For years now, Marvel has beaten DC by having interesting minority characters, more minorities in headline titles and more minorities playing a significant role in their comic universe.

The one thing they haven't been able to do is come up with a female character to rival DC's iconic Wonder Woman in either power or stature.

Until now.

"Ms. Marvel" is back and not only is she headlining her own title again, she is determined to be the "best of the best." It is a goal that both she - and Marvel - are taking seriously.

Determined to have the character take center stage in the Marvel Universe, Joe Quesada and the other powers that be have had the character play major roles in their huge "House of M" crossover, in the "New Avengers" and in the gargantuan success that is "Civil War."

Writer Brian Reed has had Ms. Marvel overcome worthy challenges ranging from alien invasions, time-traveling sorcerers and former teammates turned enemy.

The latter predicament was a result of "Civil War." The tie-ins to that crossover, which occurred in issues 6-8, were extremely strong, and Ms. Marvel found herself battling Julia "Arachne" Carpenter, who changed sides when she was ordered to hunt down her lover The Shroud. Despite pleas from Arachne to let her go, Carol Danvers (Ms. Marvel's civilian ID) was bound and determined to be a "good soldier" (she has a military background) and bring her in, but not without a price.

Reed combines excellent dialogue, old-school action and an appreciation of Ms. Marvel's rich history to create a concoction that is absolute fun.

This was most apparent in "Ms. Marvel" Nos. 9-10, featuring Rogue and a Ms. Marvel from an alternate universe - calling herself Warbird.

Hatch happy about "Zarek"

Richard Hatch, who plays revolutionary Tom Zarek on "Battlestar Galactica," says he has not yet read the "Battlestar Galactica: Zarek" miniseries from Dynamite, but plans to.

"I'm looking forward to learning more about my history and backstory," Hatch said. "I'm amazed that they decided to do a story on my character and I'm truly humbled and appreciative."

Ava 'oops'

I made an error in last week's column. Angelina Jolie will play Ava Lord in "Sin City 2," not Ava Gardner.

It was an error Evelyn Ruth Ragan of the Ava Appreciation Society was quick to call me on.

"By the way," she said, "your readers might be interested in the fact that Ava married her third husband in Philadelphia on Nov. 7, 1951. A guy named Frank Sinatra. Both were friends of another Philadelphian - Grace Kelly. Ava and Grace made "Mogambo" together and Ava was either the only or one of the few Hollywood friends invited to her marriage to Prince Rainer." *