When Carol Danvers was first introduced, we didn’t learn much about her past. She was a pilot and a badass, she got powers from the Kree, that was that. The Life of Captain Marvel, with the first issue out today from Marvel Comics, wants to fill in those blanks, especially as she has a movie coming, and the Carol Corps, as her fans are known, are about to see a lot of new members.
Like many Captain Marvel stories lately, this is about Carol’s inner life, namely the fact that her dad was an abusive jerk, but only towards her brothers. She returns to Harpswell Sound, the small town in Maine where she’s from, to try and bury the past, only to find both family tragedy and family secrets haunting her. And her fate may be tied even more closely to space than she truly realizes.
Novelist Margaret Stohl, who writes Carol’s ongoing Mighty Captain Marvel, handles the writing tasks here, and aside from some regrettable stabs at a Mainer accent in the dialogue, it’s a well-thought-out piece of work asking if we look at the ripples of our actions, and how families do, or don’t, deal with the sins of members who’ve passed on. Similarly, Carlos Pacheco and Rafael Fonteriz balance well with Margaurite Sauvage’s flashback sequences in the art, their muscular Marvel style standing in stark contrast to Sauvage’s Norman Rockwell-inspired stylings, painted in watercolor. It makes for a book that mixes deep characterization with quite a bit of drama and entertainment, but more importantly, it brings out the Carol in Captain Marvel and makes her compelling well beyond her fists.
The Thrilling Adventure Hour #1, BOOM! Studios
Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, M.J. Erickson and Brittany Peer offer up an extremely thinly veiled take on Nick and Nora Charles, the cheerfully lubricated sleuths, with the twist that they investigate supernatural mysteries, and see ghosts. Everything else is the same, though, which, especially since Acker and Blacker are sharp with the witty dialogue, is the smart choice. This is based on a podcast, after all. Erickson and Peer keep things light with straightforward artwork that nonetheless offers some impressive details; they’re especially good with a well-timed reaction from somebody horrified in the background. If you want a witty mystery with a strong dose of thirties horror, give this book a shot.
The Wild Storm #15, DC Comics
Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt’s deadpan, violent story is a perpetual part of this column because it’s just so well-executed, and this issue is no exception. If you’re a fan of the original books, the careful reinvention of some, let’s face it, rather goofy and painfully ’90s characters like Jack Hawksmoor are a joy, but if you have no idea what a WildC.A.T. is, this book offers a rich, detailed thrill ride through creepy conspiracies full of deeply relatable people. Even the worst of Ellis and Davis-Hunt’s characters, the guys blowing out the brains of their friends and threatening the world with weapons of mass destruction, are smart-asses with motives more complicated than twirling a mustache, something the book has kept even as it sprawls out and races towards its conclusion, just nine brief issues away now.
The Weatherman #2, Image Comics
Jody LeHeup, Nathan Fox, and Dave Stewart continue their story of the most innocuous man in the world, who might just be the key to solving the mystery of who destroyed Earth. Why, of course, would be a spoiler, but it introduces an interesting ethical angle into what’s otherwise a somewhat pulpy SF story: What defines a person and their soul? And does it matter, if horrific acts and justice for them needs to be done? It’s a question touched on lightly, as the book’s plot is zippy, but an engaging one nonetheless.
Archie Meets Batman ’66 #1, Archie Comics/DC
Jeff Parker and Michael Moreci write, and Dan Parent and J. Bone draw, one of Archie Comics’ hilarious/notorious crossovers. As you might have guessed from Parent and Bone on art, this is a straight-up, gag-strip take on the idea of the deadpan camp of Batman, with straight Archie mixed in, most hilariously in Parent and Bone switching Veronica’s outfit every other page. Parker and Moreci, meanwhile, offer a pretty straightforward plot: Riverdale, it turns out, is a bucolic suburb of Gotham City, so the rogues’ gallery is off to make life miserable for the gang, with the Caped Crusader and his retinue right behind them. If you have any affection for Archie or Batman, this is worth reading just for the joy everyone involved in the crossover, though, and for how well the two mix, which is part of the fun.
Infidel #5, Image Comics: Pornsak Pichetshote and Aaron Campbell cut right to the bone in the chilling finale of their horror comic about bigotry.
Tony Stark, Iron Man #2, Marvel: Dan Slott and Valerio Schiti focus on Rhodey this issue, and how he’s not quite as relaxed about returning from the dead as his buddy Tony.
Quantum and Woody #8, Valiant: Eliot Rahal and Joe Eisma have delivered the straight-laced Quantum and much looser Woody from the alternate reality they were trapped in, but they’ve brought something back with them. A lot of somethings. And of course their lives are about to get weirder for it.
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Terra Incognita #1, IDW Publishing: Scott Tipton and Tony Shashteen follow up on IDW’s recent foray into the Mirror Universe with… Mirror Barclay. You know, because that guy wasn’t creepy enough.
Clankillers #1, Aftershock Comics: Sean Lewis and Antonio Fuso offer up a grim fantasy mixing the bloody daily life of medieval times and Irish mythology, as an orphan and a mad king’s daughter seek the head of the goddess Balor.
This Week’s Best Collections
Shaolin Cowboy: Start Trek, Dark Horse ($20, Hardcover): Geoff Darrow’s gorgeous art and absurdist humor take center stage in this welcome return.
Corto Maltese: Tango, IDW Publishing ($20, Softcover): Hugo Pratt’s classic European comics hero, a sea captain, heads to Buenos Aires in the first English translation of this volume.
Rocko’s Modern Life Vol. 1, BOOM! Studios ($15, Softcover): The Nickelodeon show most likely to drop your jaw as an adult gets a loving tribute from Ryan Ferrier and Ian McGinty.