Kelly Thompson is seriously good at writing Captain Marvel. Just read my review of issue #1 of this new series and you can see she understand every facet of the character. It’s why I was excited to dig into the latest trade paperback which features a bit of the War of the Realms tie-in stuff, some closure on volume one, and the introduction of Star. Who is Star, you might ask? She’s a new superhero who got her own book just this week. That adds extra importance to reading this trade paperback out in comic shops this week.
This book is split up between a fun two-issue arc involving a body swap with Doctor Strange which is drawn by Annapaola Martello and then a four-issue arc introducing Star. That second arc also feels like a true continuation of what Thompson set up in the series opener from Rhodey being Carol’s boyfriend to Hazmat’s role as a padawan to Carol. Regardless of the story, Thompson continues to show she has a knack for caption writing and character exploration.
The first arc is a lot of fun and about as much fun as a body-swap narrative can get. It’s fun to see Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel’s ego’s butt heads. It’s also a clever plot I could see being an event-wide story if Marvel ever chooses to go that route. Accompanying the two as they attempt to fight Enchantress is Black Widow who serves as a good third wheel. Thompson gives her mostly comical things to do–like fight off an alligator alone since Dr. Strange and Captain Marvel are too busy arguing–which makes this portion of the book quite light. Martello does a good job with the comedic bits and has a very cool full-page splash that creatively shows the characters losing it.
The remainder of the book is drawn by Carmen Carnero and I forgot to mention Tamra Bonvillain colors the entire book. There are a few familiar tropes at work here like Carol pondering if she should start drinking again, the superhero who is losing their mojo/power, and the idea that she doesn’t fit in the world since she’s different. She’s literally half-human, but we’ve seen it before. Thompson manages to infuse her new ideas well enough to keep things interesting. The way Thompson writes Iron Man, for instance, is fun to see since he’s usually the bullheaded hero. Here he’s more of an annoyed sidekick. It’s also nice to see Spider-Woman and her bonding with Captain Marvel. The story culminates into a big showdown at Times Square that’s quite exciting and masterfully drawn by Carnero. More often than not Carnero is proving to be one of the strongest up and coming artists in the industry.
Then there is Star, who isn’t the most prominent character, but plays a huge part in the finale of this book. There are connections to Superman in her powerset, but it’s interesting to see how Thompson is playing with the superhero tropes with this character too. She’s likely a foil to Captain Marvel going forward since their powers are similar, but it’s not the most common origin for a hero, to say the least.
I liked this collection even though it’s two disparate stories rather than one long tale. Thompson continues to have a great handle on character development and caption writing. The sheer number of personalities that interact in this book makes this a winner outright, but if you want some new character introductions and a fun body-swap story you’re going to love this.