Captain Marvel last story arc, “The Last Avenger,” started strong but petered out by the end as the villain, Vox Supreme, did not rise up to be a true challenge. For the most part Vox Supreme was a throw away villain that did not live up to being someone that could make it that there would only be one Avenger left standing. But while that was a major disappointment Kelly Thompson continues to do a good job writing Carol Danvers character throughout her run. Thompson has found the voice for Carol in and out of her Captain Marvel duties. Hopefully now that “The Last Avenger” is over Thompson can move on to focusing on the strength of this series. Let’s find out if that is the case with Captain Marvel #17.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Francesco Manna
Colorist: Carlos Lopez
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At her New York City apartment Carol Danvers hosts a poker night with Monica Rambeau (Spectrum), Jennifer Takeda (Hazmat), Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman), and Logan (Wolverine) all waiting for her to do her next move.
The doorbell rings and Carol goes to open the door for Ms. Marvel (dressed in her superhero gear rather than casual clothes as Kamala Khan), who brought a bunch of different board games. Ms. Marvel is surprised that everyone is playing poker and reminds Carol that she is not old enough to gamble. Carol apologizes as she forgot and just invited Ms. Marvel without thinking about that. She offers to play a different game. Ms. Marvel says she has an idea for a game they can all play that is better than poker, though everyone doubts that.
Everyone follows Ms. Marvel to the escape room called Escape From New Jersey that someone named the Nexus created.
45 minutes earlier the guy named Nexus is informed that Ms. Marvel and her friends are coming to Escape From New Jersey. Nexus gets excited by this as it is his chance to prove his knowledge about dimensions.
Back in the present Nexus welcomes Ms. Marvel and everyone to Escape From New Jersey. Logan tries to get out of it but Carol tells him if he leaves it’ll hurt Ms. Marvel’s feelings. Logan goes with it but says he needs to come up with a good excuse like having a wife to get out of things like this next time.
Nexus puts everyone in the escape room and tells them that they will need to find a way out or die. After doing his best maniacal laugh Nexus locks all the heroes in the escape room.
As everyone is impressed with how real everything looks Logan identifies some of the metal as being Vibranium. The room then begins to fill up with water. Logan tries to cut a hole in the wall but his claws end up getting twisted. Logan realizes that the escape room is using Antarctic Vibranium, the type Tony Stark created especially for Misty Knight’s arm so it wouldn’t be cut through.
Carol fires off an attack but her blast bounces off the wall and accidentally hits Jennifer’s Hazmat helmet. Jennifer says that when her stress level elevates it becomes hard to control her radiation powers. Carol promises to get everyone out so Jennifer should do her breathing exercises so she doesn’t stress out.
Monica uses her powers to phase through the escape room entrance. When she tries to open the door from the outside her powers won’t deactivate. She lets the others know that she has no control of her powers outside the room.
As everyone talks about what they should do Ms. Marvel reminds them that escape rooms are meant to be cooperative so if they use their powers together they can find a way out. Carol, Jessica, and Monica each fire a blast focused on the escape room door. The combined power forces the door open, much to Nexus’ shock.
To defend himself against the heroes Nexus uses his powers to cause them all to have severe headaches. Jennifer uses her radiation powers to cause Nexus to be unable to focus his powers. This gives Carol the opening to knock Nexus out.
After calling Nexus is taken away by the police Carol tells Ms. Marvel and the others that she just had an idea of how they can finish their game night.
A little later, at a local bar, everyone is working together for a trivia night as Team Marvel. For one of the answers everyone, including Logan, answers “Captain America’s Butt,” which is the host says is correct. Carol reminds everyone not to tell Steve Rogers about any of this. End of issue.
The Good: Great comic books come in various forms. We can get them from grand epic events to small character-focused stories. Captain Marvel #17 falls in the more character-focused route as we get to see how Carol Danvers and her friends spend some downtime when not saving the world. In going with this route Kelly Thompson places a focus on what she does best with this series and that is writing fun characters.
Having Captain Marvel #17 built around Carol Danvers hosting a game night was a great change of pace for not only this series but Marvel’s current publishing line. Especially with the likes of Captain Marvel and Wolverine involved in so many major storylines right now, it was refreshing to see them along with Spider-Woman, Hazmat, Spectrum, and Ms. Marvel having fun together. It is a rare instance of getting to see some of our favorite Marvel heroes just having fun together without a world-changing event to worry about.
Going with this approach made the conversations that Carol and the others have throughout Captain Marvel #17 was a lot of fun. Thompson made sure she adapted the dialogue to depend on what kind of relationship each character has with different individuals and in a group setting. We see that best with how Carol continuously calls out Jessica whenever she does something like sticking to the ceiling when the water starts flooding their escape room. Its little things like this that remind you about the fact that Carol and Jessica are best friends.
The same goes for every time Carol and Logan interact. Even when Logan tries to exit the whole escape room trip Carol is there to call him out about sticking around to hang out and not make Ms. Marvel feel bad for still being a kid. Logan joking about having a good excuse for the next time he is forced into doing this was a nice way to show that they are friends.
That same tone of friendship goes for the entire issue. From the poker game that opens Captain Marvel #17 to the trivia night that concludes the story, Thompson gets across the feeling that this is a story of friends hanging out. This gives you a good idea of how many Marvel heroes not only respect one another but do get along when they have such a chance at having downtime.
Having Ms. Marvel as part of Carol’s group added to how much fun Captain Marvel #17. While Kamala Khan has been around for a while now she is still relatively new compared to most Marvel heroes. Especially when it came to this group Carol brought over for poker night, Kamala was a newbie. Having Kamala as the only one that stuck with taking her secret identity seriously and being Ms. Marvel the entire time showed that. Having Kamala as Ms. Marvel also added to her sense of innocence as she convinced everyone to go to an escape room since she did not feel it was right to play poker while underage.
This was also a good chance to further the bond between Carol and Kamala, something we haven’t seen explored very often. While they don’t regularly team-up Carol does see herself as a mentor of sorts whenever she is around Kamala. We see that with how she is the most open to Kamala’s idea of going to an escape room and then making sure they end their game night on a high note. It was all about looking out for Kamala and making sure she has fun hanging out with people that Kamala should view as her peers.
Capping Captain Marvel #17 off with a trivia night was also great because of how Thompson had fun integrating a Marvel Cinematic Universe joke into the story. Everyone, including Logan, screaming the answer of “Captain America’s Butt” just highlights the fun both the characters and reader had with Captain Marvel #17. Carol’s silent comment about not telling Steve Rogers this just capped it off perfectly.
Francesco Manna added to how fun Captain Marvel #17 was with his artwork. The art won’t blow you away but it did exactly what it needed to do to nail the fun the reader should have with a comic book that involves Captain Marvel, Wolverine, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Woman, Spectrum, and Hazmat hanging out. The witty banter between all these characters was made better because of how Manna drew each character and their expressions that paired well with their dialogue.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Captain Marvel #17 is by far the best issue that Kelly Thompson has written during her run on this series. This comic book is just pure fun as Thompson spotlights the friendship between Marvel heroes as Captain Marvel, Wolverine, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Woman, Spectrum, and Hazmat have fun together during a game night. It is such a refreshing change of pace and story that stands out from all the superhero stories Marvel fans are used. If you are a Marvel fan Captain Marvel #17 is a comic book you should check out.
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