Marvel Comics is slowly making its way through their stables of popular heroes in a series of smaller-sized trade paperbacks called Marvel-Verse. The latest focuses on Captain Marvel, after Deadpool & Wolverine, Iron Man, Venom, Thanos, and Black Panther have all gotten the treatment. This latest edition collects Avenging Spider-Man (2011) #9-10, Captain Marvel (2014) #7-8, and Generations: Captain Marvel and Captain Mar-Vell (2017) #1. It’s a modern selection for the character and, as Marvel no doubt hopes, a taster for fans of the movie.
Kicking things off is Avenging Spider-Man (2011) #9-10 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Terry Dodson. This is a great first story for anyone unfamiliar with the character since it involves Spider-Man in a team-up that plays with the personalities of these characters. It’s also set in Boston, so prepare for action over the Zakim! DeConnick and Terry Dodson (with inks by Rachel Dodson and colors by Edgar Delgado) tell a fun two-part story that involves sexist corporate mech guards, a quirky but loveable Peter Parker, and a twist that involves a very smart scientist. This story does well to show the strength of Carol Danvers and how she can let her hair down with friends, but she’s also deadly serious when danger arises. She’s also passionate about flying.
The second two-parter is by DeConnick with art by Marcio Takara. It’s immediately obvious why it’s in this collection, and that has to do with Carol Danvers’ cat. Yep, this is the introduction of the Flerken, which was adapted well to the feature film. The story involves Rocket, too, which adds another layer for casual fans of the movies to get in on this comic. This tale also shows Captain Marvel in space, which helps define another area the character works so well in.
Wrapping up the book is the Generations: Captain Marvel and Captain Mar-Vell by Margaret Stohl and Brent Schoonover with colors by Jordan Boyd. This one-shot was originally published in 2017 along with other “Generations” one-shot stories that aimed to pair old heroes who had younger follow-up versions of themselves. Given the complicated nature of Captain Marvel’s original origin, which tied into Mar-Vell’s DNA and has been called sexist by many, this story was of particular interest at the time. Stohl doesn’t shy away from showing Mar-Vell as a hero from another time, sexism and all, but never loses sight of the fact that both heroes are worthy. If anything, this tale does well to show how far Captain Marvel has come from her origins as a supporting character and girlfriend to Mar-Vell.
Schoonover does a fabulous job with the clean lines we’ve come to expect from superhero books, but also with how much he packs into every scene. There are massive war scenes in play here and they don’t skimp on details. Schoonover also does a good job making Mar-Vell ignorant in his old school way of thinking, but also sympathetic. He’s a jerk, but it’s not really his fault as he’s a product of a different time.
All told, this collection may run 120 pages, but only has three stories, making it feel a bit short compared to other Marvel-Verse collections. That said, for newbies who like the MCU, this is a decent starting point to get into Captain Marvel comics.
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