It’s as good a time as any to launch a new Captain Carter series this week after she made waves in the series What If…? on Disney+. Jamie McKelvie writes with Marika Cresta on a multiversal story set in a Marvel universe where it was Peggy Carter who was given the super-soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers. Focusing on the days after she was awakened from the ice, does Peggy Carter take up the mantle and become the hero Great Britain needs? The road to becoming a hero may be rockier than you might think.
Announced in December, Marvel Comics is clearly aware the multiverse is more interesting to readers than ever. Given Spider-Man: No Way Home and the upcoming Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness movie, why not explore superheroes from alternate dimensions? As the preview shows, Peggy wakes to nations fighting over who gets to use her as their hero seemingly forgetting she’s a person and that her nationality is British. Along with that headache, Captain Carter must navigate a very different world than the one she knew.
As first issues go, McKelvie and Cresta do well to add new characters into Captain Carter’s life. They’re sprinkled throughout the book with some coming off as bonafide future friends and others potential enemies. There are some hints at what’s going on with superheroes in the larger world, which helps isolate her a bit more than one might expect. Superheroes are pretty rare and she’s in no rush to become one. You get a good sense of where the story is going with the various characters in her life.
The problem with this issue is that it’s way too safe. It lacks big surprises and splashy moments. It’s mostly a character study of Peggy Carter being cracked out of the ice and dropped into a modern-day time. As far as Captain Carter’s point of view, she’s experiencing a lot of what Captain America went through only she has no desire to fight for her country as Captain America did. It also rather obviously sets up an antagonist in a way that is very expected.
This issue sets up the study of how Captain Carter needs to see she’s needed in the world, but it reaches its cliffhanger around when she might be figuring that part out. It feels a bit cut short, especially since it’s playing with themes we’ve seen before.
Much of this book is a talking heads narrative which Cresta draws well. The action does ramp up at one point and Cresta captures the speed and courage of Captain Carter quite well. McKelvie does well to show in these scenes she’s a leader, too. Paired with Erick Arciniega’s colors, the issue has a shine to it with good use of light in each scene. Peggy goes through a lot of emotions in this book and Cresta captures all those very well. She’s shocked, surprised, angry, annoyed, and steadfast in her determinism. She feels like a complex character thanks to the work done with her expressions.
Captain Carter #1 feels like a stable, but safe start to the new series. Characterization is on point and you’ll be right there with Peggy every step of the way, but it also doesn’t feel new enough, nor does it make a strong enough case to matter just yet. As it reaches its cliffhanger you’ll be on the fence as the second issue will likely open up its superhero themes.
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