It’s a big week for Doctor Strange, who appears in both The Death of Doctor Strange #2 and in Captain Marvel Vol. 6. It’s ironic since he recently died, but with magic in flux at Marvel Comics, it also makes a lot of sense. Collecting Captain Marvel #27-30, Kelly Thompson and artists David Lopez and Jacopo Camagni wrap up a story where it’s Carol’s fault for Earth’s supervillain Ove. She just needs to become well-versed in magic, and fast. No pressure.
This collection is a satisfying read, even if you haven’t been keeping up with the series. It’s also a satisfying story since it ties up loose ends involving Carol’s time going into the future. It opens with Captain Marvel in a horrible depression, but her good friend Spider-Woman pops in to get her out of her funk. Soon she’s kicking the butt of every monster entering Earth, but Spider-Woman realizes Carol is using her fists to ignore the deeper problem that kept her in bed for days.
All this depression, interactivity between Carol and her friends, as well as the butt-kicking is laced with fantastic dialogue that informs the reader of the character’s personality at every step. Thompson is very good at capturing quirky attitudes and nerves through dialogue, which you get from Carol and other characters. This includes Doctor Strange, who enters the story as a means to teach Carol about magic. He’s reluctant at first — and there’s a tryst in there too — but soon they’re brushing up on things.
One of the joys of this story is how it feels true to all the characters. Doctor Strange doesn’t just help Carol, for instance, and it requires some bickering and arguing between Carol and Stephen Strange to eventually get to the magic lesson. Thompson is very good at making every action feel earned, with nothing coming easy. That includes a key moment where Carol might actually die when her powers give out, but a lucky bit of lava enters the story.
As far as story progression, Carol must navigate personalities and well-set-up threats culminating in a supervillain battle. By the end, Stephen Strange, War Machine, and the villains all blend together in a satisfying conclusion. On top of that, the relationship between Stephen and Carol feels honest and true. So often with superhero comics, the melodrama of sleeping together can be overly done, but here both characters act like adults and carry on in a dignified manner. That’s refreshing.
Art by Lopez (#27) and Camagni (#28-30) is good throughout, with the tail end of the collection feeling a bit half-baked and likely a touch rushed. Lopez’s art opens the book well with a Javier Rodriguez look that suits the heavier focus on characters talking. The speed dating scene works well thanks to the great facial expressions and personalities at work. Camagni gets to draw a lot more superhero heroics like fights with giant eels and plenty of flight. Camagni is always good at making Carol look honest and true to herself.
Captain Marvel Vol. 6: Strange Magic is a highly enjoyable read that’s nearly standalone save for the ongoing threat of Ove. Thompson is a master at dialogue and showing characters for who they are through their speech. There are also good stakes in play and well-earned wins for the heroes.
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