“A problem has to get pretty gigantic before anybody notices anything at all. That’s half of heroing. Noticing things. Noticing, and not being afraid.” (Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #8)1
“Well, Mrs. Van Boom…I found the article insulting. The writer said teenagers are just parasites addicted to their smart phones, who don’t give back to society…But that doesn’t sound like anybody I know. I mean, how can you write off a whole generation before it even has a chance to prove itself?” (Nakia Bahadir, Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #8)2
“Well…giving up on the next generation is like giving up on the future, right? And…and sometimes the next generation has to deal with all the problems the last generation left for it to fix, and that means getting up really early in the morning—” (Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #8)3
Issue #8 “Generation Why” is the beginning of a new four-issue story arc for Kamala Khan, after her team-up with Logan/Wolverine of the X-Men in issues #64 and #7.5 In this issue, we find Kamala going door to door asking around to see if anyone knows about the kids that were kidnapped by the Inventor. Julie Harrison (the mutant who disappeared on her way to Jean Grey School) was rescued by Kamala and Logan in the previous arc and is now in a coma. While Kamala is going door to door (with a really great internal monologue) she meets a character who we first saw at the very end of the previous issue: Lockjaw. Everyone else on the street runs away from Lockjaw, but Kamala runs up to him and gives him a hug. She then brings him back home and convinces her family to let her keep him. Having never had a pet, I wasn’t sure if I’d share Kamala’s enthusiasm, but her love of Lockjaw is infectious; the reader can’t help but find them cute together.
The presence of Lockjaw in the story serves a few purposes. First, it allows the creators to incorporate some more aspects of the characters’ cultural background into the story. When Kamala shows up at the door with Lockjaw, her brother Aamir says she can’t keep it because dogs aren’t pak (“pure”). This is a common view among Muslims, but as we see in the story, it’s not a view that all Muslims necessarily share. Although surprised and frustrated, Kamala’s parents relent and decide to let her keep Lockjaw, with the stipulation that he has to stay in the yard. Second, Lockjaw serves a practical purpose by providing Kamala with a means of transportation, due to his teleportation powers. She’ll hopefully be able to engage in her superheroics without being perpetually grounded for coming home late. Third, Lockjaw is the first member of the Inhumans who Kamala meets, foreshadowing her finding out more about the source of her powers. As we found out in the previous issue, Kamala suspects she might be a mutant. Medusa, Queen of the Inhumans, is now aware of Kamala’s existence and Inhuman ancestry. Because of all of these factors, the inclusion of Lockjaw, which could have just been a fun little story about a teenager with a new pet, becomes more interestingly complicated and tied in with the larger storyline.
There are some scenes between Kamala and Bruno as they are working together to figure out where the Inventor’s hideout might be. There’s a mysterious location outside of Bayonne that’s not on the map; this location turns out to be the Inventor’s secret hideout. Kamala goes there with Lockjaw and proceeds to fight giant robots. To Kamala’s surprise, and ours, inside the robot is Doyle, one of the teenage boys from the abandoned house in Greenville (where Kamala went in issues #46 and #57 to rescue Vick). Kamala and Lockjaw take Doyle to a hospital. Kamala is late for school the next morning, after getting little sleep. Such is the life of a superhero. This fight scene is really in the story to provide foreshadowing and suspense rather than for the fighting itself. A little robot ends up hitchhiking back with Kamala, which will lead to further fighting.
I think one of the best part of this issue is a passage near the end, when Kamala is in school. After Kamala runs into the classroom late, due to her superheroics the previous night, her friend Nakia is suspicious in the way that friends can be when they know that someone who they’ve known for almost their whole lives is up to something. Then, there’s a series of panels in which both Nakia and Kamala are called on by their teacher Ms. Van Boom to comment on an article from The Pedantic Monthly that they had to read for homework. (Earlier in the story, in one of Alphona’s fun artwork details, an issue of The Pedantic Monthly can be seen on Kamala’s desk while she’s trying to research what happened to Julie.) Nakia and Kamala’s responses are great and greatly resemble my own feelings about articles that people write denigrating Generation Y, or the “Millennials” as we’re called. (Related to this point, the title of this story arc “Generation Why” is really amazing and appropriate.) The class is cut short when a robot arrives at Coles Academic High School, and we end with a cliffhanger as Kamala is unable to change her appearance to hide her identity when she’s about to fight the robot.
One of the most intriguing parts of the story is the foreshadowing of the teens’ motivations for joining the Inventor. There are several hints in the story which suggest that the teens have not just been kidnapped and held against their will but that at least some of them may have been convinced to join the Inventor. Vick was enthusiast about the Inventor when talking to his brother Bruno during Vick’s attempted robbery of the Circle Q in issue #3.8 Vick says to Bruno, “When the Inventor comes, things are gonna change. You’ll have to start treating me with respect.”9 In the beginning of this issue, a status update on Julie’s Facehead account (which leads Kamala and Bruno to the location of the Inventor’s hideout outside Bayonne) suggests that she was excited to meet some people she agreed with, rather than hinting that something dangerous was happening to her. She writes that she “met some like-minded people on the road”.10 Later in the issue, Doyle is upset when Kamala disconnects him from the robot. He says, “I’m p-part of it now—I’m giving back—”.11 It’s uncertain to what degree these teens joined the Inventor because they wanted to and to what degree they were coerced or tricked. Have they become convinced of an ideology? Are they in desperate circumstances? The Inventor’s plans also remain a mystery. It reminds me, in some ways, of the Brotherhood of Mutants in the X-Men: Evolution television series that I used to watch when I was younger. The teens who are part of that group are sympathetic because, while they chose to join, several of them were also desperate and had nowhere else to go. Although they are the villains of the story, they have some sympathetic moments as we realize that they are young people trying to make their way in a difficult world. I really hope that the foreshadowing in Ms. Marvel leads to an interesting resolution.
This issue is very much the beginning of a story arc; many things are still uncertain at this point. Overall, this issue was a fun story with enjoyable character interactions, funny moments, and foreshadowing.
Kamala Khan teams up with Peter Parker in Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 issues #712 and #8.13 Issue #7 was released on 8 October 2014. Issue #8 is going to be released on 22 October 2014. I’ll be reviewing both of these issues together.
1 Wilson, G. Willow; Alphona, Adrian; Herring, Ian; et al. Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #8 “Generation Why”. Marvel, 10 September 2014.
2 Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #8.
3 Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #8.
4 Sharmin, Ani J. “Book Review: Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #6 ‘Healing Factor, Part One’ (By G. Willow Wilson, Jacob Wyatt, Ian Herring, et al)”. Posted on 13 September 2014 at The Eternal Bookshelf. Retrieved on 19 October 2014 from http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/book-review-ms-marvel-vol-3-6-healing-factor-part-one-by-wilson-wyatt-herring-et-al/.
5 Sharmin, Ani J. “Book Review: Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #7 ‘Healing Factor, Part Two’ (By G. Willow Wilson, Jacob Wyatt, Ian Herring, et al)”. Posted on 26 September 2014 at The Eternal Bookshelf. Retrieved on 19 October 2014 from http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/book-review-ms-marvel-vol-3-7-healing-factor-part-two-by-wilson-wyatt-herring-et-al/.
6 Sharmin, Ani J. “Book Review: Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #4 ‘Past Curfew’ (By G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring, et al)”. Posted on 21 July 2014 at The Eternal Bookshelf. Retrieved on 21 October from http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/book-review-ms-marvel-vol-3-4-past-curfew-by-wilson-alphona-herring-et-al/.
7 Sharmin, Ani J. “Book Review: Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #5 ‘Urban Legend’ (By G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring, et al)”. Posted on 8 September 2014 at The Eternal Bookshelf. Retrieved on 21 October from http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/book-review-ms-marvel-vol-3-5-urban-legend-by-wilson-alphona-herring-et-al/.
8 Sharmin, Ani J. “Book Review: Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #3 ‘Side Entrance’ (By G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring, et al)”. Posted on 12 July 2014 at The Eternal Bookshelf. Retrieved on 21 October from http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/book-review-ms-marvel-vol-3-3-side-entrance-by-wilson-alphona-herring-et-al/.
9 Wilson, G. Willow; Alphona, Adrian; Herring, Ian; et al. “Side Entrance”. Ms Marvel Vol. 3 #3. Marvel, 16 April 2014.
10 Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #8
11 Ms. Marvel Vol. 3 #8
12 “Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 7”. Marvel Database Wiki. Retrieved on 21 October 2014 from http://marvel.wikia.com/Amazing_Spider-Man_Vol_3_7.
13 “Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 8”. Marvel Database Wiki. Retrieved on 21 October 2014 from http://marvel.wikia.com/Amazing_Spider-Man_Vol_3_8.