Like Tony Stark, I’ve always had a fractious relationship with Carol Danvers. Unlike Tony though, I didn’t have to nearly die to reconcile my differences with Captain Marvel. My difficult past with the character was finally resolved when I read Margaret Stohl’s The Life of Captain Marvel. That book changed everything I thought I knew about Carol. It made me see her as a person first and a hero second as, during the course of her incredibly personal story, Stohl explained so much of who Carol was, and is, and why she does what she does that I couldn’t help but see her in a different light. I couldn’t help becoming a fan. Carol’s life was laid bare, taken back to basics and in the process she became, in my mind at least, the hero that she was always meant to be. And now that Carol has returned to Earth, Kelly Thompson has picked up where Margaret Stohl left off and has continued Captain Marvel’s personal evolution. Having escaped the two dimensional chrysalis that she was previously trapped in, Carol is, guided by the incredibly skilled hand of Kelly Thompson, slowly transforming into a deliciously complex and complicated character driven by duty, honour and purpose who is also beset by the same worries, doubts and fears as those she has elected to protect.
Throwing Carol in at the deep end, Thompson’s initial foray in shaping the Earth bound destiny of Captain Marvel sees the most powerful hero in the Marvel Universe lured, along with some of her most trusted comrades in do-gooding, to Roosevelt Island which has been transformed into a prison for women by the lunatic, misogynistic throwback to the nineteenth century Nuclear Man. Honestly, every single time this villain opens his mouth to utter another hate filled diatribe, you just want Carol to break his jaw and pound him into nothing – which is almost certainly what Thompson intended. After all, how do you make your hero even more special? You give her the most loathsome enemy possible to fight, which is exactly what Thompson does. By the time I was halfway through the book, I was hoping that Carol would serve up the beat-down of the decade to Nuclear man, and let’s just say that I wasn’t disappointed by the satisfying, and entirely in keeping with the spirit of book, ending.
There is, of course, far more to Re-Entry than the chauvinist captures women to do his bidding plot as it also imaginatively and intelligently documents its hero attempting to, and mostly succeeding in, returning to her old life and trying to put the pieces that she left behind back together with a whole load of luck and optimism. Razor sharp, furiously paced, built around the kind of to die for dialogue and characterisation that most authors wish they were capable of writing and looking like a million dollars thanks to the dynamic artistic duo of Caren Carnero and Tamra Bonvillain, Re-Entry catapults Captain Marvel straight to the top of the four colour A-List. Welcome home Carol… Tim Cundle