Brian Reed's been telling the tale of Carol Danvers for over four years now, and finally has a chance to let Mystique take a crack at the energy-powered Avenger. Telegraphed from the previews and solicits, this issue doesn't hold much of a surprise when Mystique is revealed as the baddie of the book. The surprise, however, comes in the form of how the pieces of the mystery are strung together for Carol Danvers. Even though she is on the lam, I highly doubt someone as resourceful as Ms. Marvel would have missed the Church of Hala slayings if they had been occurring for weeks. I understand the need to build up the severity of the attacks, but it struck me as hollow.
Once aware of the attacks, Ms. Marvel -- with some help from her data-pal, Essential -- discovers that Mystique is the driving force behind them and sets out to settle the score. This sequence is limited to three pages, but it is three pages of high-energy drama. There are confrontations, threats, and explosions, everything a comic needs to retain a reader's interest.
Takeda delivers the saturated art that "Ms. Marvel" readers have come to expect for this tale. Her characters' faces have a manga-influenced appearance, but are colored in a painterly style that threatens to soak through the printed page. The end result is a book that doesn't really bear any resemblance to anything Marvel currently publishes. That fact is hammered home further by the appearance of "Captain Marvel," who is actually Mystique. Captain Marvel looks magnificent and brilliant, but just doesn't seem to be cut from the Marvel Universe.
Takeda's colors are brilliant, and her treatment of Essential and the laptop screen image are images worthy of being shown as examples of what great coloring looks like. I would love to see Takeda color over some other artists' work, as I think her coloring is in a class all by itself.
This title is winding down, but it promises not to fade out with a whimper. There are two more issues left, and if I've learned anything about Mystique over the course of my comics reading career, I've learned Mystique is not a foe easily vanquished. I'm certain Reed has some great stories to tell beyond the issues left, but for now, this is a promising start to the end of an era.