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So Long, Dear Friends

March 9, 2010

     After fifty long issues (as well as a few specials and annuals), the latest outing of Ms. Marvel is finally complete.  And the discrepancy between its beginning and ending are indicative of how far the book has fallen.  Mystique explains to the unconscious, fake Captain Marvel that he is a failed Skrull replica of the real Captain Marvel, the ninety-sixth failure (Khn’nr being the only success).  Since this one was decently good (though not perfect), Mystique decided to use him against Ms. Marvel.  However, after Ms. Marvel’s death, Mystique forgot all about him.  Now, she fights him, shapeshifted into Ms. Marvel, so that when the real Ms. Marvel arrives in Seattle, he turns on her.  He does also knock out Mystique, if that’s any consolation.  He starts to overload, like Ms. Marvel did when she died, and she ends up absorbing all the energy (sickening energy, as she describes it) when he finally blows.  Later, she tells Spider-Man all about it and speechifies about being the best that you can be.  Then, in a backup story, Noh-Varr, now calling himself “Protector,” faces off against some mysterious woman from the future while on the road with his girlfriend Annie.  During the scuffle, he knocks off the woman’s helmet, revealing her… as an older Annie.  Then, she goes back to the future, and he just stands there extremely confused.

     “Be all that you can be?”  Well if that isn’t Brian Reed’s attempts to cover his own failures on this book, I don’t know what is.  After all, he “did his best” with Carol.  Which, in the end, wasn’t very good.  Even in this last story, there’s no satisfying conclusion.  Carol doesn’t stop Mystique, and the Captain Marvel clone serves as nothing than a stupid plot mechanism to bring them together.  That whole discussion with Spider-Man was also useless, especially with the ridiculously cheesy speechifying.  If only she actually had lived up to her expectations from when the series began.  Then she would have been one of Marvel’s top superheroes.  Instead, she gets a cancelled series.  Sana Takeda’s art is as shiny and obnoxious as ever, though her proportions have definitely improved over time.  Ben Oliver’s work is still better, but he draws such wide mouths that they just look ridiculous.  Sure didn’t look like that before.  Well, I assume she’ll be a part of one of the upcoming Avengers teams (hopefully written by Brian Michael Bendis, who actually writes her well), so at least this isn’t the end.  And the Noh-Varr backup was rather useless, unless he’s going to be joining the Avengers post-Siege or getting his own book.  It was a tad more entertaining than the main book, and Michael Ryan’s art is light years ahead of Takeda’s and Oliver’s.  I’m sad to see Ms. Marvel lose her book, but I’m not sad that she is finally getting freed from a crappy writer.  Maybe if/when she gets a title again, Marvel will give her a good writer, the kind of writer she deserves.

Plot: 4.1      Art: 5.7      Dialogue: 3.4      Overall: 4.0

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