By Brian Reed (Writer) and Sana Takeda (Artist)
Some Thoughts Before The Review: I became a fan of Karla Sofen (Moonstone) back when she was part of the Thunderbolts, so it’s nice to see her finally playing a larger role in the Marvel universe.
The Story: Ms. Marvel stops a meteor from crashing to earth and then reports to Norman Osborn about her assignment involving the terrorist group A.I.M. As it turns out, the reported events and the actual events are quite different from each other. Also, a mysterious being appears, speaking an alien language…
What’s Good: I’ve got to hand it to for Brian Reed for successfully weaving the stories of Carol Danvers into the life of the new Ms. Marvel. What Karla uncovers during her investigation into A.I.M. pulls a number of elements from Ms. Marvel’s recent past into the present in a way that creates an interesting scenario for the series as it moves forward. While the story being developed is, admittedly, pretty strange, I think it’s something that will prove quite entertaining; considering Karla’s villainous past and the position she currently holds.
Another thing worth mentioning is how effective Reed’s storytelling style is throughout the issue. By using the mission report to Osborn as a framing device, Reed adds a bit more to Sofen’s personality and devious nature. She does things for her own reasons, yet knows how her current situation forces her to act a certain way. It creates certain “character study” moments that elevate the book as whole.
The artwork can’t really be considered to be anything but divisive. While I personally like Sana Takeda’s manga/anime style (hence, it’s in the “What’s Good” section), I’m well aware that some people are going to be instantly turned off by it. That said, there’s no denying how great some of the panels and pages look. The page showing A.I.M.’s meteor crashing to earth is absolutely stunning. Also, I think Takeda’s artwork goes a long way towards helping Ms. Marvel #39 stand out from the Marvel pack. There simply isn’t any other Marvel book that looks like it does.
What’s Not So Good: For as much as I like Sana Takeda’s work, the smaller panels look quite weak. They seem oversimplified, rushed, and absolutely dominated by the colors. Thankfully, the number of small panels is kept to a minimum and does little to hurt an otherwise good looking book.
An additional “Not So Good” thing is how quickly Brian Reed moves into combing the old Ms. Marvel with the new. Another issue or two to establish Karla Sofen as both a character and as the new Ms. Marvel would probably have added a bit more depth to the series.
Conclusion: I’m definitely a fan of the new Ms. Marvel. Karla Sofen adds a lot to the series, as does Brian Reed’s intriguing storyline.