A small week, with only three new titles for me; odd, given that its the first of the month: Ms. Marvel #23 Brian Reeds latest story arc on Ms. Marvel continues, with Ms. Marvel herself stranded on Monster Island and facing off against an army of Brood, led by the Brood Queen from the original Uncanny X-Men story (somehow still alive, and now changed into a kind of crystalline form), and the rest of her Lightning Storm team on the way to rescue her. This is artist Aaron Loprestis final arc on the title before his departure for an exclusive DC contract. He came onboard with #13, and, apart from a single fill-in issue in #20, has done every issue through next months #24, quite an impressive stretch, I must say. He w ill be greatly missed, because hes perfect for this title; Ill be interested to see where he ends up at DC. Anyway, this story isnt as good as the preceding few, in my view, but I wasnt reading the titles first few issues, which this ties into. Its one of those psychological stories where the hero confronts personal issues (of which Carol has not a few), which are tied into her powers. The climax sees Carol, with help from alien bounty hunter Cru, regain her Binary form, lost since Busieks Avengers relaunch, which probably makes her one of the top five heroes on the planet in terms of raw power. Obviously not going to last; Busiek depowered Binary for a reason, but it should be cool to see her back in action with that power set next issue, facing off against the Brood Queen again. Reed continues to do great work with the supporting cast of Agent Sum, Arana, Wonder Man, and Machine (Wo)man (he should totally keep his new body). Northlanders #2 Vertigos newest launch with Brian Wood and Davide Gianfelice hits its second issue. I quite liked the first one, and this is also very enjoyable. Wood established in his first issue that hes not going out of his way to make Sven, the main character, especially likeable, and this continues here; hes still exceptionally self-interested and crude in his manners. This is especially notable when he is taken in briefly by an elderly couple who knew him before he left, and is lectured on the virtues of quiet living in Orkney, in a typically sentimental moment that Wood undercuts with Svens revulsion at the whole idea (he keeps it to himself, so as not to alienate the elders). If Wood sticks to his guns here and doesnt mellow him out, Ill be impressed. He also bucks the cliche with the Hunters Daughter, the mysterious girl who appeared at the end of last issue; she seemed to be set up as the standard mysterious badass chick, but Sven sneaks up on her and pwns her fairly easily; she comes across as more an annoyance who randomly shoots arrows at people. Of course, shell doubtless still end up teaming up with Sven. And, speaking of teaming up, Sven gets laid with his childhood friend Thora (who is apparently servicing his evil uncle Gorm, which seems pretty convenient). All in all, a good second issue, although I think there are a few too many pages taken up with landscape shots. Uncanny X-Men #494 The excellent "Messiah Complex" crossover enters the home stretch, with only three issues to go before the end, with Ed Brubaker and Billy Tan turning out their best work yet (and, in Tans case, his last work on Uncanny X-Men before he leaves for parts unknown). Following last issues reveal of Bishop as the traitor to the X-Men, out to kill the baby, and the simultaneous discovery that Bishops future is the one that Jamie and Layla are in, we dive into that story. Bishop is about to kill the baby, but is intercepted by Gambit, Malice, Sunfire, and Vertigo, who beat him down pretty hard, and take the kid (Gambit declines to kill Bishop, reasoning that dealing with him will keep the X-Men busy; this turns out not to be the case, because Bishop comes up with a strong cover story that fools them into thinking hes still on their side, but its another indication that Gambit is due to betray Sinister at any moment). Meanwhile, Layla finds that a young Bishop is living in the camp that theyve been sent to. Cable, now having lost the kid, comes to the conclusion that he cant afford to go it alone anymore, and so he calls...Professor X; and, according to Cable, nothing is as it seems, and only Charles can help him save the day. Thats a great twist; Xavier hasnt been getting any respect yet this crossover, and has spent the whole time squabbling with Cyclops and getting talked down to, so its good to see him get a shot and being productive. This event is the best X-Men story Ive read in a long time. Tans art has improved remarkably since he first came on the book; I especially like his rendition of the Marauder Vertigo, and her powers.