Essentially, what Marvel is trying to do with this book is “Thunderbolts” on an individual scale. After Carol Danvers (Ms. Marvel) appears to perish due to overloaded powers, she is replaced by Karla Sofen — formerly Moonstone, best known as a super-villain and one-time Thunderbolt.
Reed balances this expository issue handily with an action sequence that leads to a quieter “talking heads” scene. Reed does not give the reader the opportunity to truly accept the character in red and blue as the Ms. Marvel. In his story, Reed illustrates that this new Ms. Marvel is a brutal character who does whatever it takes to dispense with antagonists, even going so far as to disarm — literally — Gerald Wright, a character presented in this issue who is supposed to be conducting psych evaluations for Osborn’s Avengers.
The art in this book is solid, but deceptively simple. Marvel continues to allow colorists and pencilers to collaborate and blur the distance between one and the next. It really helps when the colorist is Chris Sotomayor, no stranger to Marvel’s Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel characters. The one aspect of the art that did disturb me a bit was the fact that Ms. Not-Marvel’s hair is chronically whipping around her head, as though it were a scarf, regardless of scene — battle, hallway or city street.
I’ve never really been a fan of criminals hijacking hero titles, but this one is a good read. Marvel appears to be trying to use the “Thunderbolts” formula to create a new generation of characters with the vogue “conflicted” moral standards. Plainly, the villains are in roles they don’t deserve and, in the case of Moonstone, this new role is only going to taint a legacy. I am interested to see how long Marvel lets this experiment play out, but I’m willing to bet that it will not be anywhere near as long as the Bucky/Cap experience. I do find it rather ironic that the Skrull-conquering Norman Osborn is duping the general public in the Marvel Universe into believing his Avengers are the “real” Avengers.
Be warned, this is not your father’s (nor mother’s) “Ms. Marvel” comic. The hero here isn’t a hero, but the story and art are heroic. This is not a book for everybody, but for those tangentially aware of the goings-on with Osborn’s team, this title offers a solid peek into the goings-on in the noggin of one of Osborn’s wacked-out “superheroes”.