Monday, 29 June 2015

Ms Marvel (Carol Danvers) Vols 1 & 2 by Brian Reed

Ms Marvel Vols 1 & 2 written by Brian Reed and illustrated by Roberto de la Torre is part of the Ms Marvel run directly preceding Carol's change of name to Captain Marvel. It was written from 2006 onwards, so I thought it wouldn't be too cringe-worthy to read (compared with the very first run of Ms Marvel which was written in the 70s). So I started reading the issues on Marvel unlimited and gave up at issue #11, which is actually the first issue of Vol 3, when I got bored. But it wasn't all bad...

Vol 1 Best of the Best: Straight out of the pages of New Avengers and House of M Call your friends, wake the neighbors, shout it from the rooftops Come along for one heck of a wild ride as Brian Reed (co-writer of the thrilling Spider-Woman: Origin) joins forces with penciler extraordinaire Rob de la Torre for an action-packed adventure that includes special guest-stars Captain America and Jessica Jones. All this and an alien invasion that could mean the end of life on Earth, is tucked inside a cover by Eisner Award-nominated Frank Cho. Collects Ms. Marvel #1-5, Giant-Size Ms. Marvel #1.

Vol 2 Civil War: Ms. Marvel: Ms. Marvel enlists in the Civil War! With the Super Human Registration Act in full effect, Carol Danvers joins forces with Simon "Wonder Man" Williams and Julia "Arachne" Carpenter to police and train heroes. But there's a traitor in their midst – someone who is undermining the registration movement and endangering everyone! Plus: BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT! Rogue appears in the pages of MS. MARVEL! But if Rogue is a friend, why is Carol attacking? And finally, a child with the ability to turn anything he imagines into reality has begun to read Carol’s sci-fi epic “Binary,” based loosely on her own life among the stars. Within minutes, the library is overrun with visions from Carol’s book – and soon, all of New York City is threatened!

Terrible blurbs aside, the worst thing about this series is Ms Marvel's terrible costume. It's ridiculousness really isn't helped by generous amounts of side-boob and gratuitous crotch shots (and let's face it, the bikini cut of that leotard is barely covering what it needs to). I mainly don't understand why someone who can magically change their clothing at will would keep that costume. At least the boots don't have heels.

The best thing about reading this was that we got an origin story for Carol's cat. I am now going to spoil it for you to save you having to read the comics. If you don't want to be spoiled, jump to the next paragraph.
In Giant-Size Ms Marvel, which is ironically a short (event-based) issue leading into the series, Carol encounters and fights a time-travelling wizard. In the course of the fight she gets knocked into a building and lands near a cat. When the bad guy comes at her again, she throws the cat at him (after promising the cat tuna) and both bad guy and cat disappear. Then in issue #4 the cat and the bad guy reappear (he's a time-traveller, remember), Carol defeats him and ends up with a cat. She names the cat in the following issue. And that's where Chewie came from.

That's honestly the best thing I got out of what I read. That and Carol's conversation with Jessica Drew in the first issue, because I like seeing their friendship. But Jess didn't come back in the rest of what I read, so that was disappointing. Volume 2 was all Civil War event tie-ins and had a promising plot... which just fizzled out without any kind of moral resolution when (I assume) the event ended. It almost had depth. It did have two female spider-based superheroes (neither of whom were Jessica Drew) and the origin of Araña (who is Spider-Girl in the more recent comics), which was good aside from the whole lack of resolution thing. Then Rogue showed up with a horrible accent and a storyline involving a Carol doppelgänger and meh. As I said, I got bored.

The action wasn't exciting — I got bored several times while some of it was being explained — and there wasn't a huge amount of character development or depth. Carol's main motivation seems to be "must be the best that I can be because I've been a bit sucky of late" (and whose fault is that, Marvel?) which is hardly an exciting motive. It's not even enough motive to override the costume and the icky male gaze of the art (which, yes, I know, could have been worse).

So, if you love Carol Danvers, start with the DeConnick Captain Marvel reboot. If you're drawn to the name Ms Marvel, then definitely read the Wilson Kamala Khan iteration instead. If you want the origin story for Chewie, Carol's cat, then read my spoiler above and save yourself further bother. I am so glad Carol got a better run after this.

3 / 5 stars

First published: 2006, Marvel
Series: Ms Marvel, the second run, issues #1–10, Vol 1–2 (it went up to #50 if you're wondering)
Format read: Digital
Source: Marvel Unlimited

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