From the very start of her Captain Marvel run, Kelly Thompson has been pushing Carol Danvers’ character in exciting directions, allowing her to grow as a character. In this issue, she does it once more as Carol is forced to solve problems head-on instead of with a fight. The end result feels like more good, positive character development for Carol, who often has a “fight first” mentality.
It’s not just Carol who experiences positive growth, but Binary and Amora as well. Binary, who has been assuming Carol Danvers’s role on earth while she was stuck in her magical tournament, gets her own wake-up call and finally embarks on a mission to find out who she really is. This was the only ending that character could have (for now at least), and it might be fun to see what she’s like when she comes back into the fold.
Though she only periodically shows up in this run as a villain, Amora has been a highlight of Thompson’s work on Captain Marvel. The Enchantress feels entirely true to herself in this book: a woman who lashes out in horrible ways when she feels slighted. But Thompson understands that Amora’s anger comes from a place of love, particularly for her son. Because of the work done in the ’90s on Thor – Dan Jurgens’ Thor in particular – Amora was already established as a person who does genuinely love people and wants to experience said love in return, but she lashes out upon losing it.
Thompson took this idea in a new direction, making the object of Amora’s all-consuming love her son instead of Thor. This allowed a fresh take on the character, establishing motherly love as something Amora cherishes at all costs as well and adding a really interesting angle to her character. She is a woman who hurts deeply, but who lashes out on those who have caused her to feel that pain — like Carol.
While Amora’s motivations throughout this entire run have always been to protect her son, she still uses another child as a pawn to spite Carol. Thematically the story is great, as Carol just failed her challenges in the magical realm because she continually killed the dragons instead of defeating them without killing them as she was instructed to. When this challenge approaches, Carol is so committed to changing her ways that she tries to fight the dragon by the nonviolence rules even before she’s aware it’s Kit who got turned into the dragon.
Not only did this provide a fantastic moment of growth for Carol, but her ending scene with Amora strikes quite the emotional chord. She finally informs Amora about what a monster Ove truly was, showing Enchantress her own response when she died in the other timeline issues prior. This causes Amora a moment of reflection, though she claims she will continue to hold her grudge later on. It opens the door for some really good development in the future for Amora, should Thompson wish to write her again (and considering how good she is at it, I hope she does), as well as Carol, who gave the Enchantress a moment of kindness despite what she had just done.
Wanda’s scenes standing up for Carol with the magic council are also great, showcasing the friendship and respect that runs between these women. The art in these pages is drawn and colored in a way that’s distinctive enough that it truly does feel like it’s a magical realm and not at all the same New York as the rest of the book. The artists involved truly did a great job here, making each “set” feel as unique as it should.
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