Captain Marvel is hitting an unknown period for the series. Carol Danvers has currently been taken off world by a magic council that Enchantress has assembled to place her on trial. With Carol now somewhere unknown standing trial it means Binary is going to be stepping up to fill in the Captain Marvel role. With such developments is Kelly Thompson is about to change everything about the Captain Marvel status quo in the Marvel Universe? Let’s find out with Captain Marvel #39.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artists: Juan Frigeri and Alvaro Lopez
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Carol Danvers is placed on trial by a Magic Tribunal made up of Agatha Harkness, Satana, Alriac, Brother Voodoo, and Magik. The trial is about Enchantress placing the crime of taking Ove’s magic powers away on Carol with Scarlet Witch acting as Carol’s magic defense lawyer.
Carol tries to bring up Ove’s crimes but Agatha says they have no record of his crimes since they don’t happen until several decades in the future. Agatha then reveals that this trial isn’t to determine Carol’s guilt but of her worth that will be judged by the Magic Tribunal with the consequences being if she is not worthy she’ll have her role striped from her.
After giving her a suggestion of how to fight through this Scarlet Witch sends Carol to another world. Agatha then reminds Scarlet Witch they are doing this so they can make sure to educate Carol as she has become one of the most powerful people in the universe.
In another world Carol defeats a dragon-like creature. In the aftermath what appears to be the creatures child appears in front of Carol.
Back on Earth, Jessica Drew is stunned to see Carol walking around. She turns out to be Binary, who used her powers to look like Carol after hearing people call her that on TV. With Jessica questioning this it causes Binary to wonder if she is not Carol Danvers who is she really, much to Jessica’s annoyance. Jessica agrees to let Binary continue to act as Carol while she figures out who she really wants to be.
Jessica and Binary are suddenly attacked by a group of vampires. They easily defeat the vampires.
Lauri-Ell suddenly teleports in demanding to know where her sister, Carol Danvers, is. End of issue.
As much as I did not enjoy the whole Ove Saga that Captain Marvel had I got to give credit for Kelly Thompson for making the consequences of that story matter. Captain Marvel #39 works effectively to put this story over with how the first half focused on the Magic Tribunal trial.
What particularly worked well with the whole trial that Carol Danvers was placed on is that she wasn’t fighting to show her innocence but rather her worth. It was a big change of pace for what we normally see with trials as Carol has already been convicted for her crime. This creates immediate importance to how the consequences of her actions to take Ove’s magic powers away from him are severe.
Making all this work was that Agatha Harkness was the one leading the Magic Tribunal. While their were major magic users on the Tribunal like Brother Voodoo and Magik it was Agatha’s words that held the greatest weight. That is shown with how Satana, Alriac, Brother Voodoo, and Magik as well as Scarlet Witch as Carol defense lawyer stayed silent as Agatha revealed what Carol’s trial really is about. Agatha leading all this made her end remarks to Wanda about needing to make sure that the results of this trial is Carol’s growing powers don’t grow out of control.
That reveal that Agatha and the other Marvel magic users have judged that Carol’s powers are getting dangerous for the entire universe is an intriguing hook for this story. This builds up a whole new narrative of how Carol continues to grow as one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe. We already saw an example of her growing power level with how she was able to split off her Binary powers into a sentient being without her own cosmic powers being impacted. Now that she is placed in such a trial with her control of her powers and judgement being tested on an unknown planet there is a lot to be invested in Carol’s narrative for this story.
The second half of Captain Marvel #39 being dedicated to Binary continuing to learn who she is as a sentient being was a dramatic shift. It did take some getting used to given the severity of the trial. It really wasn’t until Binary dropped her Carol Danvers disguise while talking with Jessica Drew that this second half of Captain Marvel #39 got going.
Jessica being the connection point as she is open with how she openly questions Binary’s decision on her identity was well handled. While she was judging Binary on the questionable decision Jessica did not do so in a malicious way. Jessica was clear about wanting to understand what Binary is trying to accomplish. This made Binary’s own character arc stronger as they will have Jessica Drew’s help in figuring out who she really wants to be.
What did not work for Binary’s portion of the story was the random inclusion of the vampires. This fight that Jessica Drew and Binary got into with a group of vampires came across as forced superhero action. The random vampires are even treated that way with how easily they are defeated.
This random vampire attack also hurts the hook ending with Lauri-Ell suddenly demanding to know where her sister, Carol, is at. Because of how the vampires where handled Lauri-Ell’ appearance came across just as random. It all turns out to be an ending that felt like Captain Marvel #39 needed a hook ending rather than a natural conclusion to the second chapter of this “Trial” storyline.
Splitting this issue between Juan Frigeri and Alvaro Lopez each handling the first and second half, respectively, of Captain Marvel #39 was a good decision. It allowed Carol Danvers and Binary’s to stay in their own distinct worlds as they were tackling two different things.
Now I did find Frigeri’s artwork for Carol’s portion of the issue the strongest as it was visually the most appealing. It helps that Frigeri was really able to stretch their muscle with how Agatha and Carol used their powers.
Lopez’s artwork on the other hand was the normal Marvel superhero art style we are used. It does fit with how Binary’s story takes place in New York City. It just didn’t hit as well as the stuff going on in the Magic Tribunal portion of the issue.
Captain Marvel #39 does a fantastic job using the past story revolving around Ove to create immediate concern about what Carol Danvers is dealing with as Marvel’s Magic Tribunal places her on trial. That along with Binary’s character arc continuing to gain momentum makes a lot of what takes place here work extremely well. It is just to bad that the hook ending of Captain Marvel #39 ended up falling flat or else I would’ve scored this issue higher.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10