Ms. Marvel (Vol. 2) Annual #1

Background

This annual takes place post-Civil War and post-One More Day. Ms. Marvel belongs to the Initiative backed Mighty Avengers while Spider-Man runs around with the outlaw New Avengers complete with his secret identity and Aunt May intact.

Story 'Scavengers'

  Ms. Marvel (Vol. 2) Annual #1
Summary: Spider-Man appears
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Writer: Brian Reed
Pencils: Mark A. Robinson
Inker: Mark Irwin

Peter ruminates on his streak of bad luck while changing into his Spider-Man duds. He witnesses a typical New York City traffic argument. However, Pete's Spider-Sense warns him of impending danger. He gets smacked into a building much to the surprise of an office Ms. Marvel hhas come to arrest him as he has not registeredf with the 50 State Initiative. They trade blows for awhile. Spider-Man argues with Ms. Marvel claiming that the Initiative doesn't know the good guys from the bad. Spider-Man manages to web up Ms. Marvel and make a quick exit.

Before Spider-Man can leave a loud reverbation sounds throughout the area. Ms. Marvel, having effortlessly torn off Spider-Man's webbing, goes with him to investigate. New York City is under attack from robotic constructs. Spider-Man aids Ms. Marvel in battling the robots despite their previous dispute. Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man banter back and forth during the battle. The robots are seemingly defeated but begin reconstructing themselves. Spider- Man points this out to a miffed Ms. Marvel. He discovers a radio with the specific frequency of 88.8.

Elsewhere, Stuart Cavenger looks upon the destruction of his robots. He did not expect Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel to find the radios. Back on the streets of New York City Ms. Marvel finds another radio with the same frequency. Some reconstructed robots renew their assault on the heroes. Ms. Marvel calls for S.H.I.E.L.D. assistance in solving the mystery of the radio. Unfortunately, Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man must battle a gigantic robot until S.H.I.E.L.D. can get back to them. A few tense moments later, Ms, Marvel finds out from her contact that the signal originated from a building at 1700 Broadway. Ms. Marvel stays to battle the robot while Spider-Man goes to find the signal and controller.

Once there, Spider-Man discovers that Stuart Cavenger is in fact many Stuart Cavengers. He finds a bunch of androids all with a specific part of the original Stuart's personality. It seems as if Stuart Prime is away while Stuart Destruction wreaks havoc here in New York City.

Meanwhile, Ms. Marvel continues to bravely battle the robot. She gets help from a returning Spider-Man. The other Stuarts express dismay at Stuart Destruction's antics. Spider-Man discovers that the 88.8 radio frequency is embedded in Stuart Destruction's head. Spider-Man rips off his head. Before the other Stuarts can properly thank the heroes that same pesky giant robot comes crashing through. But Ms. Marvel has throughly exhausted the robot's attack and it comes crashing down. She leaves to attend to anyone that was hurt in the battle. The other Stuarts are needed by Stuart Prime on the Internet.

Ms. Marvel comes back only to find everyone gone except for Stuart Desgtruction's head. He relays a message from Spider-Man to Ms. Marvel one part serious and other a wisecrack. Ms. Marvel leaves with the head furious at Spider-Man's jesting. A smiling Peter Parker looks up at the fuming Ms. Marvel.

General Comments

Brian Reed has done a great job revitalizing Carol Danvers / Ms. Marvel since her series debuted post-House of M. The title has rarely ever been downright horrible and he's managed to tell some pretty compelling tales. Thus, I was looking forward to this annual starring our favorite Wall Crawler.

Much to my surprise, Reed chose to focus a large majority of the annual on Spider-Man despite the name on the book saying "Ms. Marvel." As much as I like Spider-Man, I expect an annual to at least focus on thr title character. Here, Reed seems much more interested in writing for a spot on the Spidey Brain Trust team. This assertion, to be fair, may be a bit unfair, but the fact remains that at least in this annual Reed is more interested in Spider- Man.

Ms. Marvel comes off looking like a dimwitted stooge most of the time, having Spider-Man solve all of the mysteries behind the robots and androids. I still remain unconvinced that anyone at Marvel can properly portray Initiative supporters with anything but disdain. Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man could have done so much more than what is presented here. It is obvious that Reed can not get beyond the most obvious aspects of each character: that Spider-Man loves to wisecrack and that Ms. Marvel can be a little uptight.

The one saving grace is the art contained in this issue. Greg Horn ends his run of Ms. Marvel covers with another painted masterpiece and relative newcomer Mark Robinson provides some eye catching pencils. His Ms. Marvel manages to exude understated power and beauty while his Spider-Man is appropiately animated and gangly.

Overall Rating

The art saves this from a worse score. I do not fault Reed for wanting to write more Spider-Man but he does it here at the expense of his title character.