Captain Marvel #3 Review
Complex storytelling, with an intriguing main character and some really lovely art.
Some maddening politics in play, and The Avengers as interstellar kingmakers is worrisome.
Carol Danvers’ new chapter continues, with a little help from Star-Lord and his Guardians Of The Galaxy. Or maybe it’s the other way around? Regardless, your Major Spoilers review of Captain Marvel #3 awaits!
Previously in Captain Marvel: Captain Marvel, at the behest of Iron Man, has taken off into space to help strengthen the Avengers’ intergalactic presence and also to get her head together, on a mission to deliver a lost refugee back to her home planet. After an interaction with the Guardians Of The Galaxy, that selfsame refugee has stolen Carol’s ship in a panicked attempt to escape, causing Captain Marvel to set off into space after her under her own power in order to get back her transport and right what has gone wrong. Also: Rocket Raccoon claims Cap’n Marvel’s cat is an alien monster. (I have those same worries about my kid’s cat, actually.)
LOVING THE CHARACTERIZATION
As someone who enjoyed the previous run of Captain Marvel, but had some issues with off-putting and inconsistent artwork, the first three issues of this new volume have been something of a revelation. The simple maguffin (return a young alien to her new home world) has led to some complex storytelling, and the creative team has given Captain Marvel a unique voice in comics, tying in all of her previous appearances into a wonderfully nuanced portrayal. Marvel has been trying to kick Captain Marvel up into the ranks of the biggest and baddest Avengers since at least the early 2000s, but DeConnick has finally given her a solid characterization to go with her increased power levels and new codename. This issue shows off all of the above, as alien girl Tic attacks Captain Marvel with her own spacecraft, allowing her to show off her tactical skills before using her cleverness to take the ship back. The second half of the issue once again sticks an Earth-born superhero in the middle of an intergalactic conflict (a Marvel staple), but gives us a situation that can’t be solved by just punching an alien armada or stabbing the Supreme Intelligence in the brain. Captain Marvel’s attempts at diplomacy on the home world of the alien Torfu are entertaining, balancing some funny bits with a real sense of consequences and even a little bit of menace, and when Captain Marvel explains that she’s come to help, she gets a dressing-down of Olympic proportions for her hubris. It’s a great moment, reminding us that even our hero is a fallible human, and the last-page reveal is a gut-punch for the readers and the good Captain.
SOME GORGEOUS ARTWORK
I’m going to be honest here: I dropped the previous volume of Captain Marvel due to some really weird art right around the point that it entered double-digit numbers, but the story and characterization in this issue make me regret that decision. Moreover, the David Lopez art here more than makes up for it, as our hero has never looked better. Lopez also delivers great futuristic technology and spaceshippery, a must for a space-born story, and the wild aliens in the issue are the kind of thing I expect that fellow Major Spoilers writer Rodrigo would love, especially the woman with a crest like a frilled lizard. By far the most impressive thing to me is the fact that the issue takes Captain Marvel completely out of her element, but still treats her with respect and subtlety. My biggest complaint ‘Mighty Avengers’ Captain Marvel was the choice to make her confrontational and arrogant without any tempering of humanity, a characterization that has pretty much ruined Green Lantern for me for the last half-decade or more. DeConnick’s Captain Marvel still maintains the confidence (perhaps even over-confidence) and the brashness that she had from her earliest appearances, but rounds out her characterization with wry humor and a wonderful humanity. Hell, Deconnick even made Iron Man charming and likeable in issue #1, which is these days a pretty difficult proposition…
THE BOTTOM LINE: THIS IS REALLY GOOD
There’s political intrigue with the Spartax, a difficult moral problem that parallels real-world refugees and the historical plight of the American Indian, and our hero is faced with the realization that her pre-judgements of a situation may have been entirely wrong and Captain Marvel coming face-to-face with at least three situations that she can’t solve with photon bursts and raw power, making for a really interesting read. In short, Captain Marvel #3 looks great, provides a fascinating and nuanced story, and finally fully convinces me that editorial is serious about Captain Marvel standing alongside Thor, Iron Man and the rest at the top of the superhero heap, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. Heck, even the “Mohawk space-helmet” works here! I recommend that you check this book out…