Captain Marvel #10 Review

by Charles Martin on September 11, 2019

Captain Marvel #10 Review
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Carmen Carnero
Colourist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Carol kicks off this issue with an introspective monologue about how frustrating she finds a mystery. Sifting through clues is a job for a Jessica -- Drew or Jones, take your pick. Without the perspective and context offered by the big picture, Carol doesn't know if she understands the situation. If she's doing the right thing.

It's a wonderfully relatable problem; we can all recognize that "at sea" feeling as a natural, human reaction to uncertainty.

It's also relevant to the story at hand in a way that's straining at the edge of "thematically appropriate" and peeking over into "on the nose" territory. 

Carol's first action is rescuing the not-quite-dead Minerva. As soon as she wakes up, the Kree scientist delivers an expository speech that's big-picture perspective with a bow on top. It's danged convenient; Minerva's information brings the whole sweep of the plot into crystal clarity.

Minerva's bean-spilling also takes half an issue to complete. It is a thorough big picture. Earlier in this arc, I was delighted with the subtle callbacks to the start of the volume. Subtlety is out the window here; this is practically a victory lap. It's a deserved one, though, because all of the building blocks snap together with impeccable logic.

The key, of course, is Star, the suspicious new hero who's been right on the periphery of all of Carol's low points in this arc. I don't think I'm spoiling anything when I say the back half of the book is devoted to Star catching some richly-deserved fists from Carol. 

And this issue isn't big enough to resolve the conflict; there's still a humdinger of a fight to finish in the next issue.

This script calls for a whole lot of good female faces, and that is precisely what Carmen Carnero delivers. She establishes interesting parallels between the conversation at the front and the fight at the back; visually, they're both about Carol working her way through mysteries. Ms. Carnero evokes an impressive range of feelings as Carol processes it all.

The duke-throwing in the back half is by no means shortchanged, though! Script and art combine to make this an especially visceral fight. No sparkle fists or zappy blasts here; it's all brutal, blood-drawing, knuckles-to-the-face pugilism. 

The absence of bright, zappy superpowers plays right into Tamra Bonvillain's palette. The whole issue takes place at night, and she keeps the colours cool and moody even with the climax taking place in Times Square. Thanks to intentional framing in Ms. Carnero's art, the dominant colour is the icy blue of the evening sky.

This issue's grand collection of the title's plot threads into one intricate knot makes me think, again, that this series is destined to get even better when it's gathered into bigger chunks. The internal logic ensures that #10 is no disappointment on its own, but I believe it will hit that much harder when it's read as an immediate chaser to this volume's long march of plot development.

Captain Marvel #10 glories in a comprehensive explanation of the story so far before moving on to Carol's appropriate reaction: Punching the ever-loving ☠☠☠☠ out of what she's now certain is the right antagonist. The plot jigsaws together perfectly, and the portrait of Carol painted in words and art is impressively moving. The sky-high stakes couldn't be clearer, and we're utterly invested in finding out how this fight ends.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
I gotta admit, at the start, when Rhodey worries if Carol should be flying, the response I really wanted was a snarky acknowledgement of the cyclical nature of Captain Marvel plotting: "Flying might kill me" is from the "my powers are killing me" crisis before last, Rhodey, keep up!