Friday, February 08, 2008

Ms. Marvel #24

Brian Reed & Aaron Lopresti

Contains spoilers!

The four-issue story arc "Monster and Marvel" concluded with the latest issue of Ms. Marvel, which also marks the longest run on a Ms. Marvel title thus far. In this issue, Carol Danvers finds herself up against hordes of the brood on Monster Island. With the help of Machine Man, Arana, Sleepwalker and Agent Sum, the aliens are defeated, including the Brood Queen, whom Carol has a history with. During the beginning of the arc, it is revealed that Ms. Marvel had merged with an alien, Cru, from the debut arc of the series (and her powers have been acting strange since), and while attempting to separate herself from Carol, the alien reactivates Ms. Marvel's long-dormant powers from when she'd become Binary under the hands of the Brood.

It's been Carol's quest, since the series debut, to be the best that she can be as a superhero, pushing herself to her limits to be a real powerhouse like Iron Man and the Fantastic Four. During Brian Michael Bendis' House of M, she was a major figure along those ranks (in that reality), and she wants to discover that part of herself and become the type of hero she has the potential to become. A few pages before this issue ends, Carol sits in her shower, wondering over how she's behaved lately, how she's rash, cowardly, a killer... And then the shocking ending: Tony Stark tells Agent Sum that Carol Danvers has in fact been replaced by a skrull. I'm not sure how he came to the conclusion, or if he's correct, but after a little discussion with Patrick, it seemed like kind of a neat idea if she were a skrull. A skrull, perhaps so deeply conditioned to become Carol Danvers that she's unaware of what she is? It would explain why she's been having such an identity crisis lately. Or perhaps she just doesn't want to admit what she is, that maybe the skrull likes being Ms. Marvel? Either way, there's a lot of potential to this development that's pretty exciting. Even if it turns out to be a mistake on Tony's part, the coming confrontations are bound to be thrilling.

I have to say that I am really enjoying Ms. Marvel as a whole. I wasn't expecting much when I happened to pick up the debut issue, but it's been fairly consistent with some really great superhero stories. The supporting characters are a really rich addition to the title, particularly Arana, who Ms. Marvel sort of mentors, the hilarious Machine Man (coming off of Nextwave without feeling Ellis-light), and even the alien Cru, who was a great concept with a great design. I think that Carol Danvers is a pretty interesting character herself, and that probably has a lot to do with what makes the series really work for me. She's really appealing: thoughtful and insecure, motivated yet unsure of what she's doing a lot of the time, second-guessing herself and making mistakes...and she struggles with her duel identity constantly. I also really enjoy Aaron Lopresti's artwork on the book. I've been a fan of his for awhile (back from the Crossgen days), and I'm a bit upset that he's leaving the title with this issue. Adriana Melo comes on as new series regular next iss, with some pretty big shoes to fill in my eyes.

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