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Ms. Marvel (2nd series) #30

Issue Date: September 2008

Story Title: Secret Invasion – The Battle of Manhattan – Conclusion

Staff: Brian Reed (writer), Adriana Melo / Paulo Siqueira (pencillers), Mariah Benes (inker), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), Anthony Dial (production), Thomas Brennan (asst. editor), Stephen Wacker (editors), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Greg Horn (cover art)

Brief Description:
Ms. Marvel investigates the ritualistic massacre of SHIELD agents on the Raft and finds an even deadlier version of an enhanced Super-Skrull. Even the Skrulls fear this uncontrollable powerhouse. This brutal, animalistic Skrull possesses the unique ability to access a broader range of superhuman power sets instantaneously. Carol saves the villainous Tiger Shark from this creature and finds that its array of powers is more than she can handle. After battling it across New York City, she drops it into a cadre of Super-Skrulls. In its blind rage, it lashes out at these Skrulls until they are all dead and it is worn out. Ms. Marvel manages to subdue the brute and discovers a tattoo on its neck marking it as a product of Hydra. Several months later, Carol has assumed a new identity as Catherine Donovan. In this guise, she confronts an Arab man named Ghazi. The two clearly share a history, as he recognizes her as Ms. Marvel. After playing coy regarding her true identity, “Catherine” attacks Ghazi and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t reveal everything he knows about “Ascension”.

Full Synopsis:
Ms. Marvel strides into the Raft facility, passing the hanging bodies of SHIELD agents ritually mutilated by Skrulls. A SHIELD agent runs past her, his face twisted with horror. She thought the Raft would be a safe place to bring the humans she rescued from the attack on Manhattan. She was wrong… very wrong.

She hears a distant scream and heads towards it. In a devastated control room, she finds the super-villain Tiger Shark about to be killed by a large Super-Skrull. She knows in an instant that this is the Super-Skrull that the SHIELD agent mentioned, a unique Skrull that even the other Super-Skrulls feared. For a brief moment, Carol considers letting this Skrull finish Tiger Shark off, given his vicious history as a villain. But she decides that whatever else Tiger Shark might be, he’s still essentially human and she refuses to let the Skrulls take another human life. She drops down into the room, ablaze with energy. She lands deftly between the Skrull and Tiger Shark. The Skrull reacts quickly and slams Ms. Marvel into a wall with a single, mighty blow. Tiger Shark makes a break for it.

Carol recovers quickly and is on her feet. She comments on how quick this Skrull is and then watches in amazement as it changes powers and form. She describes it as “ripples” of both form and power as it searches for the power set to best fight her. In moments, it cycles through the powers of Wolverine, Spider-Man, Magneto, Iceman and others. It settles into a new form and attacks.

Carol realizes that this Skrull is different and can “dial up” superpowers as needed. She ducks his first energy attack and kicks him hard. He careens into a bank of computers and is buried under some rubble. Ms. Marvel acknowledges that he’s a “bigger, badder” version of the Super-Skrulls she just fought in New York City and adds “I bet you die just as well as they do.”

She lands a solid kick on him but he turns into sand and reforms before her. He strikes with the Invisible Woman’s force field and again his form ripples as it accesses a new power. This time, he lashes out with Iceman’s power and freezes everything around Carol, including the air itself. Her throat and lungs fill with ice as she’s encased in cold.

The monstrous Skrull doesn’t halt his attack even as Ms. Marvel is close to beaten. He punches her frozen form, freeing her. As he shifts to Black Bolt’s sonic powers, Carol realizes that her only hope lies in using this Skrull’s almost animalistic blood lust against it. She feels his sonic attack rattle her to the core but has no chance to act.

He shifts to Cannonball’s blast powers and drives her through the ceiling and into the air above the Raft. She is still choking on ice and trying to think of a way to fight this thing that even the other Skrulls feared. She tries accessing her Binary powers, but they won’t activate. They do manage to melt the ice that was still threatening to choke her to death.

She immediately lays into the creature, going for its eyes as she screams “You are not going to kill me! I will not die today!” She tells it that she knows it will just grow back the eyes she is gouging from its head but that it still feels good. The Skrull flies wildly through the city, crashing through building after building in its blind rage. It hits the ground and continues, driving Ms. Marvel’s deep underground without breaking its pace. They tunnel all the way through a subway tunnel and then out into the Hudson River.

Carol manages to break free from its grasp as they hit the water and flies up and out. The Skrull switches once more to Iceman’s powers and pursues her on an iceslide. She flies as fast as she can but the Skrull is hot on her tail. She leads it to a raging battle in the city, hoping that she can use the fear the other Super-Skrulls hold for this one to her advantage.

As she nears the battleground, the Skrulls rise up to attack her. She tells them she needs their help. Before she can complete her sentence, the monster Skrull barrels into the crowd of Super-Skrulls and sends them flying in all directions like bowling pins. It howls with rage and starts to attack the Super-Skrulls, literally ripping them into shreds. It launches an optic blast into the sky, pulverizing the Super-Skrulls that had taken to the air. Seeing this carnage, Ms. Marvel wonders what they did to this one to make it so savage and enraged.

Carol watches from on high as the Skrull creature loses itself in the rage of battle. It “ripples” through powers sets even faster as it wades effortlessly through the swarm of Super-Skrulls. It manifests Iceman’s power in one instant, the Hulk’s in the next before breathing fire from its mouth in a single devastating attack. Carol notes that it is not a warrior, merely rage personified. It fights like a rabid animal without thought, training or discipline.

It unleashes a massive attack and then collapses to its knees, trembling. Ms. Marvel lands several feet from it and says “You don’t look so good.” As it rises, it says something in the Skrull tongue before gathering its strength and charging at Carol. Though Carol is tired from hours of fighting, the Skrull monster is exhausted. She easily sidesteps his blow and looks down at it. “All tapped out?” she asks before blasting it with the most powerful blast of energy she can summon. It finally falls and doesn’t get up.

She waits for two minutes before approaching it. As she examines its body, she discovers a small marking on its neck. It reads “Hydra Prime 001.” Ms. Marvel wonders what the hell Hydra has to do with this creature and the Skrull invasion. She checks the other Super-Skrulls bodies but finds no others with this marking. She concludes that the whole world has gone insane and asks what she’s going to do about. “I’m going to fix it” she decides.

Hong Kong - Several months later…
At a luxurious party, a man and woman flirt. He says to her that she seems familiar. The woman groans and says that she gets this question all the time. The man asks what she means and the woman assures him that “I’m not her. She’s in New York, I’m a securities trader here in Hong Kong.” The man says he thought maybe she was and again the lovely blonde says “No, I promise. I’m not Ms. Marvel.” The man smiles across his glass of champagne and tells her that she’d pull the costume off nicely. The woman smiles and tells him he’s a funny one before introducing herself as Catherine Donovan.

He kisses her hand gallantly and she replies “My, you are so forward, Ghazi.” The man is taken aback and tells her that she is mistaken and has him confused with someone else. The woman says “Ghazi means conqueror, yes? Such a strong name.” She then switches to Arabic and adds “For such a weak and foolish man.” Ghazi is shocked that she speaks Arabic and says so. “Catherine” tells him that she learned it since they last met. She asks if he remembers her, considering how hard he tried to kill her back then. She adds “I thought I had killed you.” Ghazi turns and asks where his bodyguards are but “Catherine” catches him by the wrist and shushes him. She tells him “You’re going to behave yourself or this time I will kill you.” She charges him, spilling his champagne as she grabs him by the throat. She powers up her fist with energy and tells him she’d hate to do that until she’s learned what she needs to know. She says “Tell me everything about Ascension!”

Characters:
Agent Sum

Tiger Shark

Hydra Prime 001 Super-Skrull

Invading Skrull forces including countless Super-Skrulls

SHIELD agents

Innocent bystanders

Ghazi Rashid

Notes:
This battle follows directly after the events depicted in SECRET INVASION #2 in which Ms. Marvel is sent back to New York City following the Avengers discovery of the Skrull Invasion forces in the Savage Land. Since returning to New York, Ms. Marvel has been in constant battle against invading Skrull forces as shown in Ms. MARVEL (2nd Series) #28-29.

The Hydra-created Skrull warrior displays the powers of the following superhumans: Black Bolt, Cannonball, Cyclops, Giant-Man, Hulk, Iceman, Invisible Woman, Magneto, Sandman, Spider-Man, and Wolverine.

The events of the fast-forward we see at the end of this issue are not fully explained until Ms. MARVEL (2nd series) #36. This segue launches Ms. Marvel into her new status quo that ties into the Dark Reign storyline.

Issue Summary written by: Binaryan


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