Editor's Note: Ms. Marvel #30 arrives in stores tomorrow, September 10.
"Battle of Manhattan: Conclusion"
Ms. Marvel's solo involvement in Secret Invasion concludes this week as she battles a Super-Skrull that even the Skrulls fear. I've said it numerous times, especially over the past few months as I've been reviewing this title, Ms. Marvel has become my favorite female Marvel character, and her popularity has definitely risen as writer Brian Reed has been putting out one of the most consistent, fun and best character driven titles on the market. His style of writing and portrayal of Ms. Marvel brings a level of comfortablilty to the reader, a sense that Ms. Marvel could be your best friend, your girlfriend or even your sister. Of course, it's all in the narration, but Reed's style is consistent and perfect for the character. This has especially been the case during this story-arc and this issue.
Ms. Marvel has essentially been leading the fight against the Skrulls in New York City after Iron Man sent her away from the assault in the Savage Land. While the Young Avengers, Nick Fury and his Commandos, and the Thunderbolts launch big time assaults on the Skrulls in the Big Apple, readers of Ms. Marvel have been treated to a more personal side of the invasion. Not only has she long been attached to the Kree, the sworn enemies of the Skrulls, but in the process of protecting Earth, Ms. Marvel has found a great deal of pleasure out of killing the Skrulls.
This issue picks up where the last left off, Ms. Marvel thought taking innocent bystanders to the super-villain prison known as the Raft would be the best option to shield them from the Skrulls. Upon arrival at the Raft, she discovered the bodies of humans and Skrulls strung up like dead cattle, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent telling her there's a Super-Skrull inside that the other Skrulls seem to be afraid of. Ms. Marvel then stumbles upon the Super-Skrull preparing to disembowel Tiger Shark. At this point, you can figure out that this issue is going to be full of action, an all-out slugfest between the Skrull-killing Ms. Marvel and this mysterious Super-Skrull. To be honest, I couldn't help but compare this arc's conclusion to a video game level. You spend a few stages of the level beating the crap out of Skrulls and saving innocent people, making your way to the raft where the level's boss is located. The boss is the character that appears in this issue, the worst of Super-Skrulls - the one who even S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and Skrulls alike run away from as you approach.
This issue is indeed an all-out brawl between Ms. Marvel and the Super-Skrull and that alone is satisfying for fans of this arc because you know that Ms. Marvel wants to kill this Skrull. But Brian Reed does more than make this an all-out brawl; Ms. Marvel's narration throughout the issue is its true highlight. If it wasn't for the reader being able to peek inside Ms. Marvel's head and read her thought process during the battle, this issue may have seemed a bit mindless. Instead, not only do we get a great fight, but Reed shows readers Ms. Marvel strategizing, looking for answers not only in how to beat the Super-Skrull, but why the Skrulls are so afraid of it. Reed has an excellent balance of the strategic-based narrative as well as a few quips thrown in to keep up the pace, action and humor of this series, true to Ms. Marvel's personality. It's also very well done how Reed utilizes all of Ms. Marvel's abilities (i.e. the binary powers) when trying to figure out how to battle the Super-Skrull. There are few characters that are in as much control of their powers as Ms. Marvel is, and she knows exactly when they are needed in the right circumstances.
However, when the battle is finished and Ms. Marvel kills the Super-Skrull, Reed offers an unexpected twist, one that will push forward the ramifications of "Secret Invasion" and that will no doubt lead into his next story-arc. There's a two page preview of seemingly what is to come and also hints at a possible major event either in Ms. Marvel's world or the entire Marvel Universe.
The artwork in this issue is phenomenal. Adriana Melo's pencils, Mariah Benes' inks and Chris Sotomayor's colors come together to produce one of the best issues of this series in terms of artwork. The team captures everything beautifully; the action is fantastic, non-stop and the displays of Ms. Marvel's powers are perfectly on point. I'm not talking about just her strength and flight, but her binary powers come out a few times, and even they are brilliantly realized. Of course, Ms. Marvel looks great throughout the entire issue, and one thing that makes her character work so well is the sheer fact that she is drop dead gorgeous and she still manages to be a total bad-ass. But the art doesn't end with Melo, Benes and Sotomayor and the main story; those extra two-pages that previews the next story-arc also show off some artwork from Paulo Siqueira, who assumes art duties with issue #32. Siqueira has a style similar to the Dodsons, and I personally can't wait until he takes over art duties for this series.
This has been my favorite tie-in and story involving "Secret Invasion," and I absolutely love this character and this series. Reed keeps this issue from being an all-out, mindless battle by allowing the reader to get personal with Ms. Marvel and watch as she strategizes the battle. Reed also keeps me locked in by planting seeds for the next story-arc, and this issue offers up some of the best art you will find.
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