Current Reviews


Ms. Marvel #8

Posted: Monday, October 23, 2006
By: Shawn Hill

“For the Best”

Writer: Brian Reed
Artists: Roberto De La Torre (p), Jon Sibal (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot: When Carol said she was going to capture renegade Spider-Woman Julia Carpenter, she was serious about it. Dead serious. Wonder Man and Araña get left in the dust.

Comments: The conundrum of Civil War infects another book, but Brian Reed handles it better than most. To some extent, it makes sense that Carol would support registration. She’s an army brat, a career soldier, and a long-term government agent. Her inability to take control of an alien super-soldier situation while working as security chief at Cape Canaveral led to her gaining super-powers years ago, and for whatever reasons, Captain Mar-Vell is now dead, and Carol is the one carrying on his legacy on Earth.

But Carol has other qualities besides conformity to the current legal system. America is also a place where the legal system gets updated through legal means, which include civil protest, activism and social change. Our laws get rewritten and amended, and the general trend has been towards more liberal policies: extending the vote to women and non-Caucasians, accepting immigrant groups past our borders, integrating segregated communities, etc. She’s a former editor of a feminist magazine, presumably a supporter of the not universally popular E.R.A. movement, and as a fierce tomboy, she is a rather atypical woman herself.

There’s no reason for her to blindly follow the latest rules if she doesn’t agree with them. Even her idol, Captain America, is having a problem. So why isn’t she?

It’s enheartening to see the fight Julia puts up to maintain her family and her freedom this issue. She actually pleads to be allowed to flee the country (the only reason she hasn’t before is that she was helping other heroes escape, underground-railroad style). Her daughter has to witness Carol violently taking her down, and Araña and Simon Williams are taken aback by the sheer ugliness of that.

Carol, though troubled and upset, is unshaken in her conviction that she’s doing the right thing, that Julia has been reckless and heedless of public safety. It’s pitiful that the best restitution she can come up with is to pay Rachel’s college tuition one day.

De La Torre was good at the beginning of this title, and even though I worried that his art was a bit unsuited to the action typical of a Ms. Marvel title, he’s really grown into the scale of the games Carol plays. He makes the military siege on suburbia entertaining and full of surreal bathos.

At the end of the issue, she suffers a home invasion (the kind of thing that repeatedly happens to solo female characters; how better to put them on the line than to invade their most private space?). Rogue has come calling. Maybe she can beat some sense into Carol.

What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!