Kamala takes on the seeded underbelly of the internet in this first issue of a brand new adventure from the creative team of G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa and Ian Herring; with a nifty cover by Nelson Blake II.
Despite being an Inhuman and an accomplished superhero, Kamala Khan is not all that unlike many kids her age. Between homework and her various other obligations, she likes to squeeze in marathon campaigns of online gaming… in her case an addictive roleplaying game known as World of Battlecraft.
The game goes pretty well. They beat the boss character in record time and Kamala’s character even receives a special sword as a prize. It’s all fun and games until one of the players in her guild (a literal troll) makes a passing comment indicating that they know where she lives. Suddenly the safe confines of the fantasy game is frightening reality of an online stalker.
This is not something Kamala is going to take sitting down… nor does she need to. She is after all a superhero. Unfortunately she’s a superhero who grown accustomed to relying on the assistance of her tech-savvy best friend, Bruno. Well, Bruno is no long around so Kamala has to go through the tedious process of reversing the internet provider trace so ascertain the identity of the troll (and fortunately he or she lives in the tristate area). So, donning her Ms. Marvel costume, Kamala takes to the night to confront the villain.
Yet it appears that this kid is not her stalker, that he too has had his system and privacy infringed upon. Things have gone from bad to worse. The stalker, whomever they are possesses formidable computer skills. They know who she is, knows where she lives, and in all likelihood knows the secret of her being Ms. Marvel.
Kamala is afraid to go home. Whatever trouble she is in, she cannot bare the thought of it in any way affecting her family. She decided to hide out in the bodega owned by Bruno’s family; they’ve kept it closed since his moving to Wakanda. It should be a safe enough place to hide out until she can decide her next move.
Before she can get there, however, Kamala finds herself attacked by mysterious forces. First a car tries to run her down. Another car tries to hit her and Kamala embiggons herself to stop it. When she looks inside to see who is driving this car she finds it empty. Then a construction crane attacks her. It too is empty. It appears as though someone is taking over anything computer-control and using it as weapons against her.
Kamala hotfoots it to the bodega. But she finds no safety there. The lights switch on electronically and each of the close circuit monitors flicker on, showing the face of the troll from her online RPG. In a dizzying and sinister fashion, the monitors repeat over and over again, “hello Kamala Khan.” And it is with this cliffhanger that the issue ends with he promise of being continued.
The internet can be a pretty scary thing. Sure it’s cool for finding out information, chatting with friends, and gushing uncontrollably over all things Inhuman… yet often the price of admission is essentially a loss of anonymity. Privacy has become a grossly diminished resource in the modern world. The more way post on Facebook, and Instagram, and Tumblr, the less privacy we possess. Sure we can use screen names and try to obscure our identities, but such things offer simply the illusion of security and not the real thing. More so than ever before, our lives are becoming open books. The little pokemon sticker I keep over the outfacing camera on my monitor is mostly just a talisman. If some ne’er-do-well or government stooge really wanted to find out everything there is to know about me there’s likely little I could do to stop them…
And this is especially true for the younger generation. My younger cousins, my nieces and nephews, the kids I work with at my practice… just about all of them seem completely unconcerned with privacy in the digital era. I’m not sure if it’s an issue of a lack of foresight or merely a matter of personal privacy being a fading, bygone idiom.
All this makes secrets particularly dangerous. Who you have a crush on, whether or not you tried pot, if you once cheated on a math test… it’s all out there like ticking time-bombs in the telecommunication ether. Kamala has a big secret, a secret identity, and were this secret to be shared it could put her and her family at great peril.
At the same time that our personal lives are becoming more and more digitized, so too are we handing over more control to computers. Sure it makes things convenient, but once again the price is a relinquishment of our control. A self-driving car sounds pretty neat, but what if I had enemies? Might they be able to ‘hack’ into the operating system and send my autonomous uber off into Lake Michigan? gulp!
The various fears entailed in our increasingly digitized world is aptly represented by the nameless troll who bedevils Kamala. A very modern villain with a purposefully anachronistic face. I’m very much looking forward to see where this is going.
The art and colors are, as always, excellent. Definitely recommended. Three and a half out of five Lockjaws, and one big Winged Sloth!!!