After emerging as the breakout star of the cross-platform Avengers video game, Kamala Khan makes her fortuitous return to comics in this week’s Magnificent Ms. Marvel #14, where she’s pitted against one of her worst foes yet: a coma.
It’s been a while since Magnificent Ms. Marvel last came out (you know why), so here’s a brief reminder of where we last saw our heroine. After returning from a cosmic adventure and making the acquaintance of a new caped crusader called Amulet, Kamala and her fellow Champions were blamed for a destructive event that resulted in a new law forbidding underage people from operating as superheroes. Making matters worse, the new law was named for Kamala, mistaken for a helpless victim in the incident while she laid comatose in a hospital bed. Not exactly the most uplifting of circumstances.
Magnificent Ms. Marvel #14 is set almost entirely in Kamala’s comatose mind as she fights to regain consciousness so she can help to clear the Champions’ name, almost akin to something of a bottle episode. We rarely leave Kamala’s perspective (physically and psychologically) as her various loved ones visit her in both states. While this doesn’t make for an especially plot-heavy installment of the series, it does offer some good character moments and shows just how important Kamala is in the lives of everybody around her. To the Khan family, she’s a beloved daughter and sister. To her civilian friends, she’s a heroic figure because of her heart, not her powers. And to her fellow Champions, she’s their invaluable leader who keeps everyone together (it’s almost as if her super-stretchy powers are an allegory for how flexible and versatile she must be for everybody in her life). It’s a good breather in-between the action-packed events of Outlawed #1 and the rest of this arc moving forward, even if it’s not necessarily the most exciting.
Because so much of this issue’s story is internal and limited, the onus is on artist Minkyu Jung to depict Saladin Ahmed’s script in a visually interesting way, which he handily succeeds at doing. Magnificent Ms. Marvel #14 gives him an opportunity to draw a bit more surreally than Kamala’s monthly adventures tend to do, which is a welcome deviation from the norm, but it’s the aforementioned character moments that really sell the gravity of the situation. Obviously, we know Kamala will wake up sooner than later, but the characters don’t, so it’s important to sell it through expressive art. It’s remarkable how consistent the art of Ms. Marvel has been since its inception through myriad personnel changes, and Jung is just the latest to deliver quality work. (A lot of Ms. Marvel’s visual consistency is owed to Ian Herring, who continues to give Kamala such a unique chromatic profile that I haven’t really seen in many other Marvel titles before or since it began.)