Kelly Thompson has long since proved herself as a great Captain Marvel writer, but the “Brave New World” arc might just be the most impressive arc of an already fabulous run. Each issue was packed with character moments and shocking plot twists, and though the finale peters out a bit in comparison, it’s still another solid issue.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Captain Marvel #26!
The Ove/Carol showdown has been a long time in the making, and though it doesn’t always live up to the hype, it’s still a great ride. It’s the culmination of the last few issues, seeing characters like Armor step back into the fold as well as the next generation of fighters. Amora’s sacrifice is unexpected, though it does follow through with the character Thompson presented us within this arc: a mother who will do anything for her son, even if she thinks he’s a monster. The Ove/Amora dynamic is easily one of the most interesting parts of this exciting arc.
Once the battle ends, Carol returns to Jessica, who tries to cheer her up. Carol doesn’t believe she’s won, since Ove was able to transport himself back in time to the present-day 616. Jessica says she’s saved their future and for that alone, she should give herself a break. It’s a great look at the Carol/Jess dynamic and at all the weight Carol puts on her own shoulders. The icing on the cake for this duo comes when Jessica sacrifices herself to get Carol home, proving the timelessness of the friendship between these two women. The hugs Carol gives Jessica and Hazmat when she gets back is pretty heartwarming.
One of the best parts of Thompson’s run is how she writes other characters who just happen to show up in the title. Her Emma is just about flawless, providing one of the most entertaining and true-to-the-character takes on Emma in years. She’s also shined incredibly when it comes to writing Hazmat and the unlikely friendship between her and Carol. It seems weird to say that Hazmat, an Avengers Academy character, totally belongs in a Captain Marvel book, but Kelly Thompson makes it so. She’s simply a natural here.
Sometimes when Marvel does future stories like this, there’s almost no impact on the characters in the present — after all, they’ve stopped the big bad of the future, so why bother? That’s not the case with “Brave New World,” and Captain Marvel is better off for it, giving more meaning and prominence to this plot we’ve spent so long on. Because of the events of “Brave New World,” Carol and Rhodey break up.
Carol and Rhodey are a great couple, and throughout the pages of Thompson’s own Captain Marvel run she’s proved why. But “Brave New World” introduces an interesting hurdle for the couple: Rhodey’s future daughter. Upon finding out that Rhodes’ daughter wasn’t hers, Carol begins to wonder if she was holding him back from true happiness. It’s an interesting angle for a futuristic plot, and it’s giving some good insight into Carol’s character. She’s selfless, but perhaps to a fault, believing she could never be Rhodes’ happy ending.
It’s weird to say that a breakup works so well for a couple I’ve admitted to loving, but it’s clear this story isn’t done yet. The character work that came from this scene and seems to be promised for the future could be just what Carol and Rhodey need to prove why they do actually belong together. A little drama in romance is what great love stories in fiction are made of!
Captain Marvel #26 is a mostly-satisfying conclusion to a fantastic arc. Garbett’s pencils get the job done and Thompson’s writing knocks it out of the park — it’ll be interesting to see where the title goes from here.
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