bruno as what he assumes to be true at the beginning doesn’t hold up by the end.

Being the go-along to get-along type, Bruno quickly gets wrapped up in his roommate Kwezi’s pursuit of a girlfriend, which, mysteriously, involves breaking into the local Golden City Advanced Research center.
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Woven into this adventure are tidbits of Wakandan history and culture, references to their famous arrogance and demonstrations of their science. If you’re the Ms Marvel fan who isn’t reading Black Panther, this is a good introduction to the outlines of the Golden City (Birnin Zana to the locals), and an invitation to pick up that comic as well. (We’ll just overlook the fact that you may not be reading BP. I mean, mistakes get made.)

The art in this issue, even though it is by Gaston and not the usual Miyazawa, keeps the soft tones of the usual comics. Gaston also does a great job of giving Wakanda an air of opulence and also modernity. This is a modern city like any other…just a little better.

Speaking of Wakanda and Black Panther, yes he does make an appearance, overseeing the real reveal of the issue: wrapped up within their attitudes and their tech, the people of Wakanda have grown attached to their weird American. So Bruno’s going to stay a while. Maybe we’ll keep getting these glimpses of his life as interludes between Kamala’s arcs. Maybe we’re seeing a new super genius teen team-up develop in Bruno and Kwezi. Either way, you’ll enjoy this stand-alone issue for Ms. Marvel. There’s no previous knowledge about Wakanda required. Just sit back and let Wilson do what she does best — tell a perfect tale in under 32 pages.

9 Cousins of the King out of 10

Reading Ms. Marvel? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.

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