The Best Opener of the Volume Since the Doppelganger Arc...
I'd really hoped to have done a video review on this, but my webcam has been quite difficult lately to prelude. Anyway, this'll have to suffice. As mentioned within my title, this was easily my favorite arc kick-off since the Doppelganger arc/issue (which was also probably my most favorite ostensibly with that said).
There's a great deal of variety regarding plot development which is made manifest to the reader within a very concise means. That alone is probably enough to make any reader with a decent deal of intellect and/or common sense enough to pick this up, but don't fear, I will expound. Brian Reed's work is so underrated, and in my view there is no single issue that better represents this. The almost completely natural transitions regarding the flashback panels (featuring archaic art with that said) make it completely awe-inspiring that no one ever seems to recognize the sheer talent and truly honed craft that this man exhibits.
While the flashback scenes were very innovative in contrast to many of the modern conventions of comic books - as well as things representing a great jump-on point for new readers regarding Ms. Marvel in general, not even simply this volume - they probably aren't my favorite facet of the book. Something I greatly enjoyed was AIM's involvement even within an issue that's also a Secret Invasion tie-in. With their appearance here, (coupled with Carol's almost satiric "routine check-up" regarding AIM's operations) they really seem to have cemented themselves as the most static antagonists of the book. Something I'd just realized (while skimming through my issue to better provide a more comprehensive review) is how greatly they also pose an anti-thesis, as their sterility is completely contrasted by Carol's very off-the-cuff, abhorrence of the conventionally defined, brash personality. More than ever, I think they've really made themselves out to become a truly viable villainous union within the Marvel Universe, at this point even rivaling HYDRA.
Another high-point for the book for me was the excellent inclusion of Carol's very unique sense of humor. Her referring to AIM sneaking a truck under a secret base as some "old-school Dr. Doom st" right there", was probably the greatest display of practical satire within a comic book I've ever read. The point where she also indirectly breaks the fourth wall was again an extremely well crafted exhibition by Brian Reed.
One of my biggest issues (ha ha it's a pun) regarding the "issue" (see) actually has to do with art. While I think Adrianna Melo is probably the greatest artist I've seen work on a Marvel title next to Roberto de la Torre, I really don't enjoy most of her subjective depictions. This may have been Marvel's doing in fact, to give her benefit of the doubt (as she is a woman, but I'll get into that facet of my reasoning within a very short bit). I feel that it's possible that Marvel might feel it's more prudent regarding commercialization of the book to make Carol more "ostensibly feminine" (I suppose that's the most PC label). Not to say I find it very unenjoyable personally, but any enjoyment I elicit out of that is probably doubled by abhorrence and disgust. It's not ethical to make a woman who's meant to be your company's leading lady (it seems at this point anyway) into something analogous (strictly physically) to a sleaze bag a la Pamela Anderson (I've heard many references to it, and I suppose she is the most ostensible example). Again, as Adrianna Melo is a woman, I find it very ironic that she'd exercise any deal of misogyny, but no matter whose thought it was, it was indeed a bad one.
A few other minor gripes I'd had were regarding the Super Skrull and William. Regarding the former, I just felt there wasn't enough room for development. As much as the battle was fun, (and rather innovative in contrast to most of the more exclusively cerebral based foes Carol has faced) I almost felt like it was a bit of a tease in terms of how short it was as well as inconclusive. As this is a crossover, I'm almost certain he did/will appear somewhere else more conclusively, but if you're strictly reading this title, you'll probably be a little bit disappointed.
Regarding the latter, I felt the whole exhibition of melodrama regarding his first appearance was just a little much. I definitely did enjoy the second point of his immediate involvement; Carol's sheer emotion there was a great contrast to her more stoic, necessitated demeanor (in terms of her superhero function anyway, not "everyday Carol"). There haven't been so many moments where she's seemed so starkly afraid (to my acknowledgment anyway). Regarding the former, it definitely does further the plot within a very concise manner, and thinking introspectively, it's a little bit pedantic a nit-pick, but it's already there so I'm going to leave it (ha ha).
A pedantic point of interest (while dealing with anti-theses) was also the inclusion of the letters page. It was nice to see it back again; those pages are always fun. I don't really enjoy the arbitrary nature of it though with that said; I definitely feel it's something that should be involved absolutely rather than whenever the editors feel like it. As it hasn't appeared in the two successive issues, I really hope it's something that's made more of a staple by the point of the next arc.
To definitively wrap this review up, if you're following Secret Invasion extensively, want to jump-on to Ms. Marvel, (and don't want to go look for specific stories and/or try to pick up issue number one up until at least the end of Civil War) or are simply looking for an extremely versatile read, you have absolutely no excuse for not picking this issue up.
Thanks a lot for checking out my review; stay tuned for more to come!