With all the recent focus on Ms. Marvel’s supporting cast, there’s been much less time spent inside the lead character’s head. Reed’s deconstruction of Carol’s feelings and motivations has always been one of the more intriguing and unique angles the series has presented, so it’s good to see him turn back towards those topics with this issue.
As a “Secret Invasion” tie-in, it’s nothing special. Ms. Marvel, currently the only major superhero on hand to fight the Skrulls in New York, spends the entire issue fighting (and killing) the invaders. While the action is nice to look at, it’s clearly not an essential piece of the crossover puzzle. Regular readers should find it rewarding, though, as it uses the crossover setting to organically tell a great single-character story that fits the mandate of the book perfectly by allowing us to see what’s really making Ms. Marvel tick.
Reed’s examination of Ms. Marvel the soldier is a nice take on an angle of the character he’s struggled with in the past. During “Civil War”, Carol’s stance on registration made sense to the character but Reed admitted finding it hard to write against his own views. In this case, however, Reed manages to convey Carol’s willingness to fight from a military viewpoint with believable accuracy, even as she goes to further means than many other heroes would in her situation by killing the Skrulls outright. There’s a sole uncomfortable blip in this characterization where she takes a moment to watch a Skrull die for the sheer satisfaction of it, which comes over more sociopath than superhero, but her attitude is mostly well-realized.
Melo’s pencils are well-suited to this action-packed issue, and the layouts in particular are quite inventive and original which gives a fairly one-dimensional action story some visual flair that it might have otherwise lacked. Melo has settled into the role as series artist very quickly, and the book’s looking as good as it ever has as a result.
Certainly, there’s little to complain about. While the crossover should bring potential new readers with it, Reed is apparently attempting to snag them by presenting a standard, accessible issue of the series and hoping that’s enough to convince them. If the rest of the arc is up to this standard, it should be plenty.