The Carol Cadets: Ms. Marvel #8 Review

Civil War II was never not going to affect Kamala Khan. One of the two main sides is led by her hero and mentor, and the other is lead by her friend and fellow Avenger.

Now, thanks to some pretty heartbreaking promo images back when the series was first announced, we’ve long known that she will eventually forsake Carol and presumably join Tony’s side. The real question is what happens before that.

Before answering that question, the book starts with a story way before that. It takes us back to Bombay in 1947, when Kamala’s great grandparents are fleeing from the country to get to Pakistan. It’s a beautifully-written and illustrated four pages, and one that gives Kamala’s story so much more depth. We also get to see the significance of the bangles she wears as part of her costume.

And, more often than not, they turn against each other for ridiculous reasons

It’s a very strong start to the comic, and whether the story will be continued or not, it goes a long way towards reassuring the reader that, despite the Civil War II logo splashed across the cover, this issue is just as quintessentially Ms. Marvel as any other.

After that emotional opener, we get a serious tonal and artistic shift, as present-day Ms. Marvel is heading to the Alpha Flight space station to meet with Captain Marvel, who briefs her on Ulysses’s ability to see future events based on mathematical probabilities, and how it could be used to stop crimes more easily.

Carol, I'm never forgiving you for this
Kamala’s initial reaction is excitement, since it’s something that could make her life as a superhero much easier, but then she realizes the downside: detaining people based on crimes they haven’t committed yet is a lot like profiling.

Carol handwaves her concerns by explaining that this would be based on individuals, not communities or families.

Kamala then gets swept up in the excitement again as Carol appoints her as a liaison between herself, the Inhumans, and a new team she’ll be in charge of: the Carol Cadets. Their mission is to utilize information provided by Ulysses to take down crime in advance.

Not that Kamala would know anything about weird gushing
Their first mission: recovering a stolen tank from the leader of the Canadian Ninja Syndicate.
It’s as ridiculous as it sounds, and it’s a blast to read.

Yes, that tank does have "SORRY" written across the back. Canadian politeness FTW!
Things take a somber turn again after that, with Tyesha pointing to Kamala the gray morality of arresting and prosecuting people based on crimes that haven’t yet been committed, citing the neighborhood she grew up in as an example.

It’s once again a startling real world problem that grounds the otherwise fantastical stories the comic tells. It’s surprising, or perhaps not surprising at all, that the issue of profiling is one that hasn’t been brought up in the main Civil War II series.

On a related note, Tyesha is a fantastic character and we need more of her.

Unfortunately, Kamala is still a bit too caught up in easily stopping crimes with her team of sidekicks, and we see how far things have gotten when she arrests someone for thinking about robbing a store.
Can you hear yourself?
I say almost because she has to stop midway through yelling at him to think more legal thoughts thanks to a much more urgent bit of news: someone is going to put Coles School in danger of destruction, and she has to stop him before he does.

She rushes across the city to get to the address, bursts into the future perpetrator’s room to find that it’s… Josh.

I’m gonna be honest, I was very worried about this issue. Civil War II has been rife with character assassination, literal and figurative, and I was worried it would carry over essential tie-ins like this one.

And it does, at least as far as Captain Marvel goes. Her insistence on restoring to Ulysses remains inherently wrong, and she seems to be taking advantage of Kamala’s idolization of her to get Ms. Marvel on her side.

On the other hand, this book, unlike Civil War II, leaves no ambiguity as to which side is right. While Kamala almost blindly following Carol is very much in-character for her, so will the eventual realization of what she’s actually doing, and how wrong it is, a realization that will undoubtedly be catalyzed by the involvement of one of her friends.

Now, I really liked the Tyesha scene, so I’m going to go over it again, but this time from a religious perspective.

Firstly, there is the fact that in all her previous appearances in earlier issues, she has always worn her headscarf. However, this time she is at home with no one except Kamala, and isn’t wearing it. It may seem like a small detail, but it goes a long way towards normalizing the concept of hijab for general audiences.

Another important detail is her telling Kamala not to forget that sometimes the people committing the crimes need saving too. This brings to mind a famous Islamic teaching, to help the oppressor and the oppressed, and the latter is done by showing them a better way. It’s a bit of morality that should apply to all, regardless of religion, and one that I believe Kamala will learn by the end of this arc.

Listen to her, Kamala
Overall, this comic is, to use its own words, a small hope in the midst of civil war. Instead of simply being another vehicle to progress the Civil War II story, it uses elements from that to tell a much better, more personal story of its own. I highly recommend it, whether you’re following the main series or not.

Aranwe Quirke is a totally real, definitely not made up name. No, you may not see the birth certificate.