To be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d continue buying Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps by issue until Wednesday when it hit the shelves. Then, when the opportunity to have it in my hands, right that day, presented itself, my previous practical notions of waiting for the trade paperback flew away…into the Void, you might say.
So here I am, having newly read issue #2 and only regretting my decision for one reason: if I were reading a trade paperback, I could immediately devour issue #3 and not agonize over the astonishing last page of this one.
My review of issue #1 was spoiler free, but I’ve come to find keeping subsequent issues spoiler-free leaves little to be said that wasn’t already covered. This is to say that there will be spoilers, but I’ll leave the final page for you to discover in your own reading. If you’d like to remain truly naive of the turns of screw in this issue, stop reading after the following summary blurb from Marvel. All you need to know from my end is that I highly recommend continuing to read this title. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Kelly Thompson have penned an issue that does NOT disappoint.
Let’s get you spun up, Airman! After the explosive events last issue, Captain Marvel and her Carol Corps are determined to never again be left in the dark. Together they begin a secret and highly dangerous campaign… to go where no one has gone before.
What is it about alternate realities that engages us so readily? Why wouldn’t variations on a character we already know become tedious navel-gazing? The answer is simply: dramatic irony. We know where this is going. Or we think we do. And when our expectations are met but also overturned, we feel both smart (through our recognition) and surprised (due to the switcheroo).
In the last issue, Carol rescued a black man from a ship she and the Banshee Squadron were supposed to attack. They were told it was a ship of Ultrons (yipes!), but Carol got close enough in her flight to realize that the ship was populated with humans. Recognition in me makes me think, I bet this is Rhodey (although in my gut I’m kinda hoping it isn’t, since that really highlights the lack of black men in the Marvel universe). And of course it’s Rhodey. As the various heroes inhabiting the fragments of Battleworld look at their borders and wonder what’s beyond, they will be drawn to seek the answer, and in so doing they will meet each other. That’s the phase of the narrative we’re at.
The interplay between Carol and Rhodey is full of that dramatic irony tastiness. They don’t know each other, of course, but when Carol attempts to get answers on why he was there, she touches his hand. To her its a sign to him that she cares and is trustworthy. But to us, who know the previous narrative in which these two characters, or versions of these characters, had romance, that hand touch is full of romantic spark. Will they reconnect in that way in this reality? We can’t wait to find out!
Now that the Banshee Squad is set on figuring out what’s up in the sky, they are forever navigating who they can trust (besides each other) and how far. Rhodey needs a doctor, but calling in a medic would make the vulnerable. Carol goes to a medic she thinks she can trust, and Dr. Nayar does cover for her, at least temporarily, but the Banshees, especially Helen Cobb, want to act fast to mitigate the chance of their traitorous plans being discovered. Again, like in other versions of their story, Helen will openly question Carol’s choices, seeing herself as an equal, not a blind follower.
As the Banshees begin outfitting their planes for space flight, Carol visits the Baroness as a distraction. They play chess, and of course the game has metaphorical reverberations for the narrative at large. Baroness’s talk of the powerful queen (her, I assume), the symbolic power of the kind (Doom), and the ability to see the movements of the whole board make me question how much she knows about what Carol Corps is up to. Carol might be unbeatable in a fight, but the Baroness appears to be formidable in this game of secrets–and this is the Secret Wars, after all, so that might be to her advantage.
The final page brings all of these rising conflicts to a shocking head. One that, once again, swings the extra powerful punch through the help of dramatic irony.