I really like that Marvel has begun to re-release older series in anticipation for movies and television releases. This trade collects Carol’s Ms. Marvel solo that ran from 2006-2010 during an important time in Marvel history, after House of M and during Civil War. After seeing a life where she was one of the strongest and most beloved superheroes in the world, Carol decides that’s she’s going to be just that. It’s not that easy though, and as Carol navigates superheroing in a whole new way, she finds out the difference between doing what’s best and doing what’s right.
There’s a lot collected in this trade — from the beginning of the solo through civil wars, sidekicks, and more enemies, heroes and villains, than you can shake a stick at. The trade flows very well, and in my opinion does what it’s intended to do: catch up new readers on Carol before the movie and let older readers revisit this pivotal time in her career and life as a hero. It’s a huge chunk of that series, and more or less doesn’t skip around or include things that would confuse people not intimately familiar with the Marvel universe.
Probably my favorite part of this was the inclusion of Anya Corazon/Aranea. It was interesting to pair her up with Carol, and watching them both learn from each other was great. As anyone who’s read the series knows, things don’t end up great between them, but Anya’s one of my favorite characters in Marvel so of course I really liked her in this. The animosity between Carol and Julia Carpenter/Arachne was also a great part of the series. During Civil War, Carol was complicit in capturing Julia and taking away her daughter, and it comes back to bite her in the worst of ways. Julia is a character that even in universe isn’t exactly high profile, but her visceral emotion and the bond between her and her daughter was written nicely. In the end, I think it added a layer to the series and to Carol’s internal predicament that carries throughout.
The art is all over the place, some of it is very standard and kind of blah, but some of the issues, like the few illustrated by the late great Mike Wieringo, were beautiful. Even the art I didn’t like worked well enough for the story. I would say it doesn’t flow well, but it’s so hard to get a series during the time this one was coming out (and even today) that is consistently illustrated for all of its issues, so I’ve just kind of gotten over it now.
Overall, this collection is a welcome addition to anyone’s shelf. The series it collects is a great introduction to Carol and her innermost struggles while she was Ms. Marvel. Of course, as she became Captain Marvel things changed, and maybe this isn’t as applicable to who she is now. However, it’s obviously part of her history, and I think it’s great that Marvel is re-releasing it to grow Carol’s fanbase. Hefty and insightful, the Ms. Marvel years collection does its duty and shows new and old readers alike why Carol, Captain or Ms., deserves your attention.