Let me open up by noting that I totally get why Marvel would go with Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters for the new Captain Marvel series launching after Secret Wars. They showrun a great comic book related TV show that also features a strong female lead, Agent Carter. So they are fine choices. This is not a “boo that choice!” thing. This is only to note that if you have been reading Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps so far (the third issue is out this Wednesday) you would know that Marvel had a really good option on their hands already for a good Captain Marvel writer, namely Kelly Thompson, who is co-writing the series with the departing Captain Marvel writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick.
So far, the Secret Wars tie-in mini-series have been very much a mixed bag, but, with a few exceptions (most notably being Garth Ennis and Russ Braun’s delightfully twisted Where Monsters Dwell), the best series have been those that acknowledge the conceit of Battleworld while firmly placing the focus of the series on the adventures of the characters in the series in their own context, not in terms of where they factor into the larger Secret Wars narrative. A key aspect of that is world-building – some of the mini-series have done an amazing job of world-building (Weird World, Planet Hulk, Ghost Racers and Future Imperfect, to name four) where others are basically just variations on a theme.
Here Thompson and DeConnick have established a world where Carol Danvers is in charge of a squadron of fighter pilots who patrol this area of Battleworld to protect themselves from incursions from the sketchier inhabitants of Battleworld (like Ultrons or Zombies). The problem is that this is a world where Doctor Doom is the sun and the moon and, well, how long can a rational person reconcile something like that with what they see in every day life? What is the point of life if you can’t make up your own mind about things? You can have faith in Doom, but what if you want to take a different path? What I love most about this is that it is her fellow pilots that really first introduce the idea. I like the idea that the supporting characters are given such agency…
Ultimately, though, this is Carol’s book, after all, so during a mission where they’re told that there has been an Ultron incursion, Carol makes a brave audible during the execution of their mission (and execution of some innocent people, as it turns out)…
Besides the striking action-packed visuals there, David Lopez and Lee Loughridge (at least I THINK Loughridge is coloring the series – his name is on the cover but not inside the comic. In fact, no colorist is listed inside the comic) play a massive role in how well this world is created. Loughridge has chosen a reduced palette for the series, giving it a sort of nostalgic vibe, which plays in with the idea of them being World War II-esque fighter pilots, just in a modern setting. Lopez’s designs for the heroes and (perhaps just as importantly) their planes have been spot on.
Throughout the first two issues, I’m really just so impressed with how well all the various characters have been developed and how they each get moments to shine. It reminds of the work that Kelly is currently doing with her similarly large cast in Jem and the Holograms. Notice how big of a part the team DOCTOR is given – this is some primo dialogue given to a very minor character…
The idea of them, in effect, investigating GOD is audaciously clever and it uses the Secret Wars set-up beautifully. Thus, in this series, Kelly has shown an ability to play well with the larger continuity, develop supporting characters, deliver interesting dialogue and have a clever, engaging plot. These are all things Marvel would be lucky to have in an ongoing series. I understand why it is not Captain Marvel, but hopefully it can be something else.
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