Whereas Kelly Sue Deconnick’s first Captain Marvel volume focused on Carol Danvers’ struggle to accept herself as an Avenger and former Kree-lover, Captain Marvel volume 2 does more in the way of fleshing out an ensemble cast. Volume 1 featured a female WW2 squadron, a cancer-laden friend, and an old mentor, and much of the cast did a serviceable job providing Danvers with the push she needed in her arc. In volume 2, Danvers, now unstuck from the time-stream, has no one to rely on, and as an Avenger we see her in debt to others more than herself. Collecting issues 7 through 12 of the excellent series, Captain Marvel: Down is all about the people we need in our lives, and how they help us through the unbelievable, the unforgettable, and the unbeatable.
Deconnick’s voice identification is something to behold. While there’s not as many jokes as there were in volume 1, she still writes a comic brimming with humor and genuine empathy. Character moments abound and I’d be hard pressed to find a page without something to smile at. Captain Marvel is a genuinely fun book with an emphasis on character relations and verbal humor. I like to think that Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue Deconnick just sit at home and make quips all day, because Captain Marvel and Hawkeye are the two funniest books on the stands. And Deconnick can handle the serious, as well. As Danvers falls, both literally and figuratively, into bouts of depression and denial, Deconnick writes a thickly laid script of worry, and though Danver’s internal monologues are often self-referential and quirky, there’s also a sense of underlying anxiety with which we can all relate.
Once again the book is split between two artists. Upsettingly, Emma Rios is nowhere to be found, yet Dexter Soy once again writes a couple of issues. Nothing against Soy’s work — honestly, some of the most beautiful pages in the book are his — but Captain Marvel‘s a comic of conversation and human emotion. Soy’s more suited for Pacific-Rim-level battle scenes. Some panels are muddled once again, and his arc is definitely the weaker of the two. Newcomer Filipe Andrade, however, is definitely cut to this book’s mold. His Danvers is young and silly, and her friends all have distinct facial structures and quirks. Much like Rios’ work, Andrade brings a sense of all-ages fun to the book, dropping the hyper-intensive 90’s aesthetic for a more 60’s style level of outrageousness. Andrade is undoubtedly the book’s biggest plus.
Captain Marvel volume 2 is more about the superhero’s life than the superhero’s duties. And that’s perfectly okay. In a world where Galactus is tearing apart universes, it’s satisfying to see a character like Danvers face human issues (while also fighting bird monsters). Is it better than the first volume? Not exactly, but it isn’t much worst. Kelly Sue Deconnick is a writer of consistency, and nothing’s going to change that. In truth, Carol Danvers’ worst issue is someone else’s best issue, and that’s what makes Captain Marvel one of Marvel’s best books. Art problems aside, this is a must-read!
PJ is a comic, film, and TV nerd living in New York. He’s a contributing writer for Geek News Network, DarkZero, and others. Hit him up at twitter: @pjvangalen and check out his website, pjvangalen.com.