By Kelly Thompson, Annapaola Martello, Tamra Bonvillain & VC’s Clayton Cowles
Kelly Thompson’s Captain Marvel wrapped up the obligatory company mandated War of the Realms crossover that continued to get the most out of the fun body-swap that resulted in Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange switching places with each other. It felt weird to see Strange in Carol’s body and Carol in Strange’s body, especially as artist Annapaola Martello nailed the mannerisms and quirks of the characters so well, it was totally believable. Throwing in Black Widow to act as the neutral party in the situation was a stroke of genius, and the light-hearted fun of the Freaky Friday situation kept it lively and exciting from start to finish, even when pitted against the threat of Enchantress.
By keeping things relatively simple and spending most of the issue in the jungle separate from the larger scale event, Captain Marvel is able to stand out as one of the shining lights compared to the rest of the main War of the Realms, keeping things low-key by adding depth to the characters and fleshing out the human side of things whilst the events can keep the pace tight and carefully picking its moments for the action. However, one of the downsides of having a tie-in so early in the books’ run, barely after the first arc has finished, can hamper development especially given the wide ensemble that was brought into the first arc. Hopefully the next will be a smaller-scale character centric arc that picks up the pieces that Captain Marvel #7 touched on. And it helps that there have been event tie-ins that have felt more forced than this one, which maintains its natural feel in the unlikeliest of body swaps.
The development and grudging respect that Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel develop between each other is fascinating to watch especially as Black Widow points out time and time again how arrogant both of them are, especially during a scene where she finds herself fighting a crocodile in the background and Danvers and Strange are just sat there, bickering among each other. The comic relief moments really land, and it opens the potential for more body-swap ideas between Marvel characters that I hope is explored in other series, with the possibilities being endless. Keeping Black Widow largely in the background of the panels makes sure that the attention is never taken away from both principal characters, and the comedic nature of the book suits Martello’s artwork down to the ground, able to balance the tone between the chaotic action scenes and the smaller moments with perfection.
The lighter tone of the book that comes with Martello and Tamra Bonvillain’s colours really helps make certain scenes stand out and although there have been plenty of underwhelming War of the Realms tie-ins, Captain Marvel is one of those books that very much falls into the category of books that keep up the quality factor throughout despite the flaws that have been mentioned above. With the script and dialogue given the impact that it needs thanks to the sharp lettering skills of the prolific and always reliable VC’s Clayton Cowles, the book has a natural feel and flow to it that ends on a note that will have audiences looking forward to issue eight. Hopefully any readers brought on board by the crossover will stick around for more, especially as the cliffhanger has potentially devastating consequences for Carol.