Ms. Marvel (Vol. 2) #12

Background

Doomsday Man has been released from captivity by A.I.M. to wreak havoc and be tested by his long-time adversary Ms. Marvel. With the aid of a Targoth army, Doomsday Man hopes to finally get his revenge on our sashed superheroine.

Arana has also resurfaced and has discovered a mysterious plan brewing by A.I.M. She remains on the sidelines as Ms. Marvel goes to battle Doomsday Man.

Story 'Something Dark is Coming'

Arana stands outside with a cell-phone in case Ms. Marvel needs help. She calls Wonder Man who embarrassingly mistakes Arana for Ms. Marvel. Wonder Man will come to help our beleaguered hero who is in the midst of battling the Targoth army. Ms. Marvel remains defiant even though Doomsday Man has clearly been upgraded since the last time they fought. Doomsday Man relishes that the Targoth have infected Ms. Marvel with a visible skin disease. Ms. Marvel's anger at being infected affects her battle performance. Doomsday Man calmly takes control of the battle and snaps one of her ribs.

Meanwhile, Arana fends off some Targoth who try to infect the local populace. Interspersed is inner monologue where in voices inside Ms. Marvel's head stop the Targoth infection. With that, Ms. Marvel gains her second wind and flies back into the fray. Arana's overconfidence gets her knocked out by Doomsday Man. Ms. Marvel subsequently throws a car right into Doomsday Man's chest and rips apart Kerwin from the armor.

In the aftermath, Ms. Marvel looks on contemplatively as Wonder Man arrives late (Reviewer's note: does he ever get into actual fights?). In a later conversation Simon inquires about captured A.I.M. prisoner from last issue. We next see the A.I.M. agent reporting back to his superiors. Doomsday Man was only supposed to be tested by Ms. Marvel and is clearly a failure on the agent's part. The agent reveals that his trump card is that he alone knows where M.O.D.O.K. is hiding.

Sarah Day, Ms. Marvel's press agent, has discovered some interesting information about Ms. Marvel's new love interest. Our last scene is at the hospital where Arana is being treated for her injuries suffered in the battle against Doomsday Man. Carol arrives to see a distraught and clearly angry Mr. Corazon. He states in no uncertain terms that Ms. Marvel stay away from Anya. Carol suffers in silence outside the hospital room.

General Comments

First off, it was great to see Wonder Man again (even if he does screw up once again!). I really hope they ditch this Wagner guy in favor of Simon Williams. However, the strongest part of this story arc is once again the relationship between Ms. Marvel and Arana. Too often in the Marvel universe, we get father-son relationships (i.e. Captain America/Bucky, the recent Spider- Man/Iron Man pairing), so it's nice to see something different in this title. They better not kill off or conveniently remove Arana from Ms. Marvel's life as I definitely would like to see this relationship reach its fullest potential.

Another plus is this story has nothing to do with William Wagner. The story is a full-on action sequence. This is a nice shift as we've gotten several emotional "what does it all mean" moments from Carol lately. Sometimes it's just great to kick butt and Ms. Marvel certainly did so. The art in these battle sequences were a vast improvement over last issue's pencils. I winced when Doomsday Man broke Ms. Marvel's rib and was certifiably impressed at the amount of ghastly detail when Ms. Marvel's arm was infected by the Targoth. This time out the cover art returns to the "clean" and heroic style of past Ms. Marvel issues (as done by the stupendous Greg Horn). It's all for the best.

I'm not really sure what my opinion of A.I.M. is at this moment. M.O.D.O.K. is a hard villain to pull off without making corny. If Reed is going in that direction than he has his work cut out from a characterization stand-point.

I was a little confused about the inner monologue segment where Ms. Marvel gets her infection removed from some helpful voices. Some better framing would've gone a long way in explaining this scene.

Overall Rating

A vast improvement over last issue. My only hope is that this title can remain relatively consistent from month to month. Reed did nice job in providing a fight that didn't go through all the cliches while still providing an emotionally resonating finish. On a side note it was also good to see the return of Sarah Day.

Footnote

Looks like we'll be revisiting Ms. Marvel for the foreseeable future. Arana seems to have maintained a permanent fixture on this book. And a quick scan of Marvel's solicitations reveals that Arachne will be returning, no doubt to return the favor that Ms. Marvel did in sending her to prison.