Ms. Marvel (Vol. 2) #7

Background

After the events of last issue, Ms. Marvel is still looking for Arana (who apparently ran off before Ms. Marvel could talk to her). Julia Carpenter, AKA Arachne, is still on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D. with her boyfriend Shroud. All heroes must register or face the prospect of being hunted down and put into custody. The fallout from the Civil War has left Ms. Marvel in the unenviable position of fighting against long-time friends.

Ms. Marvel's history: As a result of Kree experimentation with a device known as the Psyche-Magnitron, Carol Danvers became Ms. Marvel. The process altered her DNA to resemble that of her Kree experimenters. As a result, Carol gains superhuman strength & durability, flight, and precognition. As her character evolved, Ms. Marvel gained some new powers including energy absorption and manipulation as well as becoming the cosmic entity Binary for a brief time.

Story Details

  Ms. Marvel (Vol. 2) #7
Summary: Spider-Woman (Carpenter) & Arana appear
Arc: Part 2 of 'Battle Lines' (1-2)
Editor: Andy Schmidt
Writer: Brian Reed
Pencils: Roberto De La Torre
Inker: Jon Sibal

Arana, a teenager named Anya Corazon, is in deep contemplation when her father surprises her with a birthday cake. Her father doesn't know of her double life as Arana and she is afraid that he will react negatively if told. Her celebration is interrupted by the arrival of Ms. Marvel and Wonder Man.

One hour late, Anya's father is being held in custody. Carol enters his cell and talks with him about Araña's special abilities. The scene pans to a wide shot of Arana and Wonder Man engaged in a training workout. Anya's father appears bewildered and in utter shock at her revelation of a double life.

The scene shifts to New Jersey and the fugitives Arachne and Shroud. They acquire new clothes and hot-wire a car much to the dismay of the previous owner.

We shift once again to Stark Tower. Anya's father seems to have gotten over his initial shock but express outrage at the implications of his daughter signing the Superhuman Registration Act. Ms. Marvel gives a reasoned response which seems to sway Arana. She convinces her father that she is mature enough to handle the trials ahead. Arana believes it is necessary to help those in need and willingly signs her registration papers.

Arachne and Shroud are now on the road to Denver in order to pick up Julia's daughter. The plan is to get to Denver and then escape to Canada before S.H.I.E.L.D. can catch up to them. Julia decries the idealistic tone of the Pro-Registration side and wishes that things were back to normal.

Carol informs Anya's father that she will be allowed to stay with him as long as she attends her training sessions. Iron Man interrupts and informs Carol that Julia Carpenter has gone rogue and must be captured. Anya insists she be present at the meeting and Carol readily agrees to take her along despite the protestation of Iron Man. Ms. Marvel, Wonder Man, and Arana will travel to the Pennsylvania highway in order to bring the pair of fugitives down.

Anya sits and watches while Ms. Marvel and Wonder Man get the drop on Arachne and Shroud's stolen car. Arachne uses the car to smash Ms. Marvel into the road's median divider while Shroud knocks Wonder Man off course using his powers of darkness. Unfortunately, in the heat of the battle Shroud is thrown from the car and knocked unconscious. S.H.I.E.L.D. agents detain him. Ms. Marvel, clearly mad at being made a fool, throws Arachne's car at a semi-truck using it as a makeshift baseball bat. Arachne escapes by leaping onto the semi safely. The momentum of the semi and smashed car requires Wonder Man to assist Ms. Marvel in securing the road from any further destruction. Julia is hidden away from view. She watches the duo leave to fight another day.

General Comments

This issue brings on the action. In terms of pacing, issue #7 is much faster than #6. I'm all for it. Reed definitely knows how to write his action scenes by providing sparse dialogue that advances the thrill of seeing Ms. Marvel battle. You can literally feel the crunch of car against a P.O.'ed Ms. Marvel thanks to De La Torre's art. There are really vibrant colors that were largely absent from last issue. Wonder Man's eyes light up in a spectacular red hue as he tries to take down Shroud.

Arana's character is provided a more fleshed out characterization as well. Her decision to be trained may be seen by some as schmaltz but I thought it was a touching scene between a precocious teenager and her overprotective father. Ms. Marvel is developing into a mother figure for Arana. I welcome this chance to display Carol's oft- neglected motherly qualities.

Unfortunately, the Shroud/Arachne pairing is still not doing it for me. All of their actions defy logic and are based in purely foolhardy passionate motivations. Its one thing to disagree with the Registration Act but its quite another to put innocent civilians at risk by A) jacking a man's clothes and car and B) driving down a busy highway when you know S.H.I.E.L.D. will catch up to you eventually. Hopefully, Julia's relationship with her daughter will be better characterized by Reed in the last issue of this arc.

Overall Rating

A full web improvement from last issue. This arc is starting to examine the ambiguous moral implications of the Civil War without bashing the reader over the head with misplaced righteousness. There are even several light moments between the characters which complement but don't destroy the overall dramatic elements of the story (see the increasingly egotistical Iron Man getting rebuked by Ms. Marvel). The highway fight sequence was a fantastic way to end the issue and I liked the development of Arana's character. Hopefully, we shall see a better conclusion to Arachne in issue #8.