The Essential Guide to Captain Marvel – Various (Marvel Select / Panini Magazines)

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With the world about to go Captain Marvel shaped, it’s probably a good time for the folks on the fringe of the Marvel Universe to catch up on all things Carol Danvers. That’s where The Essential Guide to Captain Marvel comes in. It’s a quick, easy to read, fun guide to the history and mythology of Captain Marvel that goes into a surprising amount of depth, but never feels like it’s drowning you in needless exposition or too much information. Unusually, for a go to superhero guide, it doesn’t spend a lot of time focussing on Captain Marvel’s origin story, which makes for a peasant and refreshing change and instead gets stuck straight into some of Carol’s greatest adventures and exploits.

Featuring her first showdown with Ronan, her discovery of a sentient race of lizard people and the resultant fallout, the time she adopted a new identity and became Binary, her team-up with Rocket to save her cat (who isn’t really a cat at al)l from HP Lovecraft’s worst cosmic nightmares and the story of how she finally became Captain Marvel, each of the included tales provides an insight into Carol’s character and showcases the Captain doing what she does best. Using her incredible power wisely and carefully and while they’re not the stories that I’d have chosen or immediately pop into my head when I think about Carol Danvers, they do exactly what they’re supposed to in grand style. They introduce Captain Marvel to the world.

As well as some of Carol’s finest four colour moments, The Essential Guide to Captain Marvel includes a history of the character from her first appearance as Mar-Vell’s “sidekick” at the tail end of the sixties right up to the present day and a series of brief interviews with some of the artists and writers responsible for shaping the Captain’s destiny.  Carol Danvers is about to take over the world and The Essential Guide to Captain Marvel  is the best way to find out everything you need to, and should, know about her before she does.  Captain Marvel 101…  Tim Cundle

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