“Marvel’s Outlawed Begins With The Death of [SPOILER]?”
Warning: Potential SPOILERS for Outlawed
Marvel’s Outlawed event is a bombshell ready to obliterate the status quo for every teen superhero in the country. It starts with a federal law that bans underage superheroics, making every minor who chooses to fight crime a criminal themselves. But the legislation doesn’t pass without shocking events that galvanize Congress into acting, and previews for April’s Magnificent Ms. Marvel #14 indicate that the main catalyst is the death of one of Marvel’s most popular teen superheroes… as far as the rest of the country knows.
In the preview material for Eve Ewing and Kim Jacinto’s Outlawed #1, a Senate subcommittee refers to the “Coles disaster”, an “accident” which involved the Champions that has left lawmakers concerned for the welfare of both civilian youth and teenage vigilantes. “Coles” is a familiar name to attentive Ms. Marvel readers; Kamala Khan, the shapeshifting hero’s true identity, attends Coles Academic High School located on a street with the same name in Jersey City. Whatever the exact nature of that incident turns out to be, Kamala is deeply affected by it, and the consequences ripple out to everyone she knows.
The solicitation for Magnificent Ms. Marvel #14 (which you can read below) presents us with a Kamala who’s recovering “from a traumatic ordeal” and finding out that she’s become an “unwilling martyr” for the anti-teen-vigilantism movement. As the cover shows, the bill banning teen crimefighting has been renamed “Kamala’s Law”, either in her honor or in her memory. This makes it sound simultaneously like Kamala is injured and like she’s dead — possibly meaning that she’s in intensive care from life-threatening damage. A literal reading suggests a different outcome: that the “martyred” Kamala is missing and presumed dead by the public, while Ms. Marvel is alive and merely injured.
This is a painful twist on the event’s inciting incident. It’s common for large crossover events to begin with an unexpected death; the recent Incoming special centered around a murder mystery. Either Ms. Marvel is unconscious/comatose while her face is used to further an agenda she opposes, or she’s able to watch her civilian identity be misappropriated, unable to prove that she’s alive without revealing her double life and incriminating herself. Either way, other titles involved in Outlawed indicate that Kamala physically recovers in time to spearhead the resistance movement in Champions #1, vandalizing her own face in order to reclaim it from politicians using it in a way she never agreed to.
In a political climate where impassioned teen activists are increasingly making their voices heard, Outlawed may have something to say about the value of listening to young voices, and of the danger of charismatic youth being co-opted by those acting against their interests. Alternatively, this may simply be a dramatic twist that keys into the basic themes of the story without intending any specific commentary, as politically nondirectional as Ms. Marvel fighting her sentient costume. The only way to find out is to watch the story unfold as it hits the shelves.
- MAGNIFICENT MS. MARVEL #14
- SALADIN AHMED (W)
- MINKYU JUNG (A)
- Cover by EDUARD PETROVICH
- As Ms. Marvel recovers from a traumatic ordeal, she finds herself an unwilling martyr for a movement she hates. If she wants to reclaim her narrative, she’ll have to wake up first…
- 32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
You can preorder Magnificent Ms. Marvel #14 at your local comics shop before it goes on sale on April 01, 2020.
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