Captain Marvel: Braver & Mightier #1
By Jody Houser, Simone Buonfantino, Erick Arciniega
Captain Marvel: Braver & Mightier #1 is a one-shot released to accompany the upcoming movie, but it shows just how great a character Carol Danvers is and reminds audiences of what she can do. It’s a fairly straightforward one-shot pitting Captain Marvel against an alien armada in the skies above Earth whilst the people below celebrate Carol Danvers Day, and it serves as a great insight into how she’s viewed by the ordinary population of the Marvel Universe.
Writer Jody Houser splits up the narrative between what’s happening back on Earth and what’s happening in the planet’s orbit well, with two young reporters being our viewpoint into the Earth storyline, speculating who Captain Marvel’s favourite Star Wars character would be – they come to the conclusion that it has to be a pilot. Both characters play off each other well and Houser does a good job at fleshing them out in the page-time so that you want to spend more time with them going forward, and it serves as a nice and important counterbalance to the space action, which is as cool as ever.
The artwork is crisp and clear, and both artist Simone Buonfantino and colourist Erick Arciniega have fun with the cheerful, almost playful tone of the book. It’s light hearted and not too serious and fits in well with the Marvel Cinematic Universe as much as it does the comics version of the character. Buonfantino makes sure that Carol Danvers leaves an impact every time she’s on screen, with her commanding presence always being felt. Arciniega’s colours are bright and lively too, bringing to life the space battle in vivid detail, which makes it even more entertaining to read even though it’s arguably one-sided and you know who’s going to emerge victorious from the word go. But then, you’re never going to bet against Captain Marvel.
The supporting cast don’t overshadow Carol and the book bounces back and forth between them with ease, perfectly paced over the course of the issue. There was no jarring scene changes and it flows together very well, making use of some creative layouts to combine the split narrative. Houser knows Carol and knows what makes her work so well, and the dialogue benefits from this. It feels like readers have known these characters forever, even if this might be their first time encountering them on page. There’s little in the way of exposition and when it is used it feels natural, rather than blunt and forced. Things are kept simple and the fun, light-hearted tone carries over to the dialogue nicely.
For a book that most likely existed primarily with the film in mind, Captain Marvel: Braver & Mightier #1 makes you wish that this wasn’t just a one-shot as by the end you’ll want to spend more time with these characters. Houser’s script is entertaining and fun, and this book can be enjoyed whether or not you’ve read any Captain Marvel comics before. It’s welcoming and accessible, and yes, the action is a little predictable and uncomplicated, but at the same time it sometimes a more basic approach is better and it definitely pays off here.