Writer: G. Willow Wilson / Artist: N. Leon/ Marvel Comics
As you’ll recall from issue #4, our heroine has a problem. She’s got too much to do, and too little time. Her brother is getting married, which brings with it the full weight of social obligations. She’s failing school. She’s got friends she’s neglecting, and of course there’s that awkward thing with Bruno and Mike. And in the midst of all that, what Kamala really wants to be doing is AVENGING!
Cue a solution right out of a 60s sitcom: use Loki’s Golem-making machine to make Kamala copies! Now, we’ve watched enough television to know this ends in tears, but Kamala is not swayed by reason. Resulting in… well… this.
Yeah. Not good. But how not good? When Issue #5 opens, it seems like things are going well. But can we talk about the ninjas in this issue? Are they wearing Crocs? As the story of Ms. Marvel evolves, it becomes less and less about the villains and more about Kamala and her struggles. This has been true in other comics, but this one centers Kamala’s realness, driving a connection between the characters and the audience that I don’t feel in many other mainstream comics. The art choices support this shift in the narrative 100%, while also bringing side commentary designed for the careful reader. Like those Crocs. Or the fact that in every crowd scene, everyone is on their phone, either ignoring the madness around them or taking pictures of it. We all live on the ‘Gram, one way or the other.
Meanwhile, the Kamala golems are attending to all of their mundane duties, which goes sideways quickly and messily.
The totally-predictable-but-hilariously-illustrated consequences of the doubles lead Kamala to a realization we all have at some point. These aren’t simple, answerable questions, not for real-life people and not for Kamala. While she’s fighting the madness of teenage-hood, she’s also standing in for all of us, who want to do it all, who don’t want to give up on our big chance but also are letting their real-lives fall through the cracks as a result. Whoa. This is getting personal.
And now I want to know how it ends. Not because I doubt that Kamala will defeat her own doubles, of course she will. I want to know how she satisfies the need to have them in the first place. What does she give up? Who does she finally have an honest conversation with? What is she going to wear to her brother’s wedding?
8 Doubles out of 10