Comics : Ms. Marvel (Vol. 2) #23

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This story is part of an Arc: "Monster and Marvel"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

Our last issue saw Carol confront the once thought dead Brood Queen. Unfortunately, the alien Cru has caused both of them to lose their powers. They are at the mercy of the Brood Queen.

In Detail...

"Monster and Marvel"
Ms. Marvel (Vol. 2) #23
Jan 2008 : SM Spin-Off App
Summary: Arana appears
Arc: Part 3 of "Monster and Marvel"
Editor:  Bill Rosemann
Writer:  Brian Reed
Pencils:  Aaron Lopresti
Inker:  Matt Ryan
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Issue
Review

The issue begins with a flashback of when Carol was known as Binary. Carol briefly narrates how the Brood experimented on her. Binary defeated the Brood Queen then, thinking the insectoid alien dead.

Carol faces off against her nemesis in the present. Cru is surprisingly absent inside Carol's head. The Brood Queen wants revenge and claims she is invincible. Carol lunges out and kicks the Brood Queen aside. Her surprise attack is eventually thwarted. Carol is seemingly killed by the Brood Queen.

Back at Minicarrier 13, the Lightning Storm team and Wonder Man decide what to do about their missing leader. Agent Sum ignores Arana's request to come on the rescue mission. Arana is none too pleased at being left behind.

Wonder Man, Agent Sum, Machine Man, and Sleepwalker land on Monster Island and quickly discover that the Brood are present. Agent Sum wants backup from S.H.I.E.L.D. Wonder Man gets into an argument with Sum. Their bickering is interrupted by a Brood army.

The battle begins anew. Machine Man and Wonder Man begin to rip into the Brood forces. Sum and Sleepwalker try to hold off Brood from damaging the minicarrier. Agent Sum requests Arana's help back inside. Sleepwalker is injured by one of the Brood. Arana is ordered to open up a hatch in the floor of the minicarrier. It is a nuclear device meant as a failsafe in case they can not defeat the Brood. Back outside, Wonder Man comes to Sleepwalker's assistance. Machine Man squares off against the Brood Queen.

Carol lies dying on the ground next to Cru. Cru talks to her inside her head. The mysterious alien seemingly awakens long dormant powers inside Carol. Meanwhile, Machine Man gets battered back and discovers Carol has arrived on the scene. She has regained her Binary powers and is ready for battle.

In General...

Brian Reed loves to investigate the chaotic history of Carol Danvers. In this arc, he has already managed to re-visit Carol's long and bloody history with the Brood and even managed to bring back the alien Cru from his first arc on the series. He re-introduces the reader in this issue to Carol's time as Binary.

Reed maintains a fun and adventurous approach. The past nods to continuity pay off for long-time fans yet do not feel overbearing to a new reader. The Lightning Storm dynamic remains a strong point. Machine Man, Agent Sum, Sleepwalker (while still underused), and Arana are all given moments in the spotlight.

My one criticism of the supporting cast would be Arana's depiction. Reed writes her as a stubborn teenager who is being left behind for her own good. In this day and age, Arana's current role seems rather tired and not befitting her character's history. Still, she manages to inject her personality on the tone of the book.

In addition, Reed is able to get inside Carol's motivations a little bit more than in past issues. I liked the particularly bizarre symbiotic relationship between Cru and Carol. Both depend on each other but are clearly independent personalities. They both are fighting for what they think is right. Sometimes, this does not work out so well as penciler Aaron Lopresti vividly demonstrates in his panels.

The Brood are a perfect foil for Lopresti's pencils. He thrives on large detailed panels. While the splash page is becoming a cliché in most comic books, Lopresti's efforts are commendable. The splash pages here are earned by what has come previously and are noticeably less numerous than a typical superhero book.

Overall Rating...

Reed and Lopresti are picking up steam. It took them awhile to get up to par with this arc but the final issue promises to provide an exciting climax.