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Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace #4
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace’ #4 perfectly sets up Kamala’s newest era while honoring her past

‘I like who I am. I’m PROUD of who I am!’

Kamala Khan… is she a mutant? An Inhuman? Or simply a Pakistani-American girl growing up in New Jersey? The final issue of Sabir Pirzada and Iman Vellani’s Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace attempts to re-center Kamala’s shifting identity amidst her recent struggles, and successfully honors her complex past while paving a way forward for her future at Marvel. With truly gorgeous art from Scott Godlewski and Erick Arciniega and lettering by Joe Caramagna, Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace #4 is a perfect end to Ms. Marvel’s role in the X-Men’s Krakoan Age, while revealing Kamala’s secret mutant power in an impressive show of non-cringey MCU synergy.

Ms. Marvel has been on a journey of deep and fascinating exploration since the X-Men revived her during the 3rd Annual Hellfire Gala and told her that she was the world’s first identified mutant-Inhuman hybrid. Kamala’s Inhuman identity has been core to her character since her debut, yet many fans assumed her mutant retcon was coming, seeing as the Kamala Khan of the MCU was revealed to be a mutant in her Disney+ series. The limited series Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace is co-written by Iman Vellani, the actor who portrays Kamala in the MCU, and the talented young woman has given an impressive voice to Kamala in the comics.

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Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace #4

Marvel Comics

Ms. Marvel’s journey as an X-Man started in Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant, where she collaborated with the underground X-Men resistance battling against the villainous forces of Orchis. While at a summer program at Empire State University, Kamala was hounded by Omega Sentinel and Nitika Gaiha, the latter of whom has continued to haunt the young hero. Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace picks up directly after The New Mutant, and sees Kamala continue to fight against new and old X-Men foes, while dealing with her polymorph powers on the fritz, making her spasm and melt in times of stress.

Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace #4 continues Kamala’s adventure after her biggest power spasm yet, which happens as she and Red Dagger battle a group of zombified X-Men. Thankfully, the Inhumans arrive in time to help Kamala figure out her powers and hopefully save her life. Medusa, Queen of the Inhumans, gets the most time on page since 2018’s Death of the Inhumans, and it is wonderful to see her back, alongside Karnak and the ever-lovable Lockjaw. Medusa unveils a major revelation, telling Kamala that the reason her powers are out of whack is because when the X-Men resurrected her, they didn’t expose her body to Terrigen, so her body has been using her Inhuman abilities without having undergone Terrigenesis.

Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace #4

Marvel Comics

Having just re-read both volumes of A-Force (because it is amazing), I was just really delighted to see the harsh, powerful intensity of Medusa back on the page. And Lockjaw should be in every comic, that is just a fact. The Inhumans are able to save Kamala by inducing Terrigenesis (which causes her to have a lovely and insightful visit with her beloved Ammi). Sadly, they inform her that this process has “attacked” her X-Gene, meaning it could be a long while until her mutant power can finally activate. But fear not, the big mystery of Ms. Marvel’s mutant ability does not stay secret, after a zombie version of Kamala herself quickly assaults Jersey City!

Here is where the true MCU synergy comes in, and having Iman Vellani be one of the writers on this issue makes it extra special. Vellani is a Marvel superfan, so she knows how important Kamala’s identity and power set are to her readers, and her and Pirzada do a wonderful job of introducing Ms. Marvel’s MCU ability while keeping her polymorph powers. Nitika Gaiha finally reveals herself to Kamala, explaining that the zombie-Khan is using Ms. Marvel’s mutant ability, the power to use “hard light” as an extension of her polymorph powers. It is a wonderful way to give the comics Kamala the hard light powers of her MCU counterpart, while making them a part of her Inhuman abilities, instead of taking her Inhuman abilities away.

Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace #4

Marvel Comics

This is often the best a fan can hope for when MCU synergy induces changes in comics canon. Kamala’s past, present, and future are all still grounded in her origin and development, just now her character in the films appears more aligned with her comic twin. Tragically, Ms. Marvel is not able to stop the zombie until he kills Abdullah, the imam of the Jersey City Mosque, and a truly important figure in Kamala’s life.

It was Nitika who had Abdullah killed, in a misguided attempt to trigger Ms. Marvel’s X-Gene activation, and it is Nitika’s motivations that gave me the biggest pause in the issue. Nitika is obsessed with Kamala and wants her to be a better hero, but we don’t have any background on the scientist or why she is so dedicated to Ms. Marvel’s growth. Nitika being the “big bad” didn’t really hit in the way I wanted, and ended up falling a bit flat in my opinion.

Unsurprisingly, Godlewski and Arcienaga’s art and coloring continue to impress in this final issue, with vibrant battles and emotional heartbreak pouring off every page. From Medusa’s epic hair to Kamala’s terrifying spasms, and the tragic death of Abdullah, the pair of artists ground the excellent writing of Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace #4 in addicting illustration.

The end of Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace perfectly sets up Kamala Khan’s starring role in the upcoming NYX, a new series starring young mutants in New York City as part of the X-Men’s From the Ashes relaunch. NYX will follow Laura Kinney, Anole, Sophie Cuckoo, Prodigy, and Kamala as they navigate life as mutants after the fall of Krakoa. Ms. Marvel, who the people of Jersey City now hate for her perceived attack on the Mosque and murder of Abdullah, will seemingly relocate to the Big Apple to continue the exploration of her mutant identity. Kamala reflects that she is “now hated and feared by a world that doesn’t understand me,” meaning she is finally experiencing the tragic, true reality of Marvel’s mutants, something she will need to learn how to deal with.

The finale of Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace is a beautiful way to reflect on Kamala Khan’s journey up until this point, and give her a fascinating path forward as a mutant-Inhuman hybrid. Iman Vellani and Sabir Pirzada did a lovely job of honoring Ms. Marvel’s Inhuman and Pakistani-American identity in this issue, while successfully weaving in some exciting MCU synergy and moving forward Kamala’s development. Ms. Marvel has had a rough go of it since she died in Amazing Spider-Man, and Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace is the perfect end of Ms. Marvel’s first mutant era, as she takes the next step in her growth as a hero and young woman.

Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace #4
‘Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace’ #4 perfectly sets up Kamala’s newest era while honoring her past
Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace #4
The finale of Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace is a beautiful way to reflect on Kamala Khan's journey up until this point, and give her a fascinating path forward as a mutant-Inhuman hybrid. Iman Vellani and Sabir Pirzada did a lovely job of honoring Ms. Marvel's Inhuman and Pakistani-American identity in this issue, while successfully weaving in some exciting MCU synergy and moving forward Kamala's development. Ms. Marvel has had a rough go of it since she died in Amazing Spider-Man, and Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace is the perfect end of Ms. Marvel's first mutant era, as she takes the next step in her growth as a hero and young woman.
Reader Rating1 Votes
9.2
The MCU synergy in this issue worked surprisingly well, and can be adapted by future creators
The ending of the issue sets up Kamala's appearance in NYX extremely well
So exciting to see Medusa, Karnak, and Lockjaw back in action
Nitika Gaiha's motivations felt too mysterious and vague
Red Dagger flew across the world and couldn'
9.5
Great
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