Carol Danvers AKA Ms. Marvel is a former Avenger with something to prove. She feels that as a superhero she ranks very low in terms of popularity. She turns down Captain America's offer to join his New Avengers because she wants the opportunity to pull her own weight. Now, Ms. Marvel journey's on solo adventures to prove that she can be the "best of the best. -summary
If you were deep into the comic world during the early 2000's or so, plus noticed that at some point Ms. Marvel was named very highly as one of the sexiest female characters in comics. Then it shouldn't have been much of a surprise to see her finally featured in her own solo series, for the second time I might add with her first solo break taking place in 1977. Now spinning out of the House of M storyline, Ms. Marvel: Best of the Best, written by Brian Reed follows the character as she attempts to make a name for herself in solo action; with super strength, speed, incredible durability, flight, and good hand to hand capabilities, well, even with all of this she should still have a very hard time trying to stand out in a world over-saturated with many individuals possessing some or even all of these traits. And with Brian Reed practically botching this first volume. Sad to say, I guess she will have to settle for trying to be average first before being the best. We all have to crawl before we can fly Carol. This volume contains Ms. Marvel # 1 - 5 and Giant-Size Ms. Marvel # 1.
This portion follows Ms. Marvel's House of M story, and even concludes on the very door step of Civil War. In the former story, the Scarlet Witch made sure to grant the wishes of her closest friends giving them what they wanted. Ms. Marvel apparently wanted to be the greatest and most popular superhero to walk the Earth, which is exactly what she was in that world. When the world was returned back to normal, she retained her memories of the House of M event. She enjoyed being popular and loved by everyone, so she sets out on her own to achieve that same status for real.
Now there's potential in every story, and this story has all the makings to build one of the better "learn from my mistakes and move on" messages. Unfortunately, Brian Reed handles this material unbelievably haphazardly. For example, one of the stories here follows Ms. Marvel as she battles against a small unit of an alien race called the Brood. Now she's fought them before alongside the X-Men, so she knows how dangerous they are. To include on another occasion it took the combined efforts of the X-Men and Ghost Rider to beat them. In other words, they are very tough. Anyway, the battle results in a very large loss of civilian life, which wouldn't have happened had Ms. Marvel taken Captain America's very strong advice to get help from the Fantastic Four whom were indeed available. This is a living legend telling her to get help. Now, we not only have a veteran superhero who carelessly attempts to take on what was first an unknown enemy that clearly came from space. But later on, her complete failure isn't reflected on; she doesn't grieve nor grows off of this in any way. Why should anyone want to follow a superhero like this? If you think about it, she screwed up far worse than the New Warriors and the Hulk to trigger Civil War.
Later on in the book Dr. Strange makes a guest appearance, and together with Marvel they take on a poweful sorcerer by the name of Warren Traveller. He's clearly being built up as Ms. Marvel's nemesis, but even this story leads to a somewhat unsatisfying ending. To get straight to the point, this book feels like a rushed collection of good, yet poorly thought out ideas. When looking at some of Reed's other work, such as Spider-Woman: Origin for example; I can't help think that Marvel was pulling some strings here forcing him to wrap up potentially great stories, in order to piggy back Mark Millar's inevitable Civil War. It's a shame too, because this book doesn't do much to rope in possible fans outside of delivering some fan service in Ms. Marvel's overly sexy costume.
Roberto de la Torre is sharp with the pencils that's for sure. One thing this book has going for it is the artwork and colors. The character designs for Ms. Marvel will more than likely grab the attention of most guys who love sexy female characters. And although some of the action concerning the Brood was OK at best, it was still well drawn with the Traveller conflict looking very good too. There are also some very nice looking backgrounds of outer space, night time settings, and even restaurants. The dialog is very easy to keep track of as well.
Overall, this was a very disappointing opening volume, and this was meant to grab your attention in the right way. Reed's story elements were nothing more than bite-sized ideas that were unfortunately terribly put into action. For me, the bad storytelling is too much of a black eye. And for the record, this story also takes place after New Avengers Volume 3: Secrets and Lies. This is for those who may want more insight on her detailed reason on why she turned down Captain America's New Avengers invite. It's nothing too important but worth pointing out. In any case, if you love great artwork with a very sexy heroine and some decent action then this is for you. However, if you want storytelling that makes sense, then skip this book.
Pros: -Very nice artwork
Cons: -Story is badly written, some parts don't even feel thought out
Great artwork fails to impress when coupled with a largely incoherent story -- mostly because (SPOILERS IMMEDIATELY AHEAD!) the bad guy is largely most incoherent due to a spatial (?) condition of being caught between the various worlds of the Marvel Universe in this first volume hardcover outing featuring the adventures (including losing a cell phone!) of the lovely Ms. Marvel. First volume collections usually are great jumping aboard points for new readers, but I fear that those folks missing … more