Thursday, November 08, 2018

Book-A-Day 2018 #312: Captain Marvel: Earth's Mightiest Hero, Vol. 2 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and a whole bunch of other people

I don't hit corporate comics all that much here, in part because I like to read books, and the natural form of corporate comics is the weekly pamphlet. The point of Big Two superfolks is to read the Startling Revelations and Big Surprises and Amazing Comebacks at the same time as everyone else, and to know they're all coming because you also read Previews two months before.

In book form, that does not work quite as well.

But I basically liked the first collection of the Kelly Sue DeConnick-written Captain Marvel -- see my post on it from last month -- and my general rule is to try #2 if I liked #1.

Unfortunately, that #2 -- call it Captain Marvel: Earth's Mightiest Hero, Vol. 2, which is its name -- was infested with events, to such a degree that there was very little actual story and a whole lot of superheroes standing our in space watching a big war. (Yes. People in skin-tight costumes who are really good at punching are the front lines of a space war. The stupidity of superhero comics never ceases to amaze me.)

This book collects pieces of four different comics -- Avengers Assemble, Avengers: The Enemy Within, Avenging Spider-Man, and Cap's own book -- that form what are basically three completely separate stories, two of which are deeply stupid crossover events. (The third is a blatant attempt to be "relevant," which isn't quite as objectionable in context. There's also a single issue right in the middle that I guess is an epilogue to the first crossover.)

The first story might not have been officially An Event, and i don't know if it has an overall title. I guess we call it "The Enemy Within," after the one-shot, and it's the story in which Cap's Greatest Foe Returns Stronger Than Ever. That guy is Yon-Rogg -- he's from the '70s, when there were a lot of names that bad -- and he's the evil Kree whose plot the original (Marvel) Captain Marvel was foiling when Carol Danvers had the incident that turned her super. Ol' Yonny is now even more super himself, and has the usual complicated plot involving waking up long-dormant unstoppable war machines that no one previously mentioned, using them to conquer the Earth, and then remaking it in the image of his homeworld. All of the then-current Avengers emote and battle him, but it is, of course, up to Carol to make the Ultimate Sacrifice to defeat him.

No, not that Ultimate Sacrifice! She has to use her flying powers one more time, so the cancerous tumor in the special Kree third lobe of her brain grows so large that it forces her whole brain to reset, curing her cancer but removing all her memory. Well, supposedly removing all of her memory -- she can still fly and punch and speak English and use a spoon and knows who all the Avengers are even if she supposedly doesn't remember being their best buddy. So a soap-opera level of memory loss, as expected. (Please note that I am not making up one word of this.)

But that's lucky, since we don't have six months to spend in a nursing home re-learning how to stand up! It's time for the big crossover event of 2013, Infinity! In which all of the major spacefaring races of the Marvel Universe send huge battlefleets of gigantic starships to battle the usual super-ancient and super-powerful alien race that has never been mentioned before. Earth, of course, has no battlefleet, so they send individual people like Wolverine and Captain America and Spider-Woman and Hawkeye, whose powers clearly will be really useful against alien spaceships.

(Oh, and Captain Marvel, too, along with a handful of others who actually could do something. But, to make everyone else feel better, they seem to spend the whole storyline sitting in spaceships instead of flying at high speed through enemy warcraft and zapping them with energy beams from their hands.)

This was a gigantic crossover event, so what we get here is just snippets and moments -- though we do get the same sequence of events seen from two different points of view, just to underline how random the snippets and moments are. Eventually, mostly in comics not collected here, the crossover ended, and all of the pieces got put back in their boxes.

Last, we get a two-issue story in which Cap and Spider-Man fly a small plane to Boston for a reason so boring I'm not going to bother to try to remember, and run into the corporate-created manifestation of Occupy Wall Street (a spunky freckled teenager girl who will not shut up). Of course the Evil Bankers own her, and of course they have giant suits of power armor, because banks totally spend their money on things like that, and of course there's several big fights around landmarks it's easy to do photoreference for online. And of course any potential political points are lost in the punching.

(Oh, and in the middle -- but published last, I think, is an issue of Captain Marvel where she mopes a bit about losing her memory and then defeats a villain she just created through her brand-new I Am Spartacus power. I have no idea why issue 17 is reprinted her just before issues 15 and 16, but maybe that's just how Marvel works this decade: the numbers are made up, and the points don't matter.)

The first volume of Captain Marvel was solid superhero soap-opera, mostly focused on people and with a generally consistent art team. This one is a tangled mess, with art ranging from didn't-I-see-this-in-Youngblood-in-the-'90s to you-can-slice-cheese-with-those-cheekbones all the way to generic-modern-Marvel. I can't see that anyone who liked the first one would be happy with this one. The only thing they really have in common is that the main character is Carol Danvers and the writer is Kelly Sue DeConnick. I weep at the marketing and editorial departments that thought this -- any of this -- was a good idea.

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