Captain Marvel has been through a lot — and yet, not as much as before. Prior to donning the red and blue, Carol Danvers might have been best known for having one of the most convoluted (and cringiest) histories in Marvel Comics. Margaret Stohl cleaned up a lot of her origin a couple years ago, but the rapidly-maturing space baby … I guess we’re left to exercise selective memory on that.
In any case, Danvers’ ties to the militaristic, alien Kree race are still there, and maybe stronger than ever, no doubt at least partially due to her presentation in the billion-dollar-grossing Captain Marvel movie. So when the Avengers were pulled into Dan Slott and Al Ewing’s Empyre crossover this year, featuring the formerly antagonistic Kree and Skrull empires uniting against a common enemy, it only made sense that Danvers would play a large part in the conflict.
That turned out to be an understatement, as Captain Marvel became Emperor Hulkling’s Supreme Accuser, the title formerly and most famously held by fellow MCU star, Ronan. Carol’s current steward, Kelly Thomspon, wrote her solo tie-in within issues #18-21 of Captain Marvel, which have now been collected (along with, for some reason, Empyre #2) in a trade paperback titled Accused.
Supreme Accuser always seemed like a pretty lonely position (no one likes a finger-pointer), but Danvers makes a pretty important connection in Accused. Without spoiling too much, she’s sent to deal with a terrorist whose actions have jeopardized the fragile Kree/Skrull peace, and ends up learning, if not about herself, a little more about her mother. The “accused” then comes back to Earth for some delightful “fish out of water” fun wither Carol’s crew.
Yes, because the supporting cast doesn’t end there! We also see Danvers’ (apparently on-again) beau James Rhodes (AKA War Machine), Spider-Woman (Carol’s best friend), and Hazmat (who knows why, but yay!). And Dr. Strange is there to … create spirit duplicates of the Universal Weapon?
I guess? It’s not really clear exactly why the already superpowered group needs to split the might of the hammer into fourths, or even what these shards actually are or can do. It’s a nice visual, undoubtedly, as Carol and Co. smash through Cotati minions while apologizing and assuring us all they don’t usually treat plants like this. Most of the quips don’t quite land, though, as if everyone was really eager to show off what they learned in their “Improv Just Like Spider-Man” classes.
The dialogue is hit-and-miss throughout Captain Marvel: The Accused, but the addition of this new Kree character, who quickly proves herself worthy of the Universal Weapon, is a nice, sincere story, and Cory Smith’s costume design for her is kind of brilliant. His stark lines make for some striking figures, but the action feels fairly static and doesn’t always “move.” Tamra Bonvillain’s colors do yeoman’s work, between the pastels of the Kree/Skrull uniforms, the green flashes of the hammers, and the brown and rusty vines.
Oh, and, uh, I suppose Empyre #2 is here to give some background. It’s pretty good for that, but the styles, tones, and contents of the two different stories don’t really match. It might have been more effective preceding the Captain Marvel issues than following them, too.
Captain Marvel: The Accused is typical of Thompson’s tenure on the book — cute and at times heartwarming, but a little herky-jerky in the plotting. Things kind of start and stop, and the character voices aren’t always consistent, but Accused is still a decent read, and the right kind of event tie-in — one that seizes on a small part of the greater story and expands it, with possible ramifications for the future.
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