Captain Marvel nearly dies in space after attempting to save a team of her fellow Avengers, but having approached a singularity, discovers her cosmic Binary powers have returned. She uses these enhanced abilities to combat her enemies, The Builders, but ultimately gets captured along with her allies.
Her captors are fascinated by her hybrid, half-Kree, half-human nature. She gets taken aboard the bridge of the alien ship and is questioned as to how four special heroes have come to join the Earth-based Avengers: Starbrand, Abyss, Nightmask and especially Captain Universe. It turns out that all of them have ties to The Builders. She then witnesses one of Earth’s supposed allies, the Spartax, attempt to sell out the Galactic Counsel and the Earth. The Builders aren’t interested, but keep the representative talking long enough to discover his location and that of the rest of the Counsel.
Carol is then returned to her holding cell and she, along with Hawkeye, Sunspot and Cannonball and must figure out how to stop their enemies.
I’ll start with the art. Patrick Olliffe’s pencils are a little too crude for me. The action scenes have a lot of energy and a nice flow to them, but this issue featured a lot of non-action scenes and it’s there that things look awkward.
As for the writing, this was my least favorite issue of this series so far. I squarely blame that on this book having to be shoehorned into the ‘Infinity’ miniseries. Too much of what made this book enjoyable, the supporting cast and the fresh dialogue, are eschewed in favor of too many super heroes and aggravating, made-up comic book technobabble and alien speak. The only conversation I enjoyed was a playful back-and-forth with Spider-Woman, previously established as one of Carol’s oldest friends.
Speaking of all those heroes, it was already sort of odd that last issue, Captain Marvel was paired up with Hawkeye to lead their team. This issue, the heroes are rescued by a group of heroes including Shang-Chi and Black Widow and as soon as I saw them, I wondered “Why are they even there?” meaning “Why would they take a bunch of spy-like characters with no powers on a space mission against insanely powerful alien gods?” I’d think they’d be a liability. But they’re there, nonetheless.
I’m not reading ‘Infinity’ so I was more than a little lost by this whole issue. The alien bad guys are referred to as The Builders, but in a couple of places Carol refers to them as Alephs. I don’t know what the difference is. And along those lines, there’s no attempt to explain who some of the newer Avengers are, so you have to have read that series too in order to really comprehend their importance.
This is the worst example I can think of, of a crossover miniseries simply crippling an ongoing title. The crispness of the usual book is nearly absent as the lead character is saddled with poorly defined alien marauders. The book is weighted down with clunky, hard to read dialogue and too many other characters. Sadly, as a big a champion of this character and the series as a whole, I don’t recommend this issue at all. Thankfully, it looks like next issue takes things back to normal.
CAPTAIN MARVEL #16
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Jen Van Meter
Pencils by Patrick Olliffe
Cover by Joe Quinones