By-the-book battle is a little tepid
Ms. Marvel battles it out with Doomsday Man, but it's pretty pedestrian in the scope of marquee comic fights.
One challenge in a solo superhero book is how to keep things fresh. Part of that is having an effective supporting cast that we care about, but a subtler portion is pacing battles effectively. In a solo book you've got one main hero to shoulder the burden of the fights, and more often than not they have to come out the winner.
It's the writer's job to make that interesting. From that perspective, for me this felt too similar to the confrontations in the opening arcs of this Ms. Marvel volume. Marvel holds her own, outwits the enemy, but is caught off guard due to her bravado. It's major deja vu here as Carol gets knocked out cold in the heat of battle, and makes another last ditch comeback fueled by anger.
I suppose we have to see Ms. Marvel get knocked down if we're going to get the weird alien voices of her inner monologue, but it would be nice to see her win a fight through sheer smarts and determination.
Arana is, as always, totally awesome. Her offhanded “That's hot” comment on fighting super-zombies was hilariously in-character. However, I think Reed should have had Torre rip off a piece of her carapace other than her face, which seemed a little extreme (and not consistent with how her wounds are written in subsequent issues).
Despite my critiques, I think the single pages of AIM and Sarah Day go a long way to redeeming this issue. A meaningless battle is easier to swallow when we see inklings of a longer plot take shape.
First, the Greg Horn cover is fierce! Ms. Marvel looks just as deadly as the fighter jets and missiles she's exploding past. Also, check out the detail on her hair. It's an incredible cover, but irrelevant – its a better pinup for the following arc.
On the interior, Roberto de la Torre continues to amaze. Past the obvious attractiveness of his pencils, I simply appreciate that he puts some power behind Ms. Marvel – she's muscled and not overly-buxom. I buy that she can hit pretty hard. Also, the colors on this issue are great – lots of inky blacks that make the action leap from the page.
Every panel I dislike has the same thing in common – I just don't like how Torre draws Ms. Marvel's open mouth. Picky, I know, but I feel like he loses the shape of her face.
This is not a thriller or an essential issue – just a low-grade romp against a no-name villain. Still, with strong art and some hints of what's to come, it's worth reading.