In the conclusion to the team’s first arc, Carol must make a terrible choice. Is it good?
Writer: Margaret Stohl
Artist: Brent Schoonover, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Picking up from the last issue, turns out that Carol didn’t actually kill MIM, who emerges from the battle and snatches Bean. In the process, Carol’s strange energy surges again, causing her to destroy large sections of the station until she can be restrained. She won’t give up on Bean, and breaks out and heads towards a final confrontation to try and save her and all the Hala children.
And the arc ends, not with a boom but with a whimper. I think I tried for the first three issues to try and find the something good, but man, I just can’t. This book is bad. Almost worse, it’s not so bad it’s funny, it’s just depressingly mediocre. And that’s a big problem for a character with a tentpole film coming out next year.
Let’s be honest, this isn’t a new problem for Marvel. This isn’t the first character the editors have handed to an inadequate team, and this isn’t the first amateur writer assigned to Captain Marvel. It just baffles me, because yes, following the strong relaunch that Kelly Sue Deconnick headed was always going to be difficult, and not just for the devoted fan following that she got. Her work earned that attention because it was legitimately great writing and character development. So why do the Marvel editors keep putting newbie writers on what should be a major character?
I feel a little bad for being so harsh on Margaret Stohl, because I read her YA book Beautiful Creatures and enjoyed it. However, her style, especially the first person narration with lots of internal dialog, works fine in a novel but kills the pace of a comic. And nothing can excuse the ending of this arc–it was not only cliche, but so poorly executed that it came off as cheesy rather than emotional.
But the blame doesn’t fall just on the writing. A lot of her quirks could have been solved by better art, but there is some truly fugly art over these four issues. Somehow three different artists worked on this book and it might be the weakest of the four issues. Take that page above–as Carol crashes (or crssshes) through the wall, she looks like a vampire from Buffy. The line work is super thick and any detail is sketchy at best. At least in this issue, Carol’s proportions make sense and she doesn’t look like she was stretched in a taffy machine from Willy Wonka.
At this point, the Marvel Universe films don’t really tie into the comics, though I’m sure they give them a boost. But with a character that not many people know, I hate to have fans who want a little foreknowledge to pick up this book and judge her on it. Carol deserves better and so does the Carol Corps.