This story takes place post-Secret Invasion. Ms. Marvel is underground with her associate Rick Mason. She can not use her powers. The current story arc tells of Ms. Marvel's past with Norman Osborn, a mysterious terrorist named Ghazi Rashid, and a terrible weapon codenamed Ascension.
Carol Danvers and Rock Mason are at Grand Central Station in New York City. They move towards a locker discussing if they can trust Spider-Man. Inside the locker, Carol finds a tiny Spider-Tracer. Carol and Rick leave having found what they came for.
A day and a half earlier, Carol has a conversation with ex-teammate Machine Man (of Operation Lightning Storm). She asks Machine Man about something called Essential. Carol needs her friend's help and unfurls an android head. (taken during the events of Ms. Marvel (Vol. 2) Annual). Carol wants to use the severed head to communicate with Essential and retrieve vital information.
Later that night, Carol sneaks around a New York City port. A C.I.A. agent spots her and trys to stop the determined Carol. Carol's objective is a crate being loaded onto a ship. U.S. troops continue the battle after Carol fells the agent. Carol receives help in a tight spot from Spider-Man.
Spider-Man and Carol quickly defeat the remaining forces and share some banter. Carol threatens the agent in charge with his life but Spider-Man webs up Carol's gun to stop her from doing something she'll regret later on. More troops break up the superhero argument. Spider-Man scoops up Carol and they swing away.
Carol wants to know if Spider-Man is working for the enemy. She wants to know if she can trust him. The two form an unlikely partnership. The duo reach the Essential crate. Carol goes inside to converse with Essential while Spider-Man stays outside keeping watch. Essential turns out to be a robotic construct of a little girl. Carol hands her the data inside Stuart Cavenger's skull. She asks about Norman Osborn. The little girl warns her that Osborn will likely want to kill Carol now.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man has his hands full outside with more troops. Carol has the information on Osborn that she needed and meets back up with Spidey. She instructs Spider-Man to take the data and leave it in a Grand Central Station locker (the one from the beginning of the issue). Spider-Man demands he wants a date with Carol in return. Carol is shocked at this unusual request from Spidey and he nervously tries to explain himself. Carol lets him off the hook and says they will discuss it later. With that the partnership is dissolved and Carol leaves a happy Spider-Man
I can't help but compare this issue to the Ms. Marvel annual in which these two heroes last appeared together. Reed seemss to have learned his mistake from the annual and brings the focus on Carol. Spider-Man gets his moments to shine but is used properly as a supporting character in someone else's book.
Reed knows and enjoys writing both of these characters. I'd go so far as to say I wouldn't mind seeing their date being depicted in a later issue of New Avengers or one of their solo titles. Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man have some defiinte chemistry going on as they battle there way towards Essential.
The other elements of the book's plot are comparatively blah in retrospect. Reed is still not willing to fully reveal what he has in store for all of these mysterious characters. I won't care until I know exactly what Ascension actually is, rather than it being spoken in hushed tones.
The Cavenger sub-plot is definitely not new reader friendly especially to those that missed the annual. Frankly, it isn't a deal breaker as I found myself distracted enough by the interactions between Ms. Marvel and Spidey to allow Reed to hide his hand for another issue. However, I do expect there to be a payoff soon.
I want to know why Norman Osborn is a major figure in Carol's life as we normally asosciate him exclusively as a Spider-Man character. It is nice that this "Dark Reign" is making Osborn into a central power figure in the MU now.
The art here is solid, especially considering that Paulo Siqueira and Adriana Melo split duties here. It is hard to tell who did what which indicates a nice artistic partnership. There's some nice kinetic action scenes and facial work being done here. Spider-Man is appropriately agile and acrobatic.
On an unrelated note, it was nice to see Machine Man once again as the Lightning Storm team had an all too brief run in the book.
Reed's second effort at a Ms. Marvel / Spider-Man pairing yields an enjoyable issue. Some of the other plot elements remain undeveloped at this point keeping the story from a higher rating.