Comic Book Review: Captain Marvel #11
In Captain Marvel #11, the holiday spirit is still going strong with Part Two of “A Christmas Carol.” In this issue, Carol Danvers returns to Earth from her adventures in space to visit her friend Tracy Burke in the hospital. Meanwhile, super-villain Grace Valentine shows up looking to battle. All this, plus Lila Cheney versus last-minute holiday shopping! This is a delightful story you should read every holiday with a mug of warm cocoa and Christmas carols playing in the background.
Right away you feel the magic of New York City in December with the opening splash page of Carol and Lila materializing in Times Square. The angle of the shot makes Captain Marvel appear to loom as tall as the skyscrapers, and both her powers and the lights from the buildings cast a warm glow into the dark night as snowflakes fall around them. Also, when Carol changes into her civilian clothes, the pin on her hat of the Empire State Building is a nice touch. Artist David Lopez and colorist Lee Loughridge bring their A-game on this issue, from the beginning to the striking and emotionally powerful end.
The scene with Carol at the hospital with Tracy is very touching, and as Carol recounts her adventures you sense how Carol feels torn between a thrilling life among the stars and the people she cares about on Earth. Tracy means so much to Carol that she’s ready to drop everything and run home to see her, but Carol’s not done with space yet. Kelly Sue DeConnick’s writing captures the emotional complexity of this scene well, especially when the nurse mistakes Carol for Tracy’s daughter, and Lopez’s art communicates Carol’s emotions with eloquence.
The fight scene at the centerpiece of this issue is a thrilling display of Carol’s abilities. We usually see Captain Marvel flying through space with fists glowing with power, but this issue reminds readers that Carol also has the agility and fighting prowess to hold her own in a good old-fashioned brawl. The panel sequences do an excellent job of clearly conveying how Carol uses her environment to gain an upper hand, and Loughridge’s color work creates a great moody and foreboding atmosphere. The resolution of the fight strains the reader’s suspension of disbelief a bit, but since this is a Christmas story (and, well, a superhero comic), a little holiday magic isn’t out of place. Whether or not you believe in Santa Claus, you sure as hell are going to believe in Captain Marvel.
Captain Marvel #11 is a fun story full of holiday spirit that explores one of Carol’s most meaningful friendships. Also, in the knockout fight between Captain Marvel and Grace Valentine, we learn a very important lesson: do not mess with Captain Marvel, especially when she’s visiting a friend in the hospital, because you will not win—and you’ll definitely end up on Santa’s naughty list. Captain Marvel lights up the night sky like the Christmas star, and this issue is definitely a bright spot on the comic shelves.