Pick of the Week

11.14.2007 – Captain Marvel #1

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Writer – Brian Reed
Penciler – Lee Weeks
Inks – Stefano Gaudiano
Colors – Jason Keith
Letters – Todd Klein

Marvel Comics – $2.99

I can admit it, sometimes I’m wrong. Actually as it turns out, I’m wrong quite a bit. It’s somewhat empowering to acknowledge this and to admit it. I’ll make a snap judgment about a comic book and quite often that will stick for several years. I’ve been trying to be a better person, and that includes being a better comic fan, so I’ve been trying not to dismiss things without actually checking them out. And because of this attempt to be a better person, I found myself with a ridiculously large stack of books, including Captain Marvel #1.

I’ve said many things about the return of Captain Marvel when Marvel brought him back towards the end of the Civil War event earlier this year. I thought it was a cheap stunt that was handled poorly. It didn’t make sense a story point and had zero impact on the Civil War storyline. It was shocking and demeaned the value that this character had in the Marvel Universe . So when I heard that Marvel seemed to remember they had brought Captain Marvel back and finally got around to doing a series or something to address that fact, I laughed and immediately dismissed it.

But, I gave it a try and who knew that on this jam packed week of books, that it would emerge out of my stack as the one comic that made me want to ask people, “Hey, did you read Captain Marvel #1?”

For those unaware, Captain Marvel is a Kree soldier named Mar-Vell who came to Earth and became a hero and an Avenger. He died tragically, not in battle or saving the universe, rather of cancer in one of Marvel’s most classic stories. He has remained dead for decades, until they shoved his “return” into Civil War. Rather than bring him back from the dead, he comes to us out of the timestream, from a time shortly before he is stricken with cancer, before he died. After about 6 panels explaining his return, he was made the warden of the superhuman prison Tony Stark and Reed Richards built. And that was it. As far as we knew, since Civil War ended, he’s been the warden, whatever that means.

I was surprised to see in this comic book, writer Brian Reed take what is basically a crappy setup and turn it into something worth reading. With only a few pages addressing the Civil War, we find Captain Marvel has left the prison in the Negative Zone, abandoning his post, and has slipped in with the rest of the human race, not wanting to reveal that he has “returned.” Living in France, he enjoys art and is embarrassed of how he dies and does not want to reveal himself to the world to remind them of that fact. In the issue, we hear his thoughts and feelings of being a man out of time who knows his fate and ultimately realizes that the role he plays in the universe is not one that he can ignore when he is very much alive. The issue ends with a stunning full page splash that delivers the true return of Captain Marvel.

It’s this last page that makes me realize just what Captain Marvel means to the Marvel Universe. He is what they want The Sentry to be – the awe inspiring, can do anything, Superman type. Despite his death being such a classic story, I bet they’ve been kicking themselves for doing it because it meant the loss of such a great character. So who am I to question his return? It’s comics. It happens all the time. Whether he stays around or not (this is a 5 issue mini series), I don’t know. But for now, issue #1 of Captain Marvel handled the return of a beloved character with dignity and respect, and because of that, I’m impressed.

Brian Reed’s story and dialogue was smooth and effortless, the storytelling was top notch, which was nice to see from a writer who’s fairly new to these comics, but is quickly showing he has the chops. Lee Weeks is one of the artists who I know has been around since the 80s, and I could even identify by name, but other than his Daredevil work, I couldn’t tell you what he’s done. That said, he did a fantastic job with this book. Stefano Gaudiano’s inks and Jason Keith’s colors helped to make Week’s pencils stunning. The entire presentation and look of this book was slightly reminiscent of classic 70s/80s Marvel art, but with an updated modern feel. Todd Klein is one of the great letterers, and brings the skill to this series. The title page alone was a thing of beauty.

I have to say that I didn’t think I’d even like this book, much less be evangelizing it, but when a good comic book crosses my lap, who am I to ignore it? Captain Marvel #1 was so good that I wish I could get everyone to read it. Now let’s hope the rest of the series doesn’t suck.

Ron Richards
A little inspiration goes a long way
ron@ifanboy.com

Did you read Captain Marvel #1?
Add a comment and tell everyone what you think about this week’s comics!
I’m still shaking my head in disbelief. How they could take the return of a classic character and botch it like they did, and then turn around a great comic is beyond me, but damn it was good reading.

Comments

  1. Brian Reed is a Name waiting to happen. Every month I read Ms. Marvel and think, “This should be way more popular than it is.” I have not made my way to Capt. Marvel yet, but it greatly heartens me to think that the book rises above the painfully lame execution of its inception during Civil War.

  2. Really?

  3. Ms. Marvel is one of my faverite books right now. Brian Reed is becoming a force. I haven’t read the Image book The Circle by him yet but can’t wait. I guess I wiil go back and pick Capt. Marvel up tomarrow.

  4. My pick’s World War Hulk #5.

    The good news is they may be taking Hulk in a direction one of you guys may have wanted. At least I think it was one of you…I might be getting confused with CGS…

  5. I just read the Death of Captain Marvel for the first time a few weeks ago. I didn’t pick this issue up, but now I might. If only to have a Marvel character of the rank of captain be confused at finding himself out of his own time…

  6. Oh yeah, anyone else a fan of the Peter David series Captain Marvel with Genis Vell? Loved that book.

  7. And I’m not actually posting at 3am, I’m a west coaster and just got home from leaving my heart with an ifanboy by the bay…

  8. I had a hard time with a PoW this week, because everything I got was so f’ing awesome.

    So! Taking my favorite six books of the week, turning them face down to where I can only see the backboards, shuffling them, and rolling a d6 leads to…*drumroll*

    Booster Gold #4 as my PoW. Which, I must say, I started picking up due to you guys. So thanks!

    (For those curious, the other five books that I REALLY liked this week were: Nova #8, All Star Supes #9, X-Factor #25, New Avengers #36, and Green Arrow/Black Canary #2)

  9. Well, I didn’t read this– but I’m glad to see the POW wasn’t any of the books I did read, which ranged from average to dreadful.

    WWHulk #5 was one of the worst comics I’ve ever read– just objectionable on so many levels. Somehow it was so bad that it even tainted the rest of the books in my pile.

  10. I was thinking of picking this up, but the cover really turned me off. It put me in mind of a folder I would have purchased for my 4th grade social studies class. It just looks like it would come with stickers and temporary tattoos and a subscription form for Zoo Books magazine.

    I’ll have to take a look at it when I hit the shop next week. I like Reed’s other stuff.

  11. Interesting choice, I may have to check it out, cause I like Ron and most everyone else initially dismissed this.

    While I haven’t found my pick of the week, I did find the stink of the week! How bad was World War Hulk #5? As a big fan of the Hulk and especially Planet Hulk, this really sucked. Bad.

  12. I had a great week this week! I didn’t pick this up, mainly because the Captain Marvel history doesn’t really resonate with the timing of my comic reading, plus, I’m just not interested. Brian Reed is an awesome writer though, and I really enjoyed his new book, The Circle this month.

    I would have to say that my pick this week was definitely Green Arrow/Black Canary #2! This book made me laugh out loud and Winick really nailed Ollie in the parts where he tries to escape. Also, the picture becomes clear behind the Amazon’s abduction of Ollie. It’ll be even more interesting to see how long he’s been there.

    New Avengers was actually really solid this week, and I feel like Yu’s pencils were much stronger this issue. If he draws Secret Invasion like this, I’ll be a happy camper. I think next issue will just be a kick ass super hero vs. villains battle. Hasn’t been one of those in a long while.

    Nova is still the surprise book of the year for me. This issue was awesome, and I can’t wait to see where it leads. Might this be the origin of the Zombie disease that started Marvel Zombies?

    To second what others were saying, WWH #5 was awful. JRJR’s pencils was the only thing that redeemed this issue. Huge splash page battle scenes. Just awesome. The story though is comparable to dog vomit. Check that…dog vomit that doesn’t make sense. I have no idea what happened at the end.

    Was anybody else surprised by the ending of Avengers: Intiative with Peter Parker? I thought that was pretty interesting, but with them rebooting the Spider-Man brand, is it valid in any way? Either way, I am so freaking excited for Slott to write Spider-Man. His Parker is funny and badass all at the same time.

    Everything else I bought this week (Punisher, The Sword, Wolverine, and Nightwing) was all solid as well. These past two weeks have made me wish comics came out every day. Nothing like amazing comics with a cold brew after a long, long day at work.

  13. I was mightily impressed with this book too. I didn’t have a problem with Captain Marvel being returned as much as the crappy comic book it happened in. This one more than made up for that one. I am going to have to get around to giving Ms. Marvel another chance. And did anyone else pick up The Circle? The plot doesn’t seem to be anything brilliant, but it is solid. I’ll keep buying it.

    New Avengers was sweet. Avengers Initiative…so Peter is off the hook? Kinda. And now writers can have it either way. They can tell a story where the public believe he is Spider-man or not. Whatever.

  14. Interesting point about how Capt. Marvel is what the Sentry should be. I know the Capt. Marvel death is a big sacred cow, but would it REALLY matter if they kept him alive…how about if they kill the Sentry in exchange?

  15. Cincinnatus – Peter David’s Captain Marvel is one of my favorite Marvel books. So much so that I was a little peeved when his grave was ommitted in the shot of Mar-vell’s from this issue. When Genis died in Thunderbolts, they buried him next to his father.

    My favorite schtick is a scene that happened in Young Justice where Snapper Carr was talking to Rick Jones and they were catching up on the events of their lives. Rick Jones talks about his adventures with Genis. Peter David was writing both books at the same time.

  16. Didn’t pick this up. I hated the whole Civil War thing and how they brought him back. I didn’t want to “go there”. I’ll pick it up today. I thought this week was awesome for comics. At Midtown in NYC people were walking around talking about Titans East. I thought it was exciting. I can’t wait for Titans #1. Green Arrow and Black Canary #2 was fun, New Avengers #36 made me howl whenever Spidey cracked a joke and Countdown #24 was brutally exciting. When you guys mentioned Countdown #26 as picking up steam, I bought 26 through 24 and wow! It seems that a lot is tying together and it should be fun as we head into Final Crisis. BATO #1 was fun and the Sword #2 was interesting. I am loving the Messiah Complex tie-ins. Wow for X-Factor #25. This crossover is really good. I was most excited to pick up the new Scott Pilgrim. Haven’t read it yet . . . But started it and it is SO funny.

  17. Interestingly, I picked this up and it just didn’t grab me. It wasn’t bad at all, it just wasn’t great. I’ll re-read it.

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who had no idea what the hell happened at the end of WWH. And I may be a blasphemer for saying this, but I suspect JRJR is past his prime.

    New Avengers was only ok.

    Messiah Complex is still awesome.

  18. I agree- New Avengers was only OK. I don’t know how much to blame Bendis, though, and how much to blame Cho & the Mighty Avengers situation, and/or Marvel editorial… The Elektra Skrull reveal happened a while ago now, and to a large degree it seems we’re just spinning our wheels– and will be until next year when the Secret Invasion finally comes out.

    Anyway, did anyone read Nightwing? I thought about buying it, as part of the crossover, but flipping through it, just couldn’t bring myself to buy it.

  19. I am floored by this pick, but i understand your reasoning for buying it, i also picked it up and now i can’t wait to read it. You can always count on Ron to hit us with a surprise!

  20. I think I might pick up Captain Marvel if it is still at my shop next week.

    My Pick of the week would have been New Avengers or Gotham Underground.

    Cincinnatus and Dave – Peter David’s Captain Marvel is also one of my favorite Marvel books. when did Genis die? He didn’t die in his canceled book. I know he was in thunderbolts a few years ago, does he die in that? If so, what kind of death is it? Is it something he could come back from?

    (Although, i guess since it is a comicbook, he could come back from any death.)

  21. Wow…Guess I’m one of the few to actually like WWH. Ah well, thems the breaks.

  22. I wasn’t going to drink this Kool Aid…but Ron’s been pretty persuasive. Plus, the show’s always more fun when you bought the pick.

    Anyone remember the Bill Cosby show Picture Pages ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWg0U3fi7s ). You could order the coloring books and draw along with him? Its kind of like that when you get the pick of the week. I like to listen to the podcast with a highlighter and markup everything as they talk about it.

  23. So is Teen Titans getting canceled and relaunched with Titans? How did I miss that piece of news?

  24. I heard that Genis died but I never went and found the issues. The Peter David series didn’t end well, but it ended and I was happy to have my four trades and be done with it.

    I also have first contact but even in that book Genis and Rick are already connected. Does anyone know what issue Genis Vell actually originated in? (I’m sure its on Wikipedia but I want a discussion not cold hard facts)

  25. Wow, I’m surprised by the pick this week!

    I personally thought Booster Gold was the awesome pick this week, but that’s just me.

    However, thank you for not picking World War Hulk #5; crappy endings of big event books (Marvel seems to be on top of those lately) shouldn’t be rewarded with recognition.

  26. “Wow…Guess I’m one of the few to actually like WWH. Ah well, thems the breaks.”

    Nah, not the only one. Made sense to me, and I thought it delivered on what it set out to do.

    I wouldn’t have selected in as my POW, but I did enjoy the story.

  27. Genis first showed up in the early or mid-90’s. I’m not sure of his actual first appearance, but one of his first times to do anything was in some crappy Avengers annual or one shot or something. He had a long pony tail, liked the drink, and was pretty much a dick. Not much happened to him until Peter David bonded him with Rick Jones. Well, technically, before that he was in Avengers Forever, but in Marvel continuity, that took place well into the Peter David run.

  28. Andrew- When Genis showed up in Thunderbolts he was attacked by Atlas. To speed up Genis’ recovery from the attack, Zemo used cosmic energies from the beginning and end of time. However this was a cosmic bonehead manuever because it effed up the fabric of the universe. Some how what Zemo did to Genis started to destroy the universe. To save the universe Zemo split Genis up and sent him into different corners of space and time. In my opinion, it was a very weak ending to a very cool character.

    It is comics. Of course there is a chance for him to come back.

  29. “In my opinion, it was a very weak ending to a very cool character.”

    No kidding! That sucks and sounds like what they did to X-Man, dispersing him across reality. Man…what was the point of killing Genis? That seems dumb. Do you know what issue(s) that specifically happens in?

    …And to think I liked Atlas.

  30. So is Teen Titans getting canceled and relaunched with Titans? How did I miss that piece of news?

    No, they are launching a second Titans book.

  31. Andrew- Atlas was under the influence of Purple Man when he attacked Genis. And they made nice before Genis’ end. The events unfolded over the entire New Thunderbolts run. I think Genis died in the arc before the last. Maybe right before Civil War.

    I totally dug X-Man too, but I dropped the book when they took him into a parallel reality or whatever. There was one issue where he, Peter and Mary Jane had Thanksgiving dinner together and I got a big kick out that at the time. If were around today, I’d probably read whatever X-Book he was in.

  32. “There was one issue where he, Peter and Mary Jane had Thanksgiving dinner together and I got a big kick out that at the time. If were around today, I’d probably read whatever X-Book he was in.”

    I remember that issue! I think it was Amazing issue 420, by Steve Scroce. I only remember because Scroce’s panel of Aunt Anna Watson serving the turkey was pretty ugly. I really liked how Nate and Peter were buds for a while. I too dropped X-Man before he died, so I am not sure on specifics, but i think i read somewhere that his death had his essence dispersed across all of humanity or something. So he could always come back.

  33. From an unquestionable fan of PLANET HULK I’m just going to ignore World War Hulk happened at all. How awful was that reveal, they could’ve made “the butler” responsible, it would’ve caused as much shock on me as a reader.

    I loved New Avengers, basically because It was a comic that dove in the middle of something that should’ve happened but didn’t (Mighty Avengers), There were so many storylines intertwining I had a basic Idea of what was going on, but felt I was missing so many things. Still this issue was so well written I was a blast just turning the pages.

    Captain Marvel was a nice read, had very cool elements. I just have a problem with this character as well as Silver Surfer in Avengers.

    They’re Cosmic powered super Heroes, Shouldn’t they be fighting the phalanx on space?

  34. I haven’t gotten through my stack, and I missed last week so if any of these books are from last week please forgive me. But initial thoughts:

    X-Factor: This is shaping up to be the best X-Men crossover ever. Seriously. Reading it right after Uncanny (which was from last week) was great since it tied in very well and didn’t have any weird continuityness (that I saw). Also it’s nice that each book seems to at least touch on other characters so the New X-Men were in this a bit, as well as Cyclops and the others.

    Wonder Woman: This is the first Wonder Woman issue since Rucka left that I enjoyed (and I’ve been reading them all). It’s obvious that Gail Simone has a clear idea of what she wants to do with Wonder Woman and has a strong take on the character. It’s different than Rucka’s but just as valid. It only took like two years of screwing the character up big time to sort this out.

    New Avengers: It’s sort of weird to read how an arch wraps up before that arc has even started. Oh Bendis, you think such big thoughts but slow artists are your wax wings that bring you down to earth. As always it was great and probably my pick of the week. Again it would have been twice as awesome had everything been schedualed right, but it still worked for me.

    World War Hulk: I kept wanting to defend this series, because it sounds great on paper. The Hulk versus the Marvel U. How can that not be a winner? The answer to that is that you add the Sentry a character that nobody cares about. I enjoyed the early stages of this series, but by the end there was so many odd switches between Banner and the Hulk that I couldn’t care.

  35. I’ve never been more lost reading the posts this week. All this talk about Genis and Atlas and X-MAN(wasn’t he like a young cable or something)? Oh well.

    I didn’t buy Cpt. Marvel but when I read Ron’s review I had to get it today. It ended up being my PICK also. I’ve never read Reed’s stuff but this was great and the art had such a great feel. Kinda a more polished JRJR style.

    New Avengers was really good overall. I hated the beginning though. The naration felt so unnatural. Jessica Jones sounded like the most annoying wife in the world(Who were venoms? everyone was. everyone was a venom? yeah. but like who all were venoms? everyone was a venom. everyone? yeah.) but it was only in that part that she sounded like that. It sounded like bendis was in narrator mode. He was trying way too hard to hit you over the head with everything. Once he was in dialogue mode he was fine.

    Okay so I know I’m gettin really nit-picky but there had to be some miscommunication between Leinel Yu and Dave McCaig(color). One minute Jessica Jones is wearing pants next she’s not. In the end CAGE is wearing a tank top(close up) then he’s not(bottom panoramic shot) and then he is again(final splash page).

    LAST THING I PROMISE. The first picture of Jessica Jones she had one of those pointy madonna boobs. Im done.

  36. “My favorite schtick is a scene that happened in Young Justice where Snapper Carr was talking to Rick Jones and they were catching up on the events of their lives. Rick Jones talks about his adventures with Genis. Peter David was writing both books at the same time.”

    Dave Graham… you and I are now best friends. Love how Snapper keeps getting one-upped. “Lost a whole arm, huh…?” Fantastic.

    Genis and Rick are actually bound together in the Avengers Forever maxi-series (another unappreciated classic). I loved David’s series, but I kept feeling like he really wanted to write a Rick Jones book, instead. Which, I think we can agree, would have been just as awesome.

  37. Well, now I have to go back and pick up Captain Marvel. I hesitated – thought about waiting for the trade, etc.

    I credit Peter David’s Captain Marvel with getting me back into comics – so well written and funny. Thank being said, I have never had a whole lot of love for the old school Captain Marvel. But being on a “cosmic” kick these days (eating up the Annihilation trades – you guys should really be talking about this stuff; and maybe being one of the only people interested in the whole Emperor Vulcan stuff) – I’m gonna give this a shot in issues.

    My pick: probably X-factor – I really love how they are integrating all of the X-men books and a new chapter every week – hell yeah.

  38. I didn’t end up buying it based on the simple fact that I just didn’t really like the art. I loved Week’s DD work, but I picked this book up on Ron’s “evangelizing” and had to put it down in favor of Avengers Initiative. Am I the only one that still likes this mag.? Anyway, look forward to your discussion on the Capt. Marv. in the p.cast.

  39. I was a sure no after The Return, picked this up when it showed up as the POTW. Good read, and the story has a lot of potential. They’ve got Captain Marvel in a very interesting position.

  40. nega bands! no quantum bands! you nerd!

    and he has cosmic awareness! thats his big power.

  41. Nega-Bands! You’re right -sorry, I always confuse Captain Marvel and the nega-bands with Quasar and the quantum bands.

  42. im just busting your chops, buddy. awesome show this week, and i totally agree with your pick.

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