Carol and the Banshee Squadron continue their search for the truth in “Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps” #2. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Kelly Thompson have given their characters the familiar soldiers’ dilemma in this series, as the Banshees consider whether the cause they’ve been fighting for and the orders they’ve followed have really been in service of the greater good. This basic conflict makes great use of the new theocratic reality on “Battleworld,” but issue #2 doesn’t give the reader much sense of where the story is headed. David Lopez draws strong facial expressions and body language, but some drab coloring decisions drag things down. Altogether, “Carol Corps” #2 is a solid read, but it suffers from second-issue pacing problems.
Most of this issue is spent in preparation and intelligence-gathering. That can make for a page-turning story, but here the answers and twists are too easy to guess. As a result, even though so many panels are spent on plot progression, it doesn’t feel like much happens in issue #2. When the reader has already guessed the characters’ conclusions, it still feels like too long no matter how quickly the characters catch up.
However, “Carol Corps” still reads fluidly and snappily on the line level. This is mostly because DeConnick and Thompson resist easy, blunt characterization. For example, the debate between the Banshees and Dr. Nayar isn’t a straightforward fight between free thinkers and a blind zealot; instead, Dr. Nayar is just as inquisitive as the other women, but she keeps her questions hidden to avoid the too-high penalty for them. In extending that generosity to “Doc,” DeConnick and Thompson create more engaging dialogue and a more believable vision of life under oppression.
As far as the artwork, David Lopez has to draw quite a few close-quarters panels in this issue, but he handles all the talking heads and conversations quite well. He draws strong, readable faces that may not be as expressive as some other artists’, but work very well in the military setting of “Carol Corps.” There’s a touch of the stoic to everyone here, and it gives the sense that they’re all hiding one emotion or another. That look of mystery is helpful to a relatively direct script like this. Admittedly, on a macro level, I might like to see fewer head-on panels in the future; it’d be fun to see Lopez experiment a bit more with how he frames conversations. However, the individual panels are still so effortless and effective that it’s easy to like them as is.
Despite otherwise nice work, Lopez’s coloring often leaves me cold. I wish there were more variety or brightness in this world. The military tans, olives and browns make the barracks feel drab and weighed down by the heavier inking. It particularly detracts from some of the more badass group scenes, where the framing and facial expressions are powerful, but the light in the panel is jaundiced. Perhaps this is the feel Lopez is aiming for, a visualization of life under Doom’s repressive regime, but it feels sad rather than stylized.
Though I might not know where it’s going, I’m enjoying the ride with “Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps” #2.