Even though Saladin Ahmed’s run on the character recently ended, there may be no better time to be a Ms. Marvel fan, as The Marvels was recently announced and the TV show costume leaked online. Collected in a third volume this week, Ms. Marvel must combat Kamala’s Law in “Outlawed.” It’s a story about fighting for what you know is right even if it’s against the law, and it captures Ms. Marvel’s fighting spirit and inability to stand down. It may be the end of the Magnificent Ms. Marvel run, but there is no way it’s the end of Ms. Marvel comics.
This trade paperback collects issue #13-18 and not only features the main “Outlawed” storyline, but also introduces a new hero named Amulet. The character is an inspired introduction as he’s a Lebanese American, has powers and symbology are tied to the Middle East, and he serves as a solid backup to Ms. Marvel. He pops in and out of the story in this collection and always serves to put a smile on your face due to his positivity and cartoonishly large body.
As the flow of the story goes, Ahmed clearly was planning some things that had to be tabled and then eventually dropped. The book opens on an issue that was released right before the pandemic shut everything down. The “Outlawed” storyline, which was planned to be a mini-event, was eventually scaled back and ended up not mattering all that much. That said, you can feel the true purpose of the event in this collection.
Spinning out of Outlawed #1, Ms. Marvel is concussed and half her school is destroyed. She wakes up in a hospital and finds out her name is being used for a new law that outlaws teen superheroes. She refuses to hang up her tights and is soon being hunted by the government. Ahmed uses Dum Dum Dugan as her main antagonist, and their battling takes an interesting turn. The event seems to wrap up all too quickly, but the main idea is conveyed well due to Ms. Marvel’s ferocious inability to simply retire.
Bookending this read, you can tell there were story ideas dropped, or thrown in before the book got canceled. Ms. Marvel’s love interest, for instance, has a spicy turn in the first issue but is wrapped up rather quickly later on. The final issue deals with a previous threat Ms. Marvel had to face and we get to see how she defeats it using her friends. It’s a cute story that connects well to Ms. Marvel’s teen roots, but it also seems sudden and thrown in.
This volume is drawn by Joey Vazquez for the first issue and Minkyu Jung for the remaining five, with inks by Juan Vlasco and Jung and colors by Ian Herring. The art throughout suits a teen character like Ms. Marvel very well. It has an energy and indie vibrancy that isn’t shiny or rippling with musculature, but a more humble lived-in world with a cartoony touch. The absurdity of how Ms. Marvel’s powers work never feels over the top or silly. She can bend herself in strange ways, or even turn her hands into buckets for people to escape in, but that weirdness is translated well so it feels heroic. Ms. Marvel runs the gamut of emotions in this book and they all feel honest and true.
It’s sad to know there is no longer an ongoing Ms. Marvel comic, but so it goes with serial storytelling. Ahmed had a good run and was able to close the door on key story elements while introducing a new Middle Eastern superhero. This volume also captures the incredible passion Ms. Marvel has for saving others and being selfless. For those reasons, this is a must-read Ms. Marvel storytelling.
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