Captain Marvel #18 Review

by Charles Martin on July 29, 2020

Captain Marvel #18 Review
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Penciller: Cory Smith
Inker: Adriano Di Benedetto
Colourist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Carol Danvers wastes little time in getting down to Accuser business. Emperor Hulkling bestowed Ronan's hammer on her over in Empyre #2, throwing a dramatic loop into this title and dragging Carol into a war.

Kelly Thompson and Cory Smith are also quick to get to work, carving out a very personal niche for Captain Marvel in the bigger event. The Emperor dispatches her on her first Accuser mission, hunting down a rogue Kree who allegedly wrecked the empire's first Kree/Skrull "sanctuary" city.

Things fail to go according to plan, of course. The identity of the Kree soldier -- far too good to spoil here -- pitches another curveball into Carol's story, just as big as the hammer.

This is, above all else, a cinematic comic book. Cory Smith lays out big spectacles and dramatic character poses as though he expects the Marvel Studios folks to drop by and ask for Captain Marvel 2 storyboards at any moment. From the Bond-esque pre-title-page teaser scene to the final-scene revelation, this plays out like a movie in a wholly positive way.

Vibrant colours from Tamra Bonvillain and Adriano Di Benedetto's sharp inks help sell the grandiose art. And along with its other achievements, this issue's art delivers a fascinating peek at the new Kree/Skrull military. Kree design elements combine with Skrull colours to create costumes that are at once familiar and new. It's a great bit of scene-setting detail, and it's gratifying that this title got to it ahead of the main event.

Things aren't exactly flawless in this splashy big-budget show, though. One last observation about the visuals: The art team's facial work is excellent in individual panels. But character consistency from panel to panel could be better.

There are similar nits to pick with the script. The pace drags in places -- but then, this problem seems bigger than it is because of how fast and forceful the action scenes are. While this issue doesn't bite off too much, it chews thoroughly and productively. Kelly Thompson writes some brilliant narration for Carol. Here, Captain Marvel comes across as a weary (and wary) soldier, already questioning her place in this new war even before the issue's developments tip her applecart over.

Captain Marvel #18 pivots nicely to show the protagonist from a perspective that melds new and old character traits. It doesn't skimp on the action, fully living up to the "cosmic war" scope of the Empyre event. It looks great and it reads smooth, painting a clear portrait of Carol before slamming a fresh challenge down on her. This will be a blast for regular readers -- and I don't think a curious newcomer drawn in by Empyre will be disappointed, either.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
I dunno about Emperor Hulkling. He sounds regal and all, but I'm already starting to miss Teddy Altman.