The Civil War II tie-in collections continue to roll out with Ms. Marvel.
Things start with a light-hearted interlude that finds Kamala Khan on the opposite side of her Avengers teammates Spiderman and Nova at a high school science fair. As Civil War II sets in, Kamala’s mentor/hero Captain Marvel recruits Kamala to oversee a “predictive justice” task force in Jersey City. But when people close to Kamala run afoul of the task force, the young Ms. Marvel faces dilemmas with no easy answers and makes some difficult choices, ones that take a devastating personal toll on the young heroine. In need of perspective, Kamala visits her grandmother in Pakistan, where she encounters a local superhero, the Red Dart.
As one of Marvel’s higher profile books, Ms. Marvel can’t avoid the company’s big line-wide events. But what sets it apart from many other series is how writer G. Willow Wilson doesn’t let the crossover upend the bigger story she’s telling. Indeed, Wilson makes the tropes of Civil War II work for her series in a way that’s unusually effective. Wilson keeps the action on Kamala’s home turf and finds logical, elegant ways to draw in her large supporting cast, then uses events to push the evolution of all the characters’ journeys forward. Wilson dramatizes Kamala’s conflict in a relatable, affecting fashion that mines some real depth and pathos from the concept. The personal toll the events take on Kamala and several of her relationships gives the tie-in some actual heft and purpose in the context of the ongoing series. As always, Wilson has complete command of her characters’ voices and finds intelligent ways to use the Khan family’s specific history and culture to speak to universal truths. It’s rather beautiful, graceful writing.
The art team of Adrian Alphona, Takeshi Miyazawa, Mirka Andolfo and Ian Herring do some lovely work, with imaginative layouts, creative designs and a warm, involving color palette. The artists excel at conveying the characters’ turbulent emotions in a variety of clever ways, action sequences are well-choreographed and there’s a good energy to the visual storytelling. Given the dialogue-heavy nature of this arc, a lesser team could’ve gotten bogged down in a static approach, but here, the artists always maintain a certain dynamism that adds to the dramatic heft of the central plot.
If all tie-ins were as well-integrated into books’ ongoing stories as Ms. Marvel: Civil War II is, fans might fear them less. It’s not an ideal jumping on point for new readers, but it’s recommended for existing fans.