REVIEW: Captain Marvel #2

by

Or – “I Still Don’t Get The Helmet.”

Carol Danvers has been kickin’ around the Marvel Universe for decades, and has made several attempts to break through to A-List hero status.  Now that she’s picked up the mantle of the fallen Captain Marvel, has she finally made it?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

CAPTAIN MARVEL #2
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist: Dexter Soy
Cover Artist(s): Ed McGuinness/Dexter Vines/Javier Rodriguez
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Publisher: Marvel Comics:
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Captan Marvel:  After a run-in with a resurrection Mar-Vell during the events of Avengers Vs. X-Men, Carol Danvers (the long-time Ms. Marvel) has officially taken over as Captain Marvel.  Her first mission went well enough, taking down Absorbing Man with Captain America before encountering one of her childhood aviation heroes.

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE.

The first complaint that I had about last issue was the VAST difference between the art on the cover and what we saw inside the issue.  It wasn’t even a question of the old publishing tactic of putting a hot artist on the cover to hide sub-standard interiors, either, but a fundamental dissonance between what we see on the covers (the clear linework of Frank Quitely and/or Ed McGuinness) and the interiors (a complicated and moody fully-painted art job by Dexter Soy.)  Also troublesome for me is the fact that Carol’s hair is swept up in a weird-looking bob on the covers, but is her regular shoulder-length blonde locks on the first pages.  The interiors are gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, but they’re miles from the simple-four-color promise of the outer shell.  Now that we’ve gotten that out of my system, we can talk about issue #2 in depth, as Carol Danvers inherits the plane in which her idol Helen Cobb first broke 37,000 feet.  I do like DeConnick’s Captain Marvel, with Carol Danvers keeping the edge that has always been part of her character without turning into a shrieking protocol harpy the way she did during Civil War.  Carol manages to duplicate Cobb’s aerial feat, but the plane suddenly stalls and goes into a dive, leaving her in a quandary:  If she uses her powers to save herself, she destroys a piece of history, but if she doesn’t, there’s a certain crash in her future…

OF COURSE, THERE IS ALWAYS AN ALTERNATIVE…

Before the crash, though, Carol feels a strange sensation, and comes to on the ground.  There are some tense moments as she tries to figure out what happened, whether she crashed, where she has ended up…  She ends up at the end of several unfriendly rifles, and has a very charming moment wherein she tries to communicate with her captors, only fo find them speaking Japanese.  I don’t know enough Japanese to know if their speech is accurate, but it’s still a clever moment when she realizes that she’s traveled in time, and struggles to remember Avengers time-travel protocols.  “Something about butterflies?” she wonders, and then snips that Spider-Woman was right, they really need a handbook.  The second half of the book is fun, with a group of female commandos rescuing Marvel, and running through the usual worries about changing the future, using her powers, etc.  The group she encounters calls themselves the Banshee Squad, and they’re a pretty cool bunch, sort of a distaff Howling Commando unit, though I question some of their costume choices as seeming a bit inappropriate for 1943…

THE BOTTOM LINE: INTERESTING, BUT IT MISSES A COUPLE OF BEATS.

The biggest complaint about this issue that’s NOT related to the choice of cover artists is the sudden way that the timeskip is sprung on the reader.  We’re watching Carol crash her plane, in a life or death struggle with gravity, when suddenly, BANG!  It’s 1943, and nothing we know is right.  Did she crash?  Is she hallucinating?  Has there been an external force in play?  We don’t know, and while the rest of the issue is interesting, but the questions of what in the blue hell is going on never really leaves my mind.  Still, Captain Marvel #2 looks great and makes the character appealing and approachable even in a strange land, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I’m happy to see Captain Marvel getting a good start, even as I’m leery of the cover-versus-interiors problem…

Rating: ★★★½☆