[Review] CAPTAIN MARVEL #1 Offers Strong Art, Clunky Story

FIRST IMPRESSION

The creative team behind CAPTAIN MARVEL #1 offers strong ink and color work throughout the issue. Storywise, the first half works well, but the second half starts to unravel into multiple story strands that feel unresolved and meandering by the book's end. I'll trust that there's a plan in mind, but breaking this up into two or three more fleshed-out issues might have benefited the work.
Writing
Pencils/Inks
Coloring
Lettering
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Carol Danvers is back in Captain Marvel #1, the double-sized debut issue of her new solo title. Returning from her year-long sabbatical outlined in last year’s excellent Life of Captain Marvel limited series, Danvers is ready to jump back into the action.

The issue opens mid-battle, with Danvers and Spider-Woman taking down a kraken-like beast attacking Manhattan. From there, we diverge into a few different open-ended story threads.

The Writing

Captain Marvel #1 is dialogue-driven. But, unlike the meditative style of Life of Captain Marvel, the writing here tends toward a light, snappy tone. Kelly Thompson leaves little negative space, filling each scene with quick banter between characters.

The book’s first half, focusing on Carol and Jessica Drew taking on a monster, is strong. You get a feel for the warmth and camaraderie between the two through their interaction.

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That said, they’re trying to pack a lot into this single issue. We go from a battle against an unexplained monster, to Carol taking on a mentorship gig, to an awkward reunion, into a battle against one of Marvel’s most oafish villains. Captain Marvel #1 is throwing everything at the wall, and not all of it sticks.

Before readers get a chance to center themselves in any one scene, we’re off on a totally different tangent. The story feels choppy and rushed as a result. It would have been a better idea to slow things down and develop one or two of these story threads first, as the pacing and half-fleshed story elements leave it feeling unwieldy and incomplete.

The Artwork

Artist Carmen Carnero embraces a highly-dynamic style in Captain Marvel #1. Each panel offers a different angle and perspective, with kinetic figures adding to the lively sensibility.

From an artistic standpoint, the book’s strength lies in the realistic take on the characters and background details. While I’m not the biggest of Tony Stark’s look, the character designs are very strong overall.

The inks in Captain Marvel #1 work well alongside the colors provided by Tamra Bonvillain. She employs a wide palette, yet the colors have a soft, muted look that complements Carnero’s art style. This gives the final product a somewhat painted, refined look.

Final Verdict

Captain Marvel #1 is a decent start for the new series. The artwork is strong, though the pacing presents an obstacle to really forming a bond with Carol or any of the other cast in this first issue. Hopefully later issues will resolve that.

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David DeCorte
David DeCorte covers comic book, entertainment, pop culture, and business news for multiple outlets. He is also a sci-fi writer, and is currently working on his first full-length book. Originally from San Diego, he now lives in Tampa.