Mere months after Kelly Thompson’s epic run reached its conclusion, Carol Danvers has returned with a new look, a new enemy, and even a new sorta sidekick in the latest volume of Captain Marvel. Last month’s debut introduced The Omen, a shadowy Deathbird-esque figure who is after the nega-bands, the powerful wrist gauntlets once worn by Mar-Vell, and isn’t afraid to kill in order to obtain them. In order to keep the bands safe, Carol is forced to team-up with teenage thief Yuna Yang, whose use of the bands forces the unlikely pair to swap places whenever they’re used.
This month’s issue finds Carol stuck in the Negative Zone, working with Yuna back on Earth to strengthen their psychic bond, while the latter attempts some sense of normalcy by resuming her college classes. With Yuna in possession of the nega-bands, her school soon becomes the target of The Omen’s new errand boy, the recently killed and even more recently resurrected Genis-Vell. Soon, bands are clanged, bodies are swapped, and fists go flying as one Captain Marvel fights another and Yuna finds herself in even more over-her-head than before.
After a less-than-stellar first chapter (I was not a fun, however my colleague enjoyed it and you can check out his review of Issue One here) the current volume of Captain Marvel finds its footing as writer Alyssa Wong delivers an excellent second issue that improves on the previous in nearly every way. The dynamic between Carol and Yuna still feels awkward but in a much more endearing way than how it started. Their whole mental-connection, body-swap thing feels less like an MCU tie-in and more like a send-up of classic hero/secret identity tropes, with Yuna playing Donald Blake to Carol’s Thor or perhaps more appropriately Billy Bateson to, um…Captain Marvel? Carol’s reluctant sidekick gets a little more development (and a potential love interest) as we see the toll her new relationship takes on her life. Wong’s handling of Carol herself has greatly improved, with her voice and attitude better matching the A-list hero we all know and love.
In addition to the writing and pacing, the art by Jan Bazaldua is significantly improved over the previous issue. Bazaldua’ s manga influence is obvious without being distracting and her layouts work to tell the story just as well as Wong’s script. A few panels in particular provide more insight into Yuna’s feelings than several caption boxes could convey. The only downside to the character designs is that Yuna’s wardrobe screams “weird Psylocke cosplay” rather than something functional for a college student/magical artifact stealer. Much like their two leads, however, the creative team has managed to forge a solid dynamic that will no doubt get better as their story continues.