Have you ever met people that are serious diehard fans of solely one imprint? Like they swear by solely DC or Marvel or Image or insert name here. That they are so stuck in their ways that, no matter how much you try to show them what else is out there – you are the one who’s wrong. Yeah, hi, hello. That was me – five years ago. For the entirety of my life, I have been a DC Comics fan through and through. Even look at my column here at Geek Devotions. Having spent all of my top focusing exclusively on DC properties: Justice Society of America, Batwoman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern & Doom Patrol.
About five years ago, a friend of mine had known this very fact about me. He, himself, was massively into Marvel Comics. So, this friend goes to a convention and picks me up Ms. Marvel #4. When he gives me the comic, he tells me about how Carol Danvers is like Diana Prince, one of my favorites in the DC lore. Needless to say, this stirred something within me. After reading that single issue, I embarked on a journey to know just about as much about Carol Danvers as I could.
Brian Reed turned out one of my favorite runs on the character. Reed wrote the character for over 50 issues during the mid-2000s. He took the character through some pretty amazing journeys: one of which being Dark Reign. Dark Reign was a Marvel Comics event that showcased the aftermath of Secret Invasion. Norman Osborn has some significant power and Reign chronicles Osborn’s rise and his variation of the Avengers using MU criminals.
For this review, we are specifically looking at the seventh volume from the Brian Reed era, marked Dark Reign. This volume covers issues 35-41. Throughout the course of the book, Danvers has gone incognito and basically one of Osborn’s “Avengers” – Moonstone – rises to the mantle of Ms. Marvel. One of the things I find myself constantly admiring most about Marvel is how they always manage to draw new readers on at any point. Any new reader could pick up this title and by the end of reading it, know the context of what’s going on at the time of the larger universe but also know the background of events like Secret Invasion– as well as a character like Moonstone.
Issue 36 does a fantastic job at laying the groundwork of how Carol Danvers has been affected by Secret Invasion, the Skrulls and the up and coming Dark Avengers from Spider-Man foe, Norman Osborn. Reed does a fantastic job at slowly fading from one storyline to the next, without the feeling of being rushed or suffocated. He knows how to balance the elements of the story so masterfully and beautifully. The reader never feels lost and yet, he manages to fuel the story forward to the next arc. The 38th issue is again another terrific example of Reed’s handiwork – exploring and giving readers a background on who Moonstone is exactly. It’s beautiful, poetic and heartbreaking all within the same breath.
One of the biggest downfalls of the book though is the frequent change in artistry. This volume contains seven issues. Within those seven issues, you experience FIVE different artists. The art of Patrick Olliffe, artist on issues 35 to 37, is this well-rounded art. It’s extremely bright and smooth. Then when you get to issue 38 and have art by Rebekah Isaacs, that bright palette still exist. Only now the smoothness of her predecessor isn’t here. Isaacs’ art feels a bit misplaced for the title. Then, the oddest turn for art occurs. You have two different artists on what feel like identical tones. Issues 39-41 introduce the smooth and deep art of Sana Takeda and Sergio Arino. Their styles of art feel reminiscent of Alex Ross and colorful manga had an offspring. It’s a very bright, yet sharp color palette brought forth here. The detail within the watercolor is beauty personified.
Overall, Ms. Marvel Vol 7: Dark Reign, is expertly written by Brian Reed. Reed manages to smoothly transition from Secret Invasion to Dark Reign without a hitch. He beautifully showcases how the events affect the characters within. While also managing to give context and background on all characters for any new or forgetful readers. While the storytelling is strong, the art is a bit less. Moving hands from five different artists within the span of seven issues. The inconsistency with the art does bring the quality of the book down just a bit. Though, it seriously hits its strength come issues 39 with some beautiful watercolors.
FINAL SCORE: 3.5 / 5
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