Thursday, June 20, 2024

Captain Marvel Runs into an Old Friend

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This month’s Mighty Captain Marvel picks up where last month’s left off, with Carol buried in a glacier. How will Carol escape? Will she find the Stark lab and the secret to what’s been affecting her powers?

Cold Open

We begin with Carol talking about space and what little we know of our own galaxy. She gives a brief re-telling of the origin of her powers, and laments that she may never know the whole truth about herself, but that doesn’t stop her from being Earth’s mightiest hero.

When she comes to, Carol is still buried under an avalanche worth of snow and ice (not to mention all the emotional baggage she’s been carrying around). She makes quick work of the ice only to find an old friend waiting to greet her. It’s Tony Stark!

Sentence fragments… Just phrases!

Well, it’s not really Tony Stark. Thanks to a certain event book (whose name we will not utter here) Tony Stark is currently MIA. This is actually an A.I. representation of Tony which is part of a security failsafe of the Stark Facility. Since it’s Tony, he knows Carol, and is friendly toward her. Unfortunately, real Tony had canceled all of Carol’s security clearances. This activates the perimeter defense system which on a normal day would be a sheet of ice. But this isn’t a normal day, so it manifests as a giant ice golem that Carol then has to fight. Cue ice puns.

That’s not really a pun, but we’ll let it go.

Lab Rats

After dispatching the perimeter defense, Carol travels down to the Stark lab with Hopper, a paleo-virologist, and the Tony A.I. They have been studying some strange genetic anomalies that have been happening as the result of a massive energy wave. They are on the forefront of some big evolutionary shift caused by cosmic energies. Carol believes that is why her powers are going bananas, but tests confirm that, no, she doesn’t have the same markers. It has to be the Kree kid.

Carol recruits the researcher to help her get to the root of the problem, but before they leave, she tries to reconcile with almost-Tony. It’s not the real thing, but it promises to give flesh-Tony the message. Carol and her crew travel to Boston to look for a sample of Carol’s DNA from before she got her powers to compare with Bean’s (the Kree kid).

This is how Bar Mitzvahs are supposed to go, right?

While there, they discover the shapeshifter’s ship. Looking for the ship’s owner, Carol happens upon a Bar Mitzvah happening nearby. But which kid is the shapeshifter? It doesn’t take long for him (her?) to show… itself. And of course no shapeshifter fight would be complete without the hero fighting herself. Once the fight is over, Carol and pals return to Alpha Flight HQ, but the problem with Carol’s powers has not been solved.

All That Banter

Margaret Stohl’s voice with this comic continues to improve. This issue is fairly dialogue-heavy, but we hardly noticed because even when dishing out info, the back-and forth between characters is fun and humorous. From A.I. Tony and his scientist Hopper, to the crew of Alpha Flight itself, everyone is loaded with a quip or pop culture reference. It keeps the spirit of the comic light and fun even when exploring a serious mystery. Even with the weight of Carol talking to Tony for the first time since aforementioned event comic, the issue doesn’t get bogged down in melancholy.

The art and colors this issue are particularly good, especially in the early panels when Carol dreams about space, and the scenes in the Antarctic. The panel layouts work with the action and dialogue in an effortless kind of way.

No quips here, that is just a really nice looking panel.

Things to Come

The problem with Captain Marvel is that she never seems to be able to get any narrative momentum before some big event comes along and runs her off the rails. With the MCU Captain Marvel movie somewhere on the horizon, Marvel is doing its best to keep Carol at the forefront. This has the unfortunate effect of dragging her into every big time event that comes along. It happened several times in KellySue DeConnick’s run (which was amazing and fun when events weren’t messing with it). And the last renumbering was pretty much wrecked by that one event we keep talking about but must not be named.

…that I would be dragged into every Avengers-focused event.

Marvel is promoting its next big event Secret Empire pretty hard, and by the writer Nick Spencer’s own admission, Carol will have a “Huge role” in the event. We hope against hope that Carol’s main title won’t circle the drain again because of a big event. We love Carol and we root for her so hard, but eventually Marvel will drive away even the hardcore Carol Corps people if they keep sabotaging the main Captain Marvel title.


Stohl and Rosanas have just gotten started, and we are enjoying watching Carol grow into the post-event situation she’s been dealt. Each issue has been better than the last, and our fingers are crossed for that trend to continue. With universe-shattering events on the horizon, however, that hope seems in vain.

The Mighty Captain Marvel: Alien Nation Part 3 of 4

Writer: Margaret Stohl

Artist: Ramon Rosanas

Colorists: Michael Garland with Marcia Manyz

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Cover: Elizabeth Torque

All images courtesy of Marvel Comics

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