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‘Captain Marvel’ #1 review: Fighter, soldier, hero, icon

Get hype. This is the very definition of strong character writing.

Kelly Thompson
Price: $5.99

Even though it’s pretty much proven superhero movies don’t increase comic book sales, you do have to admit the film makes audiences respect the character that much more. If it can work as a motion picture, that says something. On March 8th, Captain Marvel gets her turn on the big screen, which makes this new series written by Kelly Thompson and art by Carmen Carnero all the more exciting.

So what’s it about?

Read the preview.

Why does this matter?

Coming off a great series in The Life of Captain Marvel (written by Margaret Stohl), writer Kelly Thompson has big shoes to fill with a likable, relatable Captain Marvel who is now an Avenger and fighting the good fight on Earth. The character has been in outer space so long that simply being on Earth makes this book feel fresh, and for all intents and purposes the creative team knocks this one out of the park.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

I love this page!
Credit: Marvel Comics

Carmen Carnero opens the issue with an excellent 9-panel grid with colors by Tamra Bonvillain and letters by Clayton Cowles. These panels are efficient in telling Carol’s long and sometimes rocky past, be it when she was made of energy, wearing the black costume, or sporting a mohawk. Truth be told, these visuals feature the costume more than anything, but simply seeing them rendered here is a nice way of giving the past a nod and pushing forward with something new. Carnero and co. bring that feel through the visuals thanks to a giant alien monster fight, plenty of superhero cameos and a Carol Danvers who is resolute and strong. You see it in her expressions, how she volleys back at Tony Stark wounding his ego, or simply putting her game face on to beat up a misogynistic villain. The art hammers home character and there’s a lot on display here.

I was quite happy with the scripting of this issue, which utilizes Thompson’s strong sense of voice for the characters. The dialogue can be playful, with short replies peppered between Carol and Tony, or Carol and other characters. It makes reading the words here fun and actually motivates you to get into character while you read them. There are surprises which I won’t spoil, but romantic tensions and frustrations due to work duties all are genuine and flow nicely.

Speaking of flow, the plot of this issue is quite fun. There is plenty of action, tons of character dynamics in play, and a cliffhanger that seems to suggest everything we thought we were getting is on hold for something totally badass. Seriously, Thompson ends this issue making you want more of what we get here and yet promising something completely different. It’s exciting and it’ll make you want that second issue yesterday.

It can’t be perfect, can it?

The monster design isn’t bad either.
Credit: Marvel Comics

Even though it flows nicely, can there be too much dialogue? There are points of fatigue, but then the scene changes and a new dynamic is in play. Thompson has to do some heavy lifting introducing a mentorship that requires backstory of a character that slowed things down. It takes up a page, but it’s really the only gripe I can muster.

Is it good?

Captain Marvel: fighter, soldier, hero, icon…this issue delivers on those and more. The creative team has a confident handle on the character in a comic that is entertaining, endearing, and exciting all at once. Before you get excited about the movie, get excited about this series. It’s the real deal. Get hype. This is the very definition of strong character writing.

Captain Marvel #1
Is it good?
Before you get excited about the movie, get excited about this series. It's the real deal. Get hype. This is the very definition of strong character writing.
Strong dialogue translates to strong characters and fun dynamics in play
Great art with plenty of action
Sets up a fantastic set of characters only to wallop you with a cliffhanger (in a good way)
I got a bit fatigued with with the dialogue at one point

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