Ms. Marvel #32′s revisitation of Carol Danvers’s past has provoked a lot of discussion across the blogosphere.
Nathan Madison of Comic Book Bin reviewed the issue positively:
The art in Ms. Marvel has always been top-notch, and Paulo Siqueira’s pencils continue this tradition in every scene he illustrates, from casual conversations to action sequences, to even the gruesome torture scenes in this particular issue (of which there are several). Speaking of the gore, some may be turned off by the violence, as it is slightly more bloody or gruesome than your standard super-hero slug-fest; however, this is not a super-hero slug-fest, but rather a violent story, taking place at a violent place and time, and, as such, there is really no other way to tell such a narrative.
The strength of this issue, as well as the creative team as a whole that produced it, is the fact that a story can be told about a super-heroine, before she actually gained any superhuman powers or abilities, and it still looks, feels and reads like the same character; that is how one knows that the crew behind the issue knows what they are doing. Even stripping away everything “super” about the character, the character herself is still there and completely recognizable.
Phil Mateer of All About Comics Blog did NOT like the issue:
Ms. Marvel #32 — Writer: Brian Reed; Penciler: Paulo Siqueira; Inker: Amilton Santos
There was some talk about “torture porn” a few weeks ago, when Nightwing #149 came out, and this book ought to continue the debate, as we get a tale of Carol Danvers, pre-super-powers, as a fighter pilot who crashes in Afghanistan, gets captured by rebels, and is, yes, tortured for most of the book: stripped to her bra and panties, tied to a chair, shocked with electrical prods, fingernails pulled out, broken leg abused, forearm smashed into jelly with a sledgehammer… and then, of course, being a hero, she fights back, knocking out her captor by hitting him with the smashed forearm (bones sticking out and all), and then picking up the massive sledgehammer with her one good arm and… well, never mind; it’s moronic, badly plotted and badly drawn, and an embarrassment to all concerned — God help us if some soccer mom gets ahold of this, and we’re forced to defend it.
Melchior del Darién of Mortlake on the Schyulkill’s reaction is disgruntled:
So where does all this leave me?
I’m disgruntled. Although I know that people are being mis-treated in ‘the real world’ as I type this, I don’t read comics to see how it’s being done.
My considered opinion is this:
If you are a writer and you have made the creative decision to subject a character in your story to torture, I would urge you to err on the side of discretion. Suggest things to me. Let my imagination provide details.
Although extended depictions of righteous ass-kicking and retributive, justified violence are OK with me, the same is just not true for torture.
I’ll close by noting that I wouldn’t want to actually read a comic book in which a thoroughly loathsome character — someone like the rapist Dr. Light — were treated in the way that Carol Danvers is treated by her captor in Ms. Marvel #32.
So what do you think?