Deadshirt is Reading: Captain Marvel and Starbrand and Nightmask!

Deadshirt Is Reading… is a weekly feature in which Deadshirt’s staff, contributing writers, and friends-of-the-site offer their thoughts on Big Two cape titles, creator-owned books, webcomics and more. 


Kayleigh Hearn is reading…

Captain Marvel #1

Written by Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters

Art by Kris Anka and Matt Wilson (colors)

Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna

Marvel Comics

“The great Captain Marvel, talking about garbage.”

Captain Marvel is back from Secret Wars with a shiny new #1 issue. Assigned to the Alpha Flight Space Station, Carol Danvers finds herself adjusting to life off-Earth. It’s hard enough dealing with all the problems that come with a new job, like snide comments from co-workers (“It’s not a desk job,” she tells Rocket Raccoon) and a boss who hates her, but Captain Marvel also has to protect the planet from the latest creepy, cosmic threat. Luckily, she’s really, really good at punching things.

Writers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters have the unenviable task of picking up Captain Marvel’s reins after the end of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s beloved run, but they hit the ground running with a first issue that is fun and exciting. The most pleasant surprise is the book’s supporting cast, which includes the classic members of Alpha Flight in a revamped role. For years these characters have been inexplicably used as punching bags or excuses for cheap Canada gags, so it’s refreshing to see Fazekas and Butters dust them off and treat them with respect. The most sparkling addition to the new Captain Marvel series is artist Kris Anka; his rendition of Carol Danvers with short hair, a sweet six-pack, and a winning smirk is the stuff of fangirl dreams. Captain Marvel #1 is a fun adventure with a winning supporting cast and beautiful art—more than enough to make the Carol Corps cheer.

Joe Stando is reading…

Starbrand and Nightmask #2

Written by Greg Weisman

Art by Domo Stanton and Jordan Boyd (colors)

Lettered by Clayton Cowles

Marvel Comics

“Your lack of concern concerns me.”

I really enjoyed Starbrand and Nightmask #1, which follows the two Hickman-derived heroes as they settle down slightly from cosmic adventures and attend college, in an effort to reconnect with the people they protect. This issue still has the core spark, but it didn’t wow me quite as much. Let’s start out with the pitfalls, and then end on a high note (of which there were still plenty).

Starbrand and Nightmask are relatively new characters who were tied to the major mechanics of the last Avengers run, but I feel like they’re still accessible enough that two issues in—we don’t need multiple pages of recap on their backstory and powers. That element crowds out both the supervillain fight stuff and the slice of college life stuff, leaving this issue feeling a little scant. What’s worse is that the overall driving conflict, that Starbrand’s incredible power leaves him feeling increasingly distant from humanity, was already explored pretty well in a one-off Avengers issue penned by Sam Humphries. I’m not against using that as a jumping off point, but thus far it just feels like a rehash, without a new spin.

Other than that, though, it’s a pretty solid issue. Stanton’s got some great techniques for the kind of explosive, energy-based powers the characters have, and there’s a good balance of exaggeration in facial shapes and expressions. Nitro looks suitably ghoulish, but the leads are still more empathetic than cartoonish. The bit towards the end with a Kree Nightmask is promising, and I have to take a minute and praise what is still the best concept of the book so far: Starbrand vs. Nitro. Starbrand is a hero defined by his guilt that the event that gave him his powers blew up a school full of innocent people, and Nitro is a villain defined by blowing up a school full of innocent people, AND they fight outside of a school, full of innocent people. It’s the perfect mix of stakes and motivations, one that looks obvious in hindsight.

As a fan of both Weisman and the title characters, I’m excited about this book. This issue was a little slower, but pieces are clearly being moved around and set up. It’s a bright, interesting comic nonetheless.

Thanks for reading about what we’re reading! We’ll be back next week with a slew of suggestions from across the comics spectrum. In the meantime, what are you reading? Tell us in the comments section, on Twitter or on our Facebook Page!

Post By Deadshirt Staff (691 Posts)

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