Sunday, May 26, 2024

Mighty Captain Marvel’s Plot Thickens

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Last month, we got our first real taste of the new creative team’s take on Carol Danvers. Civil War II was not good to Captain Marvel fans, but Carol has managed to pick up the pieces and move on in some ways. She’s pretty much back with Alpha Flight, and has made peace with Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman), her best friend. The Mighty Captain Marvel (TMCM) #0 showed us the immediate fallout from CW2, but TMCM #1 put Carol back in her element, punching things really hard and saving the day. Now TMCM #2 continues with the action, the laughs, and a little bit of mystery.

And now it’s in my head…

In Space, No One Can Hear MC Hammer

We open with Carol, Puck and ‘Squatch out in space doing some routine maintenance on Alpha Flight HQ. The Kree girl Carol rescued last ish is inside being babysat by Chewie the flerken-cat. They do an a-capella version of “U Can’t Touch This” while the Kree girl who Carol calls “Bean” watches.

Then something weird happens. The Star of Hala (the emblem on Captain Marvel’s uniform) appears in Bean’s glowing eyes. Carol’s powers have a violent reaction. A huge blue blast of energy erupts from Carol sending Puck and ‘Squatch flying into deep space. Carol has to rescue her crew, and is immediately called back to the station. She has visitors…

Cap’n Marvel On Location

The cast of the Cap’n Marvel TV show have come up to Alpha Flight for a location shoot. Carol brings the crew around to make nice with her team’s TV counterparts (one of which is a green dog who looks nothing like Abigail Brand), when Bean notices something. An unauthorized spacepod is docked at Alpha Flight. The crew has started shooting their scene and Bean tries to get Carol’s attention. When she touches Carol’s arm, Carol’s powers go bonkers again and knock out the station’s power.

In the confusion, Carol is jumped by a mystery assailant. It seems the shapeshifter has made it aboard. Carol has only begun to think about who it could be when she is attacked by Chewie. Flerkens are pretty nasty, even if they are just shapeshifters pretending to be one, but Carol doesn’t have too much trouble, and blasts it out a window to a waiting spacepod.

Meanwhile the TV crew has had to evacuate–maybe for good–leaving Carol and Alpha Flight to clean up the mess. Carol knows her powers are going wonky, and she suspects it’s because of Bean, but no-one knows why Bean would supercharge Carol’s powers.

Like so…

The Shadow of Tony Stark

Stark has been AWOL since the conclusion of CW2. (Actually since before that because Marvel can’t seem to keep event comics on-time). Alpha Flight laments that he’s not around to help them suss out this mystery with Carol’s powers, but Carol knows better. Carol knows that half of what made Tony brilliant was having connections. He always knew a guy who knew a guy, and Carol knows the guy. She’s been paying attention.

Carol knows there is an old Stark lab on Antarctica that is home to a DNA specialist. She’s going to bring him a sample of Bean’s DNA to try and find an answer to what’s been happening and why. Before she can, she trips some defense mechanism, and we’ll have to wait to find out what happens next.

Probably more stuff like this.

Carol Back on her Feet

Except for the bit about Tony Stark, we finally feel like Carol has crawled out of the shadow of CW2. She’s on good terms with (most of) her team, and we know she’s good with Jessica Drew (and if you didn’t know that you should really read this month’s Spider-Woman because it’s awesome and Carol’s in it). This story feels like it isn’t dwelling on the recent events, it’s moving Carol forward. She isn’t sitting around moping, she’s bonding with her team, she’s working a mystery, and she’s doing it without Tony Stark. Seriously, the way Carol pushes past his absence is possibly the best part of this book (even better than Bean and Chewie eating zero-G jellybeans).

This. All of this.

Rather than simply lament his absence, Carol does what she can without a second thought. This could have easily turned into a moment of silence for Tony, but instead it was all about Carol moving on, which she needs to do so badly. Seriously, Carol, move on. Move so far away from what Civil War 2 did to you.

What Carol does is far better than mourning the loss of a friend. She uses the know-how she’s absorbed from being around him. She honors his memory not by being sad and giving up, but by remembering how he would have worked this, and pressing on.

The Mask is Back

For the first time since the new team took over, we see Carol in her cowl. It looks a little different than it used to. Rather than the mowhawk of blonde hair, carol’s shorter do protrudes from the top of it. Carol’s military-style cut looks good on her, and the changes to the mask work well with it. The art in general is very clean in this series. The characters are realistic and expressive, and their body language is skillfully done.

Actors… Am I right?

The two-page spread with Carol and company meeting with the cast of the show is particularly good, especially with each of the cast’s Txts being funnier than the last. The issue itself is quite funny overall even when the action hits. Carol and team’s back-and-forth are wonderful, and we could read a whole book about station bureaucracy with this crew.

TMCM has found its footing very quickly, and this issue was the best one yet under Stohl and company. Our one worry is whether Marvel will see fit to let Carol stay out of their summer Eventmageddon SECRET EMPIRE. Carol deserves some time off from event comics. Take note, Marvel! We’ll see you next month when Carol punches all of Antarctica (probably).

The Mighty Captain Marvel: Alien Nation Part 2 of 4

Writer: Margaret Stohl

Artist: Ramon Rosanas

Colorist: Michael Garland

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Cover: Elizabeth Torque

All Images Courtesy of Marvel Comics

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