By their nature, the Marvel Action books are a little strange. Despite having “Marvel” in big letters on the cover, these aren’t Marvel books. They’re from IDW, and are in their own, self-contained continuity rather then being part of the larger Marvel Universe. While not malicious, it’s almost deceptive – it’s an IDW book wearing Marvel’s clothes.
The story is fine: inoffensive, charming enough, and fun enough. It’s nothing to write home about, but this is a comic designed to be the first comic that a kid who loves the MCU and Into the Spider-Verse picks up, and to that end, it’s exactly what it needs to be.
So, Carol Danvers is walking her cat (?) through Manhattan, and she runs into Spider-Gwen. They have a mock fight with Mysterio and Doc Ock – who are really Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel in disguise – go to an Olive Garden, and participate in a flash mob. There’s even a superhero Tik Tok subplot. It’s all fun, and Sam Maggs clearly knows how to write a solid comic.
Similarly, artist Mario del Pennino is great, and is arguably the best part of this book. It’s an almost manga-inspired style, with clean line work, cartoonish facial expressions, and a great, MCU-inspired design for Carol. Colorist Heather Breckel’s colors are great, as well.
But, too, I think that the nature of the medium is going to work against this book. This is fun. Marvel Action: Captain Marvel is a fun book. It’s charming, it’s fun, it’s lighthearted, and it is the sort of book that Marvel should have been selling since Iron Man, way back in 2008 or so. But who is going to read it?
The first volume of Marvel Action: Captain Marvel, according to Comichron, sold a shade over ten thousand issues. How many of those were the kids new to comics that this was aimed for? How many of those kids walked into a comics shop and bought this book? I can’t imagine that it’s that many.
So, why was this a direct market book? Why is the book structured like this? Put this in an OGN – sell it through the scholastic book fairs, put it in Barnes and Noble, actually get this into the hands of the kids you’re selling it to. The nature of direct market comics makes Marvel Action: Captain Marvel #1 kind of . . . pointless.
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