Editor's Note: Ms. Marvel #25 arrives in stores tomorrow, March 26.
Don't look now but Marvel's "Secret Invasion" is getting underway; Skrulls walk among us, my friends. The latest issue of Ms. Marvel opens up with some pleasing old school artwork by Adriana Melo and Sal Buscema and recaps Carol's earlier contact with the green skinned misfits when she served as head of security for N.A.S.A. The issue then kicks into the present where Tony Stark shares his concerns with other S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel over the possibility of Carol having been replaced by the conniving Skrulls in an effort to infiltrate the Avengers.
The bulk of the early part of the comic deals with Carol busting in on an A.I.M. operation and does not really explore the implications of Tony's suspicions, choosing instead to alternate between Carol's introspections over the soap opera elements of her current relationships and her brash battle tactics (a.k.a. her lack of a refined combat strategy). It gives the artists a chance to draw some pretty cool action panels but doesn't really focus on the more intriguing aspects of the Skrull invasion until a bit later.
I enjoyed the switching of the look and feel of the artwork whenever the story went into flashback to provide some detailed background on the Skrulls' earlier dealings with Carol. The technique almost makes it feel as though the issue presents two comics: one a vintage edition of some 1970s mini Marvel masterpiece featuring Ms. Marvel and the other a more current edition.
The interlude with Sarah and Carol following Ms. Marvel's incursion into the A.I.M. base is a good example of Reed's firm handle on the titular character as it gives the reader a glimpse into Carol's state of mind and the fact she is still perturbed over having to kill the Puppet Master. Just in case you thought that this issue is a big tease with no Skrulls to be found except in the flashbacks, Reed makes sure to rev up the cool quotient by having Carol skirmish with a Skrull who mimics the powers of the X-Men.
When Carol phones William to find out if there is a connection between him and the Kree, there's a great reveal at the end of the comic which I am not going to spoil. Suffice it to say that S.H.I.E.L.D. is on the case trying to follow up on Stark's suspicions from the early part of the comic.
I was afraid that breaking up the team of Reed and Robert De La Torre when Marvel re-assigned the latter to draw Iron Man would be a mistake, but I am happy to report that recent issues of this comic have proven that it hasn't suffered from the switch; it continues to deliver a quality read in terms of story, characterization and artwork. This issue is no different. It's also great fun to mix stories from the silver age into the current narrative of the impending Skrull invasion and to see how Carol will play a large part in the overall story arc. Whether the comic borrows from earlier yarns penned by the likes of Stan Lee and others in an effort to encompass a sweeping sense of continuity or whether the connections have been manufactured for a seamless inclusion into the current narrative is of little consequence. The end result is still a fun comic book to behold and one reminiscent of the Marvel silver age of comics.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!