Captain Marvel’s “Falling Star” story arc started off strong with the world learning about Carol Danvers’ Kree heritage, that Carol only recently learned off as well. The fallout from the world learning this has caused Carol to lose a lot of credibility in her military and superhero life. While it has been interesting to see how this has challenged Carol not everything has worked out for this arc. In particular, the new Marvel character, Star, who has taken advantage of Carol’s current status quo hasn’t worked out well. The character has been very undeveloped leading to a the big twist of Star being a villain to be underwhelming. Can Kelly Thompson change Star’s current standing? Let’s find out with Captain Marvel #11.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Carmen Carnero
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Captain Marvel wakes up to find people in terrible condition as the rain laced with Minerva’s power-draining virus continues to fall on New York City. Star (Ripley Ryan) rants that this is Captain Marvel’s fault. Captain Marvel uses up some of her remaining power to blast Star into a building.
Having a few seconds to herself Captain Marvel punches through her own chest and removes the power-draining Kree device that was implanted inside her.
Star recovers and confronts a weakened Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel tries to find out why Star is doing all this. Star reveals that after the incident with Nuclear Man she promised herself not to allow herself to play the victim ever again. Captain Marvel wonders why Star would then hurt so many people. Star talks about how after this event she caused there will be no more victims, only survivors.
Star then starts beating up Captain Marvel, who still has not recovered after removing the Kree device from inside her.
Nearby the people on the streets are in shock while watching Star beat up Captain Marvel.
Suddenly Hazmat shows up and blasts Star across the street. Captain Marvel tries to tell her to leave but Hazmat says she is staying to help. Star recovers and punches Hazmat hard enough to crack her helmet.
As Star approaches Captain Marvel a kid shows up and tells Star to leave Captain Marvel alone. Star says she won’t and tosses the girl to the side.
Star mocks Captain Marvel on running out of options for things to do. Seeing nothing else to do Captain Marvel hugs Star. Captain Marvel says she has one more thing she can do.
Captain Marvel then forcibly takes out the Kree device inside Star that gave her all of Carol’s abilities. Star is instantly knocked out because of that.
Captain Marvel checks to see if the girl Star tossed aside is okay. The girl asks Captain Marvel if she really is an alien. Captain Marvel says she is half-Kree, half-human. The girl tells Captain Marvel to tell the public that.
Captain Marvel then checks up on Hazmat. Hazmat says she has a headache but is otherwise okay. Captain Marvel apologizes for being a bad mentor. Hazmat says that she understands how crazy things have been for Captain Marvel and is happy to be her sidekick anyday. Captain Marvel appreciates hearing that.
Spider-Woman, Iron Man and Rhodey show up to check on things. Captain Marvel goes over things with Spider-Woman and reveals that Ripley was Star.
Iron Man asks Captain Marvel if they should send Star to The Raft. Captain Marvel says that if Star is alive then she is dangerous.
Sometime later, Tony Stark safely removes the rest of the Kree siphoner out of Carol. They go back and forth on Minerva escape after she was left in Stark Unlimited’s lab. Tony mentions that Minerva did leave an antidote that they were able to use to cure everyone infected by the virus Star exposed the public to.
Carol tests her powers by powering up and is able to do so successfully. She then decides to leave with Rhodey.
Later that night Carol and Rhodey spend some quality time together at Carol’s home in Harpswell, Maine. They watch the news report of people talking about how Captain Marvel saved everyone’s lives. Rhodey says that it looks like the public’s opinion of her is changing back to being positive. Carol hopes that is true and kisses Rhodey.
Later, Carol wakes up and goes to her cabinet to grab a bottle of alcohol. Carol goes outside and throws the bottle into the air. She uses her powers to destroy it with a blast. Carol is happy that her powers seem to be back.
In her cell inside The Raft, Ripley realizes that since she survived Captain Marvel punching her through the chest she still has some power left. Ripley uses the power she has to immediately break out of The Raft. End of issue.
The Good: The conclusion “Falling Star” does not change the status of the biggest problem of this storyline being the treatment of Ripley Ryan as a major antagonist. Ripley as Star still comes across as a generic villain. Luckily Kelly Thompson continues to excel at her writing for Carol Danvers. Captain Marvel #11 was just another example of Thompson’s growing confidence in writing Carol’s character.
Placing Carol in a situation where the world was against her and being sapped of her powers was a great challenge to present. This type of situation pushed Carol to step up to be the superhero we know she can be. Even when it could’ve been easy for her to stay down and let others deal with the threat Star brought Carol did not. Seeing Carol continue to stand in her weakened state helps in further elevating her as a superhero.
Thompson did a very good job amplifying Carol continuing to fight in the state she is in with how the public was used. At the beginning of “Falling Star” we saw how quickly the public’s opinion turned on Carol after her Kree heritage was revealed to the world. To Carol’s credit she pushed passed that hate to continue to defend the very people who turned on her. Showing that type of strength against all of the odds is what builds appreciation for a superhero. Thompson shows that with how the public understood that Captain Marvel was fighting to protect them.
The sacrifices she made in hurting herself to regain at least some of her power showed Carol’s fortitude in these situations. It was also a good set-up for how Captain Marvel overcame Star by catching the young character by surprise. Using the hug as a false sense of security that threw Star off was creative enough that made this stand out from the usual way Captain Marvel saves the day.
All that said, the real star of Captain Marvel #11 was the different character interactions Carol has with her supporting cast. Thompson made the right call to spend a good chunk of Captain Marvel #11 on Carol’s interactions with Hazmat, Spider-Woman, Iron Man and Rhodey. Each interaction showed a different side to Carol as she showed different parts of her personality depending on who she was talking to.
What particularly stood out from these interactions was Captain Marvel and Hazmat’s back-and-forth. It was refreshing to see Captain Marvel admit that she has dropped the ball so far in mentoring Hazmat. At the same time, Hazmat showed a good bit of maturity in understanding that Captain Marvel has had a lot on her plate since becoming her mentor. Showing this type of maturity from both characters builds greater interest in seeing Captain Marvel and Hazmat spend much more time in their mentor-protege status quo in the near future.
Carmen Carnero was once again a steady hand that provided solid artwork throughout Captain Marvel #11. Even though the action sequences weren’t extended, Carnnero did a delivered on showcasing how impactful every blow Captain Marvel, Star and Hazmat deliver are. She also helped in elevate dramatic scenes, like when Star tossed the little girl aside and Captain Marvel punching Star through her chest, to be even more impactful.
The Bad: Once again Star was the element that brought the entire “Falling Star” storyline down. For as much time as Thompson had to develop the character, Star was never a fully realized character. Sure, her villainous intentions were made clear in Captain Marvel #11. But because of the lack of build up to her villainous turn it made Star come across as a one-note villain.
The biggest reason Star never came across as nothing more than a one-note villain was because of prior development. The dialogue she was given had zero weight behind it. There was never a point in “Falling Star” that Thompson convinced the reader that Star could possibly be a new superhero. Her rise to fame was done way to quick and mostly occurred off-screen. The lack of development really hurt how Star’s villainous dialogue went over.
Because her dialogue lacked impact Star comes out looking even worse when she allows Captain Marvel to hug her. Being taken down in such a way makes Star look like a complete rookie who lacks any sort of actual common sense as a villain. This is a mistake that you expect grunts to make, not the main antagonist of a storyline dedicated to the character’s introduction.
Which ends up hurting the ending of Captain Marvel #11 that makes it clear that Star will return. There was zero hype behind Star’s escape from The Raft. The best thing for Star’s character will be if she spends time in the shadows rather than appearing right away. Because as things stand, Star has zero momentum into what her next story will be.
Overall: With each passing issue Kelly Thompson grows more confident in her writing of Captain Marvel and Carol Danvers’ character. Captain Marvel #11 was another example of that with strong hero moments and supporting cast usage. Unfortunately the lack of development around Star brought the entire “Falling Star” story arc down. The character never gets passed being a one-note villain, even in the final page. That leads Captain Marvel #11 from missing out on going from potentially being great to just being a solid read.
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