“Monster and Marvel” (part 1)
Writer: Brian Reed
Artist(s): Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: Ms. Marvel has been manifesting strange abilities for months, as if she’s been infected or possessed. Well, sort of. Since her battle with the Cru, she’s a lot more half-alien than she used to be, when it was only Kree and Brood DNA mixed in with her own.
Comment: I shouldn’t have mentioned the Brood. Those reproductive bugs have it in for Carol, have for years. And for Earth. And for the Cru’s home planet, which they apparently destroyed. The Cru, you see, with all its unbelievable power, wasn’t trying to destroy the Earth all those months ago when she battled it. It was trying to save it.
Now it turns out it is very much a female, and wants to be Carol’s ally, not her enemy, so they both can heal and get back in their proper bodies. But the urgency is on, because the Brood is still around, and breeding on Monster Island, of all places.
Some very bad things happen this issue to the helicarrier, to Agent Sum, and to Machine Man. As they’re not quite as bad as they first appear, they’re actually pretty humorous. It’s always nice when some aspect of a beloved cancelled series lives on (Ms. Marvel was one of those things once, far outliving her debut in Captain Marvel’s series); Reed has worked overtime to reproduce the sarcastic, fleshophobic persona Ellis gave Machine Man in Next! Wave, and he’s still a pleasure to read. Basically he’s a grouch with a very odd sense of humor, and his choice of new bodies when his old one gets destroyed is almost worthy of Ellis himself.
Lopresti is doing excellent work on the art; he’s endlessly inventive with the shape-changing, multi-tentacled and techno-organic Cru, and he’s graphic with Sum’s and M-Man’s injuries. He draws a bouncy fresh Araña, and though we don’t see many backgrounds on Cru’s world, Carol is lovely throughout, looking beautiful and powerful on every page, no matter the costume she wears.
This is, by the way, nearly as long as Ms. Marvel's first series lasted, but this story has really picked up the pace from the rather lethargic and peripheral Puppet Master arc, and got us back on track with Carol becoming a first-tier cosmic super hero. Reed hasn’t quite balanced Carol and her various jobs with her supporting cast, but picking up long-running plotlines like this is a step in the right direction.
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