Out this week in a smaller-sized edition is the Ms. Marvel: Game Over trade paperback, collecting 11 issues from G. Willow Wilson’s iconic run. Picking up a Ms. Marvel collection is like picking up treasure. The character is so new, developments in her powers, her relationships, and her wins all add to the development of the character as a whole. Ms. Marvel is a wholesome, incredibly unique hero, one who is needed in today’s stable of heroes. That shows when reading this collection.
This collection opens with the fantastic gerrymandering issue, has a four-issue story arc involving a computer virus, a four-issue arc involving a classmate turned supervillain, and a two-parter involving Kareem. Throw in a side adventure with Bruno in Wakanda and you’ve got a nice assortment of stories here.
The computer virus story, originally titled “Damage Per Second”, is a good example of how Wilson ties Kamala Khan’s personal life into her superhero exploits. She’s part of a guild in an MMO similar to World of Warcraft, but after a session one her friends mentions where she lives. It’s creepy and odd, but soon she discovers the danger isn’t from her friend, but a virus who took over this character. This leads to Kamala discovering some incredible abilities of the enemy and ultimately trusting her friends to help take the virus out. The fact that Kamala uses the power of positivity to take out this vile virus is only icing on the cake.
The second, lengthier story arc features a mysterious new villain that gives Ms. Marvel a run for her money. This story arc plays up to Ms. Marvel learning how to control her powers, which further cements the fact that she’s always changing and learning. The big reveal as to who the person is under the mask also further connects Ms. Marvel’s personal life to her superhero work. She may have fantastical powers, but more often than not she’s fighting crime that connects to her and her community in a deep way.
All told, Wilson is very good at tying a high school kid’s life into local exploits that don’t feel too easy or too hard for her to master. The stakes are always present, but they’re also grounded enough to be understandable and relatable for a younger audience. Much like Spider-Man was for younger readers in the ’60s, this collection shows how Ms. Marvel can be that kind of hero for a modern audience.
Art duties are split between Mirka Andolfo and Takeshi Miyazawa in the opening issue, Miyazawa on the first four-parter, Francesco Gaston on the one-shot Wakanda adventure, Marco Failla on the second four-parter, and Diego Olortegui on the final two-part story. Since there’s a clear distinction between each story, the art changes aren’t jarring. Plus, Ian Herring colors the entire book, bringing a similar look and atmosphere to every scene. It’s interesting to look at the art without the words to see how each artist brings something a little different. The book starts off in a cartoony place, moves to a more detailed place (somewhat ironically, when video games are involved) gets a bit more cartoony in Wakanda, takes a darker tone in the second four-part story, and then dives into some beautifully detailed illustrated style in the last two issues. Each artist brings something different to the book and each artist helps connect readers to the youthfulness of Ms. Marvel.
By the end of this collection, it’s fairly obvious this is a character with a good heart, but also the superhero embodiment of hope. She supplies the hope people need to try a little harder, or believe in themselves — or their community — a little bit more.
Ms. Marvel: Game Over is a great collection filled with hope, positivity and a hero who truly lives in a world outside our window. Pick this one up for a younger reader or just nab it for yourself — anyone and everyone will enjoy Ms. Marvel.
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