It’s unofficially Kelly Thompson week here at the Marvel Rundown, with a pair of terrific titles from the prolific Marvel writer. First up, Carol Danvers goes rogue in Captain Marvel #12, the beginning of “The Last Avenger” and the debut of Dark Captain Marvel! Who will be the first to fall before the might of Earth’s mightiest hero?
Then, Thompson and artist Chris Bachalo present the debut of an all-new Deadpool ongoing series. Wade Wilson’s latest target is the King of the Monsters—does he stand a chance? Does he care either way?
We’ve got discussion and reviews of both of those titles, plus your regular Rapid Rundown of other notable Marvel titles, all ahead in this week’s Marvel Rundown!
Captain Marvel #12
Written by Kelly Thompson
Illustrated by Lee Garbett
Colored by Tamra Bonvillain
Lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover by Mark Brooks
Joe Grunenwald: After no small amount of hype, Dark Captain Marvel is here! Sam, what did you think of Captain Marvel #12?
Samantha Puc: I read this entire issue with my jaw on the ground. What about you?
Grunenwald: This is definitely the most intense Captain Marvel comic I’ve ever read. I don’t know what I expected going into it, but I did not expect an issue-long action sequence. It really blew me away.
Puc: “What hits you will never be what you expect,” Joe! I have to admit that as much as I like Kelly Thompson’s writing, she’s never really WOWED me, but her run on Captain Marvel has been absolutely stunning, this issue especially. I didn’t expect an issue-long action sequence either, nor did I expect such well-placed internal monologue. I appreciate that we don’t get all of the answers up front, and that this issue really allows the reader to be viscerally horrified. Some of the visuals here are bone-chilling.
Grunenwald: I always appreciate a comic that drops readers into the middle of the action, which Thompson does to great effect here. The narration feels like the Carol we know, but her actions throughout are anything but that, and I appreciated that juxtaposition. Lee Garbett and Tamra Bonvillain also turn in incredible work on the action, Garbett’s clean lines and Bonvillain’s spectacular colors keeping everything easy to follow and conveying the ferocity of the battle.
Puc: Yes! This issue employs in media res so beautifully. I expected a bit more lead-up after all of the Star drama, but instead the creative team just dives right in, and it’s (literally) jaw-dropping. I thought I would really miss Carmen Carnero on this series, but Garbett is already stepping up to the plate in a big way, which has me excited for the rest of this storyline and for future issues. SPOILER ALERT! Can we get into some of the nitty-gritty, Joe? What do you think is the effectiveness of having her go after Thor, first and foremost?
Grunenwald: Thor is the perfect character for her to take on first. From a character perspective for Carol, he’s arguably the most powerful Avenger after her, so tactically she’d want to take him off the board as soon as possible, and before the other Avengers know that she’s gone bad. And from a storytelling perspective, if you’re going to have an issue-long throwdown, there’s nothing more epic than pitting the two most powerful characters against each other.
Puc: I agree with that assessment. The format of this issue and the person she’s fighting also give her that space to think about what she’s doing, and for the dawning horror to really smack us across the face. When she turned the hammer into a star, the look on Thor’s face perfectly encapsulated everything about this new Dark Captain Marvel. I think going after Thor also makes sense from a time perspective in canon: she knew he would take the longest amount of time and the most energy to defeat, and now she has just 16 hours to pick off the other five. The question is, why? Were you surprised to see Vox, Joe?
Grunenwald: I don’t know who Vox is! I understand he’s from Death of the Inhumans, which I have read, but I’ve read so many comics since then, Sam. I don’t remember these things. So when I saw him, I thought, ‘Oh, there’s a brand-new character!’ I actually thought he might be a new version of the Kree Supreme Intelligence, since he’s kind of green and she calls him “Vox Supreme.” But I’m wrong. Either way it was a great reveal and I want to know more about why Carol is apparently working for this character who is not at all brand-new.
Puc: I’m aware of him in relationship to Black Bolt, so I have to wonder if we’ll get some Inhumans content in this run, and whether that will set anything up for 2020 storylines at Marvel…
Grunenwald: Were the Inhumans created by the Kree? I feel like there’s a connection there that I’m not remembering because, again, my memory is terrible.
Puc: They were!
Grunenwald: Well there you go! Maybe he is the Supreme Intelligence after all!
Puc: There was something very mythological about her presenting Vox with Thor’s head… It made me wonder if she did something to the actual Thor and presented a fake head, because I’ve gotten so used to red herrings, but it also just underscored the incredible power of this godly battle… which must have an end goal, right?
Grunenwald: Yeah, she’s clearly doing all of this for some reason that we just don’t know yet. And I know Thor doesn’t have his own ongoing series right now, but he will in like a month, so either that wasn’t really his head, or it was his head and his death will be undone somehow by the end of this storyline. That reveal mostly made me feel like something is amiss somehow, beyond just Carol breaking bad. There’s definitely more going on here than what’s on the surface.
Puc: Definitely. I can’t help but wonder who she’s addressing when she says, “I need you to forgive me. I need you all to forgive me.” Us? The Avengers? The Kree?
Grunenwald: I assumed it was The Avengers, but it’d be interesting if it was the Kree or someone else.
Puc: It felt like she was speaking to someone both during the assault on Thor and after it, at the same time. At least it did to me.
Grunenwald: I can definitely see that, but I also read it as something she said or wrote ahead of the Thor fight, like ‘forgive me for what I’m about to do’? It could really go either way. I’m interested to see how Thompson handles the narration in subsequent issues of this story.
Puc: Wibbly wobbly… you know the rest. Who do you think is next on her list?
Grunenwald: If she’s ticking off the most powerful to start, her next target’s probably Jen Walters. That’d make the most sense story-wise, too, since Jen’s appeared in the series before. Though she may save her for later and try to take out some of the (relatively) easier ones first. We also don’t know exactly which Avengers are on her list. There are a lot of them, after all.
Puc: Too true. I assume it’s the current team but I’m not current…
Grunenwald: I mean how much of a fight will Blade or Ghost Rider really be? She’ll take them out off-panel.
Puc: The book says there are five left, which narrows it down some, but that’s a good point. I’m so deeply curious. Do you have any other thoughts on this stellar issue?
Grunenwald: Just that I appreciated how accessible it is to new readers, who’ll be just as confused as existing readers by what’s going on, and will likely have a lot of the same questions you and I have been asking. That’s a huge positive in my book.
Puc: Agreed. And I appreciate that they didn’t make this into a new #1 or a Dark Captain Marvel mini-series.
Grunenwald: That may be the most shocking thing of all about this issue. Are we ready for verdicts?
Puc: I am! This is a major BUY for me, regardless of whether people have been following the series or not.
Grunenwald: Agreed—it’s a BUY for me as well. This is a thrilling issue with stellar writing from Thompson and spectacular visuals from Garbett and Bonvillain. You won’t regret picking this one up.
Final Verdict: Captain Marvel #12 gets a BUY verdict from both Sam and Joe!
Written by Kelly Thompson
Pencilled by Chris Bachalo
Inked by Wayne Faucher, Tim Townsend, Al Vey, Jaime Mendoza, Livesay, & Victor Olazaba
Colored by David Curiel
Lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover by Chris Bachalo & Tim Townsend
Reviews by Nick Kazden and A.J. Frost
There are a whole lot of Deadpool options for fans of the character, but none of those books are written by Kelly Thompson and illustrated by Chris Bachalo. With an ink team consisting of six people and colors by David Curiel, the Merc with a Mouth’s new solo series is beautiful and engaging throughout its debut issue.
Bachalo’s scratchy pencils and thick line work in-particular feel perfectly suited for the messy character who will crack a joke at one second and then willingly let his arm get ripped off the next. Tasked with taking down the King of the Monsters after an ancient treaty reveals monsters have a right to migrate to Staten Island, Deadpool suddenly becomes the new monster monarch upon his success and has to settle into leading a society and culture he knows absolutely nothing about. It’s a nice hook, and an added set of responsibilities for the character that helps distinguish this book from other series highlighting Deadpool’s many missions.
It seems Thompson struggled to nail Deadpool’s voice during the opening pages, but as the issue progressed I found myself enjoying and chuckling at more and more of the vigilante’s comments and thoughts. Part of what makes this issue so enjoyable is the cast of characters Thompson inserts around Deadpool. Elsa Bloodstone has a funny cameo that hints at a larger role for the monster-hunter in upcoming issues; newcomer Lord Chamberlain Bellus, sworn to serve the Monster King, is a curmudgeonly fellow whose uptight personality makes him the perfect friend/foible for the unpredictable, orgy-seeking King Deadpool. It’s been quite a while since I’ve read anything Deadpool-related, but the creative team on this book caught my eye and they certainly did not disappoint. Whether you’re a hardcore or casual fan of the character, I recommend checking out this new run ASAP. Final verdict: BUY. — NK
It seems like only yesterday that Deadpool was hunting down his marks in another number one issue, but alas here we are again. Armed with the same caustic humor, disregard for human life, and a new creative team, is Deadpool #1 a worthy investment for fans of Canada’s finest export? Well, the answer, is a sterling… maybe? There is much to admire with Kelly Thompson’s storytelling here, especially with the positively passive-aggressive attitude towards Staten Island and the monsters that lurk there (actual monsters, not just far-right ghouls). But, the art Chris Bachalo simply did not do it for me here. The Marvel House Style is something that I’ve often found too harsh to enjoy, but here for whatever reason, Bachalo’s brutalist aesthetic here is unpleasant to my eye. For hardcore completists of Deadpool, this issue is a mixed bag, but for the more casual reader, this is not an essential addition to the collection. Final verdict: WEAK BROWSE. — AF
Final Verdict: It’s a split decision, as Nick gives Deadpool #1 a BUY, and A.J. gives it a WEAK BROWSE!
P.S. Want to win a copy of The Philosophy of Deadpool from Titan Comics and The Beat? Click here!