I hate these flashing yellow left turn lights. Especially since lately, I seem to be stuck at a lot of lights that automatically go to it. I'm sitting right there, give me the goddamn green arrow! Also, not a fan of Marvel putting that #1 in the left corner of the cover for the first issue of a new story like it's the first issue of the book. Feels like a cheap bullshit bait-n-switch, though I'm hardly surprised they'd try something like that..
Ms. Marvel #12, by G. Willow Wilson (writer), Mike Andolfo (artist), Ian Herring (color artist), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - I'm up for a "Fightin' Crime Around the World with Ms. Marvel" storyline. Not what we're going to get, but I'd enjoy seeing it.
Kamala goes to visit family in Pakistan to try and clear her thoughts (or get away from them). There she gets to experience the joy of people treating her like an outsider because she's too American, instead of too Pakistani. She tries to stop some guys running a water extortion racket essentially, and gets chided by a local hero for not doing a better job because she doesn't understand all the dynamics. Which makes her a stand-in for the U.S. government, I guess. Except she's actually trying to help others, not just herself. I'm not clear on how Red Dagger was going to stop the villains without wrecking the truck, though. His shtick is he throws daggers. I assume he's going to try popping a tire, which seems like a good way to wreck a truck being driven on a questionable mountain road by some dumb thug.
Kamala seems resolved to return home and fight for her home and deal with her problems. We'll see how that works out for her. I expect things are going to be fairly hostile, but presumably Ms. Marvel hasn't lost everyone that was on her side. I am, now that I think of it, surprised we never saw her mother's reaction to what she was up to during Civil War II. It doesn't seem as though Wilson has done much with the fact she knows her daughter is a costumed crimefighter since that big reveal last year.
Mike Andolfo steps in as the artist this month. He does a fine job of working in a style generally similar to the other artists the book's had, although Ian Herring's colors do a lot to maintain that common thread. The yellows he uses in particular, both the solid golden yellow he uses as a background sometimes, and the softer one that stands in for natural light in a lot of the scenes of Kamala with her family, create a strong link with earlier issues. For whatever reason, his use of that color sticks strongly in my memories of the book, so it helps maintain that visual even with different pencilers.
Andolfo's characters are expressive, as he has a style just simplified enough to allow for some exaggerated expression where it fits, but detailed when needed. Although, there are a few scenes where Kamala is, I'd almost describing as sarcastically drawling at someone - the TSA agent on page 1, or Kareem on page 7 - where the expression seems appropriate for the dialogue and scene, but wrong for the character. Like, I can see myself making that face with that passive-aggressive comment, but not so much Kamala Khan doing so, if that makes sense. The surprised and awkward expressions she makes when meeting her relatives, her sleepy look on the last page, those fit the character, it's just those few other pieces felt off.
As a standalone issue, this felt slight to me. Well done, but slight. I think as part of the larger arc for her, the moment to stop and take stock between the recent disasters and whatever comes next, it'll work better.
Patsy Walker, aka Hellcat #11, by Kate Leth (writer), Brittney L. Williams (artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (color artist), Clayton Cowles (letterer) - My boss recently described a confrontation we saw on the job as a bit of a catfight, which the rest of us found rather awkward. It prompted much discussion about whether he really understands what he's saying or not. I tend to lean towards "no". I certainly hope that's right.
Felicia recruits a gang of young ne'er do wells to help her get rid of Hellcat, 'cause reasons. First though, they want to get rid of all the people she could call on for help, and since Felicia is able to get ahold of Bailey's magical Bag of Infinite Holding, that might be pretty easy. Or maybe not, because one of the gang is Ian's abusive ex-girlfriend, who is letting the cat out of the bag about Felicia's plans. Look, the creative team started it with the cat puns, blame them.
I still don't really understand Felicia's reasoning for this. Fine, Patsy isn't getting distracted by Big Event nonsense. But she also isn't actively fighting crime. She's pretty much dealt with threats she just stumbled along (Arcade), or that came after her first (Casiolena). If Felicia is meant to be a halfway intelligent, sigh, crime boss, she ought to be able to work around Patsy. Like, if you wanted to avoid Daredevil, staying out of Hell's Kitchen was historically not a bad first step. It wasn't an ironclad guarantee (not to mention the 11 million other heroes in NYC), but it was a start.
But I continue to think the idea of Felicia Hardy as a crimelord is dumb, and misses the point of what makes the character fun, so Leth and Williams were already starting on an uphill slope.
I appreciate the fact that Patsy and Ian having a disagreement over whether he's going to us his powers to fight evil or not did not turn into some big break in their friendship. They each took some time to cool down, thought it over, then discussed what was really bugging them. Adults handling things with discussion, and saving the punching for stuff that needs punching.
I assume it's Rosenberg adding what I'd call "gloom lines" in some darker moments. It might be Williams' using them as a shorthand for shadows, though. They pop up in the corners of rooms in some panels, but I mostly notice them overlaid on characters, like Ian when he walks away after being frustrated by Patsy. They remind me of something I see in manga, usually right after a character has received some extremely depressing or insufficient advice. Although it's usually accompanied by that giant sweat drop next to the head there. So maybe I'm entirely misreading it, but I noticed it in the previous issue, and I associated it with scenes where the character's mood is worsening, a dark cloud is settling over them, and I like that. And I think there's a chance I'm right about it. When Jubilee leaves the sparring session, the shadows on her face don't have the lines, because she's in a good mood. When Patsy leaves Bailey, she does, because she's bothered by what went down with Ian.
Anyway, I'm half looking forward to, half dreading a showdown between my second and third most favorite (by some metrics) Marvel characters. Should be fun, but someone (Felicia) is going to come off looking bad, which will be a little disappointing I'm sure. Oh well.