Ms Marvel #33


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Ms Marvel #33


  • Words: Brian Reed
  • Art: Adriana Melo
  • Inks: Mariah Benes
  • Colors: Chris Sotomayor
  • Story Title: Secret Agent Danvers Part 2: Vitamin
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Nov 26, 2008

In an issue long flashback, it is explained how Carol Danvers went from being Top Gun to being an agent for Air Force Special Operations.

Reed is a writer still finding himself. Under what appears to be a kind of Marvel mentor program, he rocked New Avengers Illuminati with Bendis. It seems Marvel like to take creators with a ton of potential and place them with another more refined writer to help them become better story tellers. It seems to be some kind of program, because this seems to be the same thing done with Fraction under Brubaker’s careful eye on Iron Fist.

Reed needed the assist because on Ms. Marvel, he has been hit or miss. It started out with a great deal of promise, but eventually ran out of steam and ideas. His writing has always been solid, but the writer was failing to find compelling stories.

At the start of this arc, Reed turned to the kind of story that made The Circle a fun read. He seems to excel at military espionage thrillers. By using the tropes of that genre here, he plays to his own strengths. Issue 32 seemed to be too much like a Hal Jordan story. However, it is an interesting analog and worthy of further exploration. After all, the secret identity of a super hero needs to be a compelling character and given Carol’s extraterrestrial power set, it makes sense to make her Marvel’s Green Lantern.

In this issue, the story diverges from a top gun story. The reader is shown how she came to be a spy for the Air Force. On display is her recovery after some brutal torture and an incredible 24 style escape, but the crux of the story is her first mission as a member of the intelligence community. It is a compelling story, even if it is all a little Queen & Country lite.

By the end of the book, it is obvious that this back story is exposition for an adventure of the present day Ms. Marvel. In one sense, it is a bit disappointing as this view into Danvers’s past begins to flesh out the character. So much of this run and the character’s history has revolved around her coming to terms with her power and a public life. To reconcile those conflicts with a shadowy past, gives the character a depth that is both surprising and essential. It elevates her to the status of interesting, which will hopefully allow Reed to write interesting stories about her. As this narrative moves forward, it will be important for the writer to maintain this level of quality and excitement.

The art team does a fine job of conveying the action of this dense plot. They also give the book a sheen that seems to be in vogue at Marvel presently. However, it maintains its own identity setting it comfortably apart from Epting, Perkins, and the rest of the school that is obviously emerging. It is almost as if there is a house style being developed, but careful attention is being paid to make sure that each art team keeps a creative distinction. Hopefully, Marvel’s initiative to hire distinctive artists while homing in on this homogenous look will be skillfully done. It would be a shame to see them fall to the trappings of the Silvestri school, where it eventually became impossible to determine which artist was on a book.

There is also a sense of time present in the art. Sure, the designs are different to depict aging in the characters, but there is a subtle technique being used that does something more. Setting helps differentiate from present day events and to those from some time in the past, but it is also like a cinematographer is at play using different filters to subtly hint at the difference as well. In fact there is a cinematic montage as we see Carol rehabilitating herself while she embraces her new role in the Air Force. It is subtle yet skillful work and the team should be commended.

This storyline holds the promise of making the leader of the Mighty Avengers into a compelling character. Hopefully, Reed can continue to be inspired by the muse at play here and live up to that promise. Fans of Queen & Country and Checkmate that need a fix may be well served by checking this arc out.

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