MS.MARVEL #16 | Writer: G. Willow Wilson | Penciller: Takeshi Miyazawa | Colorist: Ian Herring | Letterer: Joe Caramanga | Release Date: March 15, 2017
Kamala Khan, what have you gotten yourself into! Welcome to Ms. Marvel #16 and part three of the Damage Per Second storyline, which I must say I think so far has been my favorite of the current Ms. Marvel run! Its not because I’m a gamer (okay it might be), but I find it devilishly clever how the internet and gaming concepts have been weaved into this plot as a giant metaphor and lesson about the dangers associated with those things.
As it stands, Ms. Marvel has been battling an Internet Troll, but not like those irritating neophytes that hide behind the towering keys of their keyboards. This one is an actual Troll, or at least he looks like it. As Ms. Marvel found out in issue #15, he is actually a virus using the face of a Troll from World of Battlecraft. He has the ability to hack any technology within a certain distance and seems to also have the ability to hack human minds! However, as we find out, according to him, he cannot hack Ms. Marvel’s thanks to her body’s physiology.
In any case, he instead threatens to out her as Ms. Marvel, and then if that isn’t enough, out her friend Zoe as secretly queer and in love with Nakia, if she does not plug him in (via USB) to a S.H.I.E.L.D. computer. I adore Kamala’s internal struggle about this. Even as she’s walking down the hall with Coulson (who just waived off underage visitor protocol for her), she’s fighting internally with doing this very bad thing that will destroy her and her friend’s life. As always, she makes the right decision. Because Kamala is awesome.
She understands how important it is to be selfless, even if doing so would completely destroy her life. I like how this also brings to light just how much of our information is out there on the internet, whether via our phones, computers, cloud storage, etc. Even earlier in the issue Doc.X points out that while Kamala thought she was being safe, she was really just as vulnerable as the next person without security hardening skills. This arc is something of an eye-opener and a warning about technology and internet safety.
With Zoe, this issue also hints at the struggles gay people may have to deal with when coming out. In this case, Zoe is being forced both to come out and confess her feelings to Nakia. That’s a pretty hefty double dosage of butterflies for your stomach if you ask me. In any case, she does, and though Nakia does not have the same feelings towards her, the resulting scene is beautiful.
At the end of the issue Ms. Marvel contacts Bruno who informs her that the Doc.X virus is a learning virus. With this in mind Kamala seems to have come up with a plan to defeat it. I can’t wait to see how.
The covers for this arc have been amazing, and this one does not disappoint. I can’t get over how ridiculously awesome it is that Ms. Marvel has been battling against an actual Internet Troll. Each cover has been depicting similarities to classic games. I can’t put my finger on which one this might be but with the giant tank, it has a very Twisted Metal feel to it, but I could be wrong. In any case, it’s a creative work of art. Much love to Nelson Black II and Rachelle Rosenberg for that.
On page, I can’t love this style of art for Kamala more. Takeshi Miyazawa and Ian Herring, are perfect for this book. As much as I love Champions, and pretty much anything else that Kamala shows up in, I cannot put anyone ahead of this this team for her solo series. Her expressions are the absolute best, and the colors are a seamless representation of her personality. Plus, I can never not appreciate all the little details like the inside of Zoe’s room, or the even the random trash strewn about in the field that Kamala rides the train too. Beautiful work.
Ms. Marvel #16 was an incredibly fun issue, and DPS has also been an incredibly fun arc and I can’t wait to see its conclusion next month. G. Willow Wilson has brought us something amazing with Ms. Marvel’s character. Every issue has a lesson and this one is no exception. Excellent work.