Captain Marvel: Falling Star – Kelly Thompson, Carmen Carnero, Annapaola Martello & Tamra Bonvillain (Marvel)

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If, twenty four months ago, you’d asked me to name my top twenty costumed avengers, Carol Danvers wouldn’t have even come close to making the list. Ferris Bueller famously stated that, “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”, and since reading Margaret Stohl’s game changing  The Life of Captain Marvel I have been looking around, and I’ve been rabidly digesting every Captain Marvel book I can lay my hands on. Which brings us to Kelly Thompson, who picked up the baton after Stohl laid it down and not only ran with it, she damn near broke the land speed record.

Kelly Thompson transformed Carol Danvers into a believable, fully rounded, flawed human being who in between fighting her own demons and the same crippling sense of self-doubt and insecurities that plague ninety nine percent of humanity, also battles the demons that regularly threaten to wipe out all Earth based life. Carol feels real, and while there’s still a sense of mystery and awe surrounding her (which goes with the territory when you’re as near as near can be to being an omnipotent super-being), that pales in comparison to the fact that on Thompsons watch, you feel like you know Carol, like she’s one of your drinking buddies and the friend you pour your heart out to when your world gets turned upside down.   And while she’d be there to pick any of us up if we fell, in Falling Starit’s Carol who finds herself plunging into chaos after her safety net is yanked away.

Plagued by a strange illness and revelations about her private life being made uncomfortably public, for the duration of the story, Carol is on the back foot as she desperately attempts to find out who is trying to destroy everything that she is, and has built, and why. There’s plenty of action, lots of bruising combat and some delightful plot swerves that make you look left when you should really be looking the other way and while they help to drive the narrative, the super-heroics aren’t where the crux of this tale lies. What makes Falling Star a joy to read, apart from the fantastic dialogue and aside from the breath-taking art of Carnero and Martello, is Carol’s ongoing struggle with who she is and, ultimately, wants to be.

Falling Star is an incredibly intimate human story that revolves around the loss of identity and purpose and the near constant, internal struggle that Carol faces to prove that she’s worthy of her mantle. It questions the power of jealousy and its corruptive nature, the importance of image, how society views individuals and how that perception can be twisted around in mere seconds with just a few, carefully chosen words.  Intelligent, perceptive and wonderfully paced, Falling Star is the stuff that dreams are made of…  Tim Cundle

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