The second chapter of “Release the Flerken,” in the pages of “Captain Marvel” #8, showcases the kinetic artwork of Marcio Takara in a story that teams Carol Danvers up with Rocket Raccoon against an inky, black menace from the depths of space, as written by Kelly Sue DeConnick. Captain Marvel’s cat, Chewie, is actually a Flerken, a rare, dangerous alien that has spawned on her ship.
DeConnick’s Captain Marvel is casual and flip, confident in her abilities and certain of what needs to be done. What needs doing, however, leaves Marvel outmatched and undergunned as she faces a menace set on apprehending the Flerken. The writer provides ample opportunity to define Marvel’s confidence and command, but DeConnick also builds in humorous exchanges from Carol Danvers, Rocket Raccoon, Tic and even Chewie. DeConnick doesn’t make “Captain Marvel” #8 the second coming of Pizza Dog, but she does goose up the fun as Chewie proves to be integral, not only as a plot device, but as a protagonist.
Takara does a marvelous job of blending irrepressibly goofy concepts, like Rocket and Chewie synchronously shaking off gunk, with extreme seriousness, such as Captain Marvel, in full armor blasting the space menace apart. DeConnick writes to Takara’s strengths, never burdening the pages and allowing Takara to maximize panel space, filling each panel with great character illustrations and sharp storytelling. Takara is a natural substation for regular series artist David Lopez as the two share similar sensibilities in character expression — both emotional and gestural. Lee Loughridge provides consistency throughout “Captain Marvel” #8, as he has done throughout this volume, providing environmental shading as well as dazzling effects. Just as critical to the flow and cadence of the adventures of Captain Marvel and friends is the lettering of Joe Caramagna. The letterer varies volume and tenor throughout the issue, setting the tone for each scene and working in concert with DeConnick to individualize each character in this comic book.
As nice and fun as “Captain Marvel” #8 is, it just doesn’t feel like a very substantial comic book. It is almost as though DeConnick and Takara didn’t quite have enough story to fill two issues, but had more than enough for a single issue. The Flerken calamity is intense and exciting, leading to a satisfactory conclusion that adds depth to the universe and variety in the collection of characters filling these pages, but the last four pages meander. DeConnick adds details to the personalities of Captain Marvel and Tic, but it seems as though there could have been a little more. After the epic six-parter and this two-part Flerken adventure, Captain Marvel has found her space legs. It will be fun to see how well she dances with them now.