Captain Marvel #1: Indescribable and Indestructible

Captain Marvel #1: Indescribable and Indestructible

Captain Marvel #1 Tamra Bonvilliain (colorist), Carmen Carnero (artist), VC's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Kelly Thompson (writer) Marvel Comics January 9, 2019 A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Fighter. Soldier. Icon. Warrior. Hero. The many facets of Carol Danvers are all on display in Kelly

Captain Marvel #1

Tamra Bonvilliain (colorist), Carmen Carnero (artist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Kelly Thompson (writer)
Marvel Comics
January 9, 2019

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Fighter. Soldier. Icon. Warrior. Hero. The many facets of Carol Danvers are all on display in Kelly Thompson’s debut issue of Captain Marvel, but which one will be front and center?

Captain Marvel stands tall, surrounded by images in fire of her at different times

Cover by Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts

Just who is Carol Danvers, anyway? What word would you use to describe her? The opening page of Kelly Thompson’s run on the series, in a nine panel grid, explores these different identities.  Captain. Leader. Warrior. Icon. And within the forty pages of this debut, we see quite a few sides of her.  You can’t put Carol Danvers in any one box, and that’s what makes her such a compelling character.

Carol is back on Earth but without much room for me time.  She’s off fighting Kraken in Lower Manhattan with Spider-Woman, then off to dealing with Tony Stark’s grand ideas for publicity (this time, it’s an embedded and probably underpaid for the job reporter).  Then it’s off to finding new young people to mentor (even if they don’t want a mentor), and a reunion with Rhodey. But there is no time to rest or deal with the matters close to home. Another threat lands in New York with reporter-napping on his mind.  And you know Carol won’t stand for that.

West Coast Avengers writer Kelly Thompson knows a thing or two about fast paced storytelling.  She uses her 40 pages wisely, packing in plotlines that show all these facets of Captain Marvel without leaving the reader breathless.  The wit that is Thompson’s hallmark is front and center. It keeps this fast-paced first issue moving at a steady but not overwhelming pace. Her Carol does not suffer fools gladly, calling out Tony on his metrics and fluff interviews to build her brand.  Her Carol also has room for compassion and romance: a tender if interrupted reunion with James Rhodes, a new mentee in Jennifer Takeda.

One almost hopes for some crossover potential with West Coast Avengers, as much as Carol would probably balk at their reality-show setup. (I would love to see Carol have a tête-à-tête with Gwenpool and Kate Bishop. Kelly Thompson, are you listening?)

Carmen Carnero honors the past in her design of Captain Marvel while also putting her own spin on the character’s look. The red, gold, and blue suit is there but her Carol has grown out her short ‘do.  Captain Marvel is muscular and strong but still feminine – and feminine without resorting to cheesecake pin-up portrayals.  Carnero has certainly had a fair share of fun drawing the Kraken that dominates the opening third of the book, filling it with detail to make it both scary and cartoonish. As a native(ish) New Yorker, I tend to be overly critical of my city when depicted in comics. As I look out my Lower Manhattan office window, I can confirm that Carnero has done her homework with this fair city.

Where her talent really shines is in crafting a good action scene, and there are plenty of those here. With assists from Tamra Bonvilliain and Clayton Cowles, art, color, and letters combine to give three dimensions on a two dimensional medium. From varied perspectives to panel layout to color choice, these aspects dance together in fine coordinator t to make action truly pop. If one has to pick a star of this show, it is Bonvillain’s colorwork.  It’s bright, it’s coordinated, it’s varied – and it always fits the tone of the scene.

If there’s one thing you will learn about Carol from this opening, it is this: she is indescribable, and she is indestructible. Mobilize the Carol Corps and get ready to fight like hell.

Kate Kosturski
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