Kelly Thompson got her run on Captain Marvel off to a very good start. Thompson brought Carol Danvers back into the fold as she re-established herself as a superhero after taking an extensive time off to be with her family. Carol didn’t get a long time to get used to being back as Captain Marvel before having to deal with a major crisis. A clash with Nuclear Man’s caused her to be transported to what looks to be an alternate post-apocalyptic Earth. The good thing for Carol is that it looks like she won’t be alone as Spider-Woman and other heroes are also in this Earth. What does all this mean for the future of this series? Let’s find out with Captain Marvel #2
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Carmen Carnero
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: While the news stations are collecting reports on the fight with Nuclear Man, who has taken over Roosevelt Island and making it inaccessible, the public all show their surprised that Captain Marvel is back in action.
On a destroyed Roosevelt Island Captain Marvel is able to fight Nuclear Man off in order to get him away from Ripley. Nuclear Man is able to down Captain Marvel with a punch. As he goes to continue beating her down someone shoots Nuclear Man from out of nowhere.
Spider-Woman, Echo and Hazmat show up ready to back Captain Marvel up. Nuclear Man decides to escape and return when it is better for him.
Now safe Spider-Woman asks Captain Marvel what took her so long to arrive, much to Captain Marvel’s confusion.
Back in Manhattan outside the barrier over Roosevelt Island the Avengers are trying to figure out how to get through the barrier. Captain America gets a call that something is going on downtown that they are needed for. War Machine joins them to deal with what is going on. She-Hulk stays behind when she notices something off with the barrier.
Inside a bunker within Roosevelt Island Spider-Woman explains to Captain Marvel that this is the base of operation for the rebellion against Nuclear Man and his forces. She goes on to say that inside the barrier time seems to move much faster and that she has actually been there for almost a month when only a few hours have passed outside the barrier.
Spider-Woman then shows Captain Marvel inside the bunker and takes Ripley to get comfortable.
Captain Marvel talks with Echo. Echo reveals that women are the only ones able to make it through the barrier but even women have stopped arriving after some point until Captain Marvel showed up. Captain Marvel asks if there are any men on the island. Echo responds that they aren’t sure as many current residents in the bunker are missing their fathers, husbands and family members. She goes on to state all of the rebels resources are being used to keep everyone safe.
Captain Marvel then talks to Hazmat, who reveals her powers aren’t working inside the barrier but is still wearing her costume just in case they reactivate at a random time.
Echo then introduces Captain Marvel to Som, the only guy on the island other than Nuclear Man that the rebels have found. Captain Marvel greets Som and then asks to be caught up on everything else she does not know about what is going on.
After catching up on all the details Captain Marvel, Spider-Woman, Echo, Hazmat and Som talk about a plan to strike Nuclear Man’s citadel. They talk about going through the Arena area as that may be were other captives may be since Nuclear Man wouldn’t throw away any sort of resource.
Som asks Captain Marvel if her powers are working normally. Captain Marvel says they are at the moment, which is different from Spider-Woman and Echo’s whose powers are coming in and out.
After the planning session Captain Marvel asks Spider-Woman if she knows what Som’s deal is. Spider-Woman says she doesn’t but they are currently stretched in resources so they need Som’s knowledge.
Captain Marvel compliments Spider-Woman on how resourceful they’ve all been. Spider-Woman says she is glad Captain Marvel is there since she is counting on Carol to help her get back to her son. Captain Marvel promises to do so.
As Captain Marvel asks if the rebels have any planes the emergency sirens go off. Captain Marvel heads off to see what is going on to give time to the others to get ready.
With Captain Marvel providing an opening for the rebels against Nuclear Man’s Metal-Men the rebels are able to fight back. As the fight gets more intense Som is suddenly captured by two of the Metal-Men. Hazmat tries to save him but she is hit by a laser from behind.
Captain Marvel works her way through several Metal-Men to try to get to Som and Hazmat but is soon overwhelmed by their numbers.
As she is struggling Captain Marvel notices that She-Hulk has come through the barrier. Captain Marvel’s happiness over seeing her Avengers teammate soon turns to horror as She-Hulk transforms back to Jennifer Walters. Jennifer starts falling to the ground at a rapid pace. End of issue.
The Good: From where we left off in Captain Marvel #1 to #2 there are parts of this story that are rushed. There are missing pieces in the story that Kelly Thompson has unfold. While those missing pieces certainly hurt Captain Marvel #2 this is still a fun comic book. There is enough with what is presented with the plot and how Captain Marvel is presented to help push the story forward.
The biggest strength of Captain Marvel #2 is the presentation of Carol Danvers. Throughout this issue we see how as Captain Marvel Carol is able to bring a sense of hope to the situation going on in Roosevelt Island. Thompson does a good job working in the post-apocalyptic tone of Roosevelt Island to put this fact over. As we see with how Spider-Woman and Hazmat act there was a sense that some hope was lost since an extensive period of time has passed within the barrier without an way to get out.
Setting things up in this way allowed Captain Marvel to immediately step into a position of a leader. Thompson made this quick transition for Captain Marvel to feel natural. It never was made to be that Captain Marvel forced her authority on others just because of her powers or status as an Avenger. Instead Thompson put over how Captain Marvel is able to speak to everyone as a peer and use that camaraderie to be a leader others will follow. This gives readers new to who Captain Marvel a good look into what makes Carol Danvers a great character.
The way Captain Marvel interacted with Spider-Woman, Hazmat and Echo as peers allowed the conversations to have more of a natural flow to them. Even though we haven’t seen Captain Marvel interact very much with Hazmat and Echo, Thompson worked well with the familiarity they do have with each other. The short interaction between Captain Marvel and Hazmat in particular help continue the the mentor and protege dynamic that Thompson introduced in the first issue. Slowly building their familiarity with each other will help build the long-term storytelling in this series.
Having Spider-Woman involved was a good point in further establishing the friendship with Captain Marvel. The dynamic Captain Marvel and Spider-Woman share is fun because they are best friends and Thompson writes them that way. There is a sense of honesty to their conversation, whether when they are bantering with each other or talking seriously about their situation. It all works to put over how these two have a long history as best friends without beating us over the head with talking about their years of knowing each other.
Once again Carmen Carnero’s artwork stands out throughout Captain Marvel #2. Her artwork works perfectly with the tone that Thompson is taking the story. Carnero’s artwork puts over how dark of a setting Captain Marvel and the others are in right now. At the same time, thanks to Captain Marvel’s presence that does not mean all hope is lost. Carnero’s artwork taps into how Captain Marvel’s leadership and powers inspire others to act. The action sequence that close out Captain Marvel #2 is also a good tease for bigger battles we are likely to get down the line in this story.
The Bad: For as enjoyable as all the character dynamics are there are several problems with what is going on around Roosevelt Island in which Thompson’s writing stumbles. One of those problems is the fact that the whole explanation with the barrier around Roosevelt Island falls flat. Thompson wants us to believe that this problem has been going on for several hours, since Spider-Woman stated one hour in the normal world is several days in this new setting. Given how long Hazmat, Echo and Spider-Woman have been on Roosevelt Island it does not make sense that the public is just learning about this barrier. New York City is to big to have this go unnoticed for several hours by the Avengers and other NYC based heroes.
Speaking of the Avengers, it was odd that they would quickly move on to another crisis without one or two of them staying behind to deal with the crisis around Roosevelt Island. It made them look like they were kids who saw a shiny new toy and decided to go play with that. And given that this was Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, She-Hulk and War Machine were there there was no reason more than two of them had to leave to scout the vampire problem. It made them come across as irresponsible for not taking the sudden disappearance of a major part of a city seriously.
The Avengers having this attitude towards the Roosevelt Island conflict hurt the overall impact of Nuclear Man’s plot. As a lower-level villain Thompson needed to use this time to build up Nuclear Man as a compelling threat. By having the Avengers not show greater concern for Nuclear Man’s plot it made him look weak.
Due to this it only further points to how dull of a villain Nuclear Man is. At no point does Nuclear Man come across as a compelling threat for Captain Marvel and the others to deal with. He is completely one-note in his brief appearance. All of his development is done by other characters talking about him rather than actually show us the kind of threat he is. Because of that elements like the Metal-Men that Thompson created came across as a lame attempt to make Nuclear Man a bigger threat than he actually is.
The opening page with the news report about Roosevelt Island was also an odd way to begin Captain Marvel #2. What was particularly odd about this scene was how this was treated as Captain Marvel’s big return. This goes against the actual return of Captain Marvel when she teamed up with Spider-Woman in the first issue. That battle with the alien threat was much longer and took place in the the streets of New York so it was likely reported that Captain Marvel was already back.
Overall: Captain Marvel #2 is a comic that is completely driven by the character interactions. Kelly Thompson does a great job writing Captain Marvel dynamic with Spider-Woman and other heroes. Through that Captain Marvel was able to shine as a strong leader. That was something which needed since everything about Nuclear Man’s plot falls flat. Hopefully the development of Nuclear Man’s plot improves or else it will end up dragging the entire first arc of Thompson’s Captain Marvel run down.