MS. MARVEL #17 Review: “Talking Jersey City End of the World Blues!”

Writer G. Willow Wilson continues to close out Kamala Khan’s first volume by featuring a team-up between Ms. Marvels old and new. Guest-starring Carol Danvers, the duo embark on an impromptu adventure that is as much light-hearted fun as it is emotionally tear-jerking.

Squeeee!!!
Squeeee!!!

Given the larger-than-life gravitas of Secret Wars, it’s oddly refreshing that a story chronologically taking place some three or four months back possesses such liveliness and positivity. Carol tries her hardest to maintain her authoritative posture and poke adult pins at every opportunity but the only thing she succeeds in doing is grounding herself and reconnecting with her humanity. It’s something of a severe need for the character throughout the whole “Time Runs Out/ Last Days” ramp-up and very welcome.

Having business cards that say "Punk Electricians" isn't so punk. Presenting it upside down, though...
Having business cards that say “Punk Electricians” isn’t so punk. Presenting it upside down, though…

All sorts of “power and responsibility” refrains permeate throughout but there’s also excellent trade-off of action scenes balancing the talking-head character developments. Even better, there’s creative, on-the-fly problem solving going a cut above standard reactive super-hero “street” antics. It’s a lot of little touches like that which make this end of the world kind of charming and smile-inducing.

And then there’s the heartbreak….

Dammit.
Dammit.

In three and a half pages, Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona drive home the sobering truth that the “Everything Dies” mantra means “Everything. Dies.” Not even a metaphor- you quite simply cannot rush into a rogue Inhuman-based personal crisis with an armload of cute, fluffy kittens much less stave off the literal apocalypse. Sorry, audience- just in case anyone was laboring under false pretenses. Sooo… thanks for the “keepin’ it real” public service message, creators?

Really, Carol? The "I'm not even supposed to be here today" card...
Really, Carol? The “I’m not even supposed to be here today” card…

Spunk and determination emerging up through the grit is thematic throughout and nowhere does this represent as well as it does in the art and colors. Joining Alphona is color artist Ian Herring, employing liberal brownish, watercolor-y hues and dirty washes. This may seem like a drab description but it actually empowers the triumphing spirit and makes the proceedings far more compelling. True, Carol’s greyed-out costume is “none more greyed-out” but it’s also emblematic of how drained the character is through the era. By contrast, Kamala is an unstoppable full-color injection. Hopefully, she’s able to impart some by next issue.

Going out with a bang!
Going out with a bang!

Getting the gushing fan-service out of the way early, there’s a genuine throughline of legacy in this story. In that, it is far more forward-facing than Ms. Marvel saying goodbye to her friends, family and immediate surroundings. This is the totality of Marvel’s ethos distilled into twenty enjoyable pages, good for fans of the entire run and casual readers alike. There’s also heavy nods to the mysterious green cloud getting underway in Uncanny Inhumans but most importantly, the best case to date as to why Kamala Khan rightfully gets a spot in the upcoming All-New All-Different Avengers. Indeed, the end is really only the beginning…

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