This week, the breakout character from Marvel’s animated What If…? series arrives in comic book form with the debut of the new Captain Carter miniseries! How does the character fare with a change of medium?
We’ve got a review of Captain Carter #1, plus a Rapid Rundown of other new Marvel releases, all ahead in this week’s installment of The Marvel Rundown!
Captain Carter #1
Writer: Jamie McKelvie
Artist: Marika Cresta
Color Artist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist/Newspaper Design: Jamie McKelvie
Reviewed by Zoe Tunnell
It would be very easy to write Captain Carter off as a tie-in comic, built solely to tie-into the buzz from the MCU’s What If…? episode starring a shield-wielding Peggy Carter. Even beyond that, the premise of a woman-out-of-time from WW2 finding herself awake in the modern era is a story well-tread by any of the several Captain America origin re-tellings. Thankfully, Jamie McKelvie, Marika Cresta and Erick Arciniega have managed to bypass both of these outcomes and deliver a satisfyingly distinct debut for the Marvel Multiverse’s newest Captain.
Captain Carter’s biggest strength is its star, the eponymous captain, Peggy Carter. Posh but with her feet on the ground, Peggy is instantly likable and a delight to follow as she adjusts to modern British society. Gleefully enjoying modern changes such as far more food options and widespread information access alongside annoyances like her DJ upstairs neighbor constantly waking her up, Peggy’s fish-out-of-water antics never stray into bitter out-of-touch old woman unpleasantness, thank God. Furthermore, her refusal to let anyone, especially any man, push her around or write her off as a relic gives her more of a harder edge than most uses of Steve Rogers in this position.
Nowhere is this more potent than when Peggy runs into the current hyper-right-leaning climate of British politics via Prime Minister Harry Williams. An attempt to get Captain Carter back into the spotlight as Britain’s premiere superhero quickly bleeds from seeming eager excitement to a far more chilling desire to push Great Britain as a world power who can throw its weight around. While not a massive part of the issue, it’s clearly a plot point McKelvie plans to come back to.
This, and the following scene with Peggy visiting her family’s burial plot, are also home to some of the issue’s best art showcases. Cresta’s greatest strength is in her emotionality and figurework, with some of the latter action scenes landing a bit stiff in comparison. The conversation between Peggy and her handler Lizzie Braddock (always nice to see Betsy) paired with Peggy’s tearful farewell to her long-dead family are the absolute highlight, and solidify the book’s visual identity as one to pay attention to.
Captain Carter isn’t the strongest debut I’ve ever read and suffers from a few clunky bits of dialogue on top of the aforementioned stiff action, but none of those issues stop the alternate universe story from being an enjoyable read. It may not set the world on fire, but Captain Carter has me hooked to read the rest of its 5-issue run. When it comes to monthly superhero comics, that’s an achievement on its own, and something worth giving a shot.
Final Verdict: Browse
- Devil’s Reign: Superior Four #3
- This whole series has been a bit of an odd duck. Much of the book has been spent following the four Otto Octaviuses (?) as they bounce around the multiverse trying to prove their supremacy (to varied success); however, Zac Thompson’s real focus seems to be how hard it is for Otto to come to terms with the fact that his ego is the biggest obstacle to his goals. The story works when it leans into that vulnerability and Otto’s desire to be a good man, but it struggles in the execution of this idea. There’s a funny mention of the cyclical nature of comics in this issue, though it fails a bit because Doc Ock has been one of the worst examples of this in recent years. I hope we get the ‘heroic but flawed’ Ock back at some point, as that’s when he felt most compelling, but it remains to be seen if any of that comes back. Thompson has seeded a lot of different ideas for a potential follow up to this series, and while I’ll be excited if that happens, I think we’ll get a lot more of it in the upcoming relaunch of Amazing Spider-Man. The art in this was really fun, with Davide Tinto and Matt Milla delivering fun action and great designs. The worlds explored in this mini, especially the Mobile Sanctum of Earth-8968, look fantastic, so I hope to see this team paired up again soon. —CB
- Star Wars: Han Solo & Chewbacca #1
- Before the events of A New Hope, and before he became a critical part of the Rebel Alliance, everyone’s favorite space smuggler Han Solo did many jobs for the intergalactic gangster Jabba the Hutt, and this is the period of Han’s life that writer Marc Guggenheim and artist David Messina explore. Taking a heist job from Jabba, Han and Chewbacca, joined by Rodian bounty hunter Greedo, head back to the one place in the galaxy Han doesn’t want to go: Corellia. As Star Wars isn’t just about space battles and laser swords, there’s going to be some type of family drama as Han schemes on stealing the ashes of Jabba’s dead enemy, but yeah, it’s Star Wars. And with that, this book is mostly for the diehard fans who have to know everything —GC3
- Women of Marvel (2022) #1
- By now, you know the gist of what to expect from Marvel Comics anthologies like the Marvel’s Voices line and Women of Marvel, and this issue once again delivers. This lineup pulls out all the stops: Jordie Bellaire pens another story (be sure and check out Darkhold: Wasp #1 if you missed her previous script) with Zoe Thorogood about “feminist super hero icon” Jessica Jones, and stories by Charlie Jane Anders and Preeti Chhibber. Like last year’s Women of Marvel issue, this one also has a series of cute one-page comics throughout the anthology, this time centering Black Cat’s past jobs. Plus, it features excellent supplementary material, including an introduction by Gail Simone, an enlightening interview with editor Bobbie Chase conducted by Angélique Roché, and a fun feature that gives the creators a chance to share their favorite fictional heroes (Marvel and non-Marvel alike). And a special shout-out to this line from “Real Witches” by Mirka Andolfo, Sumeyye Kesgin, Brittany Peer, and Ariana Maher: “The Scarlet Witch is right.” Yes, that’s correct! —AJK
Next week, there will be Carnage!