Captain Marvel #9 Review

by Charles Martin on August 14, 2019

Captain Marvel #9 Review
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Carmen Carnero
Colourist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Captain Marvel gets stuck further into her mysterious Kree heritage. This issue answers a few questions, plucks at a few old plot threads, and builds to a lovely/ominous scope-widening finale. It also delivers lots of endearing interactions between Carol and her supporting cast. 

Most of all, though, this issue lays bare plans that were baked into this volume from the beginning. That Kraken Carol and Jess clobbered in #1 was not at all the random kaiju it appeared to be.

This issue also has a lot to do with the Life of Captain Marvel miniseries. While I wasn't a fan of that title, I respected the potential of the changes it introduced. Now Kelly Thompson is paying some of that potential off. I am fully satisfied with the way this arc is turning exciting possibilities into realities.

One last nice bit of continuity policing - which actually comes at the front of the issue - is snipping the link between Captain Marvel and Alpha Flight. It's a welcome move, and I don't think I'm the only reader who thinks so. But it's also done in an adroit way, striking an effective balance between clarity and permanence. Future stories could retain or undo the snip with equal ease.

The eventful plot laid out for Carol in this issue glories in some smooth, organic art courtesy of Carmen Carnero. There are a few wobbles where the story drops Carol into high-tech settings; those are (very!) slightly outside Ms. Carnero's wheelhouse.

What is dead center in her bailiwick is emotional expression. And it's not just a matter of detailed faces, though she does those exceeding well. She has a knack for making every line of a character's pose expressive when it needs to be.

Kelly Thompson's script gives her a big opportunity when Tony rolls up to convince Carol to let him start sciencing her power problems. Ms. Thompson mutes Carol's usual sass and trusts Ms. Carnero to explain her feelings visually, which she does with breathtaking skill. Carol is frightened and tired and ready, at last, to take the help she needs. And all of that comes out of the art.

Tamra Bonvillain is doing a great service by modulating the colours throughout this busy script. Carol bounces from Maine to New York and back again, and Ms. Bonvillain employs subtly distinct palettes to emphasize the geographic and chronological shifts. She also emphasizes the rhythm of lighting changes caused by the indoor-outdoor-indoor scene progression.

Going back to the writing, I have to say again how grand this issue's links to the larger story are. While #9 is fully satisfying in itself, it also ties things together and retroactively enhances the first arc. This title has been good as a month-to-month read; I am now convinced it's going to be great when collected in a binge-able format.

I would go so far as to say that the War of the Realms tie-in separating this title's first and second "real" arcs was, in hindsight, a mistake. Breaking a story's stride, even just for two issues, can be a killer in Marvel's merciless modern lineup where the cancellation axe is always around the corner.

On the plus side, Ms. Carnero made full use of the little breather and came roaring into this arc at full artistic power!

Captain Marvel #9 is a crucial issue for the current arc and the title as a whole. The biggest of big pictures are coming into sharp focus for the first time. This is where we really start to learn what this volume of Captain Marvel is all about, and we can't wait to find out more!

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
Having Jessica Drew steal Tony Stark's flying Lamborghini is one of the smaller things this comic gets oh-so-right. Good continuity, too - that Lambo was actually introduced by Dan Slott and Valerio Schiti more than a year ago.