Sunday, April 14, 2024

Mighty Captain Marvel #1 Comes Out of the Shadow of Civil War II

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Our poor Carol has been through a lot lately. Civil War II (CW2) really put her through the ringer. She lost her main squeeze, James Rhodes (who was killed), she lost her BFF, Jessica Drew (who was angry because Bruce Banner was killed), and she lost her biggest fan, Kamala Kahn (whose best friend blew himself up because of CW2 junk, but didn’t die, but he left, you know what, go read the second collected volumes of Spiderwoman and Ms. Marvel because they are super good and it will save us from all this ‘splaining).

Seriously, go get them right now.

Anyways, we’ve never seen this many stories motivated by fridgings all coming together like this before. At least, it was all men being fridged this time around (not that it makes that trope any better). Poor Jennifer Walters is having to deal with the fallout of Bruce Banner’s death as well (in her new ongoing Hulk, which also gets a recommend from us because She-Hulk is awesome). Like it or not, this is the hand we’ve been dealt with CW2, and all of us, including Carol, are trying to move on with our lives.

Mighty Captain Marvel #0 introduced us to the Carol we’ve got now that CW2 is over. She’s a bit shell-shocked. She’s having very Luke Skywalker dreams of fighting with Iron Man armor piloted by herself. Her actions during the event were polarizing, and while half the world believes she is a hero, the other half won’t return her phone calls. On top of all of that, she still has to deal with being the commander of Alpha Flight. At least she and Jess made up.

Carol and Jess get Meta

We open with a battle already in progress between Captain Marvel and some dude named Hero Man? Who is this weirdo? Their banter is trite and awful, and soon they segue from fighting to smooching. What is happening? OH, it’s a “Cap’n Marvel” television show. Carol and Jess are on set to give notes, and boy do they have some.

MCU folks should be taking notes.

But before the director can defend his “vision”, Carol gets a call from the President, and she’s off on a mission. It seems that the alien refugees from the zero issue were a drop in the bucket, and there are enough homeless aliens to set up refugee camps on earth. One of the camps is under attack by the US military, or someone who looks like US military. They are after a Kree child. Captain Marvel, being half Kree, is having none of it and zooms to the rescue.

Shapeshifters, Why’d it Have to be Shapeshifters?

Carol arrives in time to see the kid get shoved into a pod by her attacker. The villain changes shape from a soldier to the Kree child in order to befuddle our hero, but Carol doesn’t falter. She neutralizes the threat and chases down the escape pod landing it safely at Alpha Flight HQ in orbit. The kid is quiet, and doesn’t say much while being given a tour of the station.

What is with this kid?

The tour is cut short when Carol has to attend a meeting of the board where she questions the need for meetings in the wake of a refugee crisis. The board insists that meetings are necessary, as is the awful TV show for the licensing revenue it brings. The show helps keep the lights on, and Carol needs to fall in line. One last glimpse of the shapeshifter sets us up for the plot going forward, and we are out.

And the Verdict

We were so excited for this. SO EXCITED. The zero issue let us know we were in good hands with this new creative team, so our hopes were high for this one. As number ones go, this delivered the goods. The false-start with the tv show was brilliant, and a fun bit of meta-commentary. It also gave us some Carol and Jess time which is always ALWAYS a good thing (got to come up with a good portmanteau for them. Jessirol? Carica? Spider-Marvel? Sparvel?) Jess reminds Carol that she is an important role model, and this show can only help that.

…and it wasn’t just the showrunners.

There was a bit of Carol infodumping while she flew to the refugee camp, which is forgivable and pretty much expected in a number one. We have to remember that there are likely to be a bunch of new readers just jumping on, so a little Carol backstory doesn’t hurt. We’re marginally less thrilled with the main conflict though. This shapeshifter character, whoever they are, is planning some kind of long game, so this is is all setup. This makes the second half of the book drag a little. It picks up some with a few choice character moments like Carol spending time talking to the Kree child. Also, the final page cliffhanger is skillfully done (even if we saw it coming) and leaves us ready for more.

The board meeting portion was another high point, with some more meta-commentary about building (space) walls and accepting refugees (poignant, no?) Much of this is delivered by Steve Rogers Hydra-Cap (collective eyeroll at Hydra-Cap). Also we are assured, that yes, the Cap’n Marvel breakfast cereal TV Show is a necessary thing that will continue, and we (and Jess, probably) are delighted by that concept.

Jess. Never change.

Art and Colors

The Art is good. For this issue being relatively talky, the characters’ posture and expressions work really well. Abigail Brand is at her frowniest, and we love her when she’s frowny. Our one small complaint is that Sasquatch looks considerably more ape-like than we remember, but it isn’t totally off-model. The colors are great, especially at the refugee camp, which looked like it was caught right at the magic hour (it’s a movie term, look it up), and at Alpha Flight station which is as stark and grey as you’d expect.

Scowl, Abby, Scowl…

Our favorite little Easter Egg (if you’d call it that) was a certain name of a certain essential Captain Marvel writer that appeared in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it panel early in the issue. All told, this was a solid start to a series we’re really excited to read in the months to come. Join us next month for Mighty Captain Marvel #2!

The Mighty Captain Marvel #1: Alien Nation part 1 of 4

Writer: Margaret Stohl

Art: Ramon Rosanas

Colors: Michael Garland

Letters: VC’s Joe Caramanga

Cover: Elizabeth Torque

All images courtesy of Marvel Comics

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