Release the Quirky-Cute!

I was a little punchy when I wrote this review.

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Originally published at Newsarama

Captain Marvel #8
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by Marcio Takara and Lee Loughridge
Lettering by Joe Caramagna
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by Lilith Wood
Rating: 8 out of 10

Whether you love cats or find them unsettling, you’ll appreciate how Kelly Sue DeConnick turns a running gag into its own clever storyline in Captain Marvel #8. The action heats up and the visuals get more bodacious in this issue, which is the second-half of a set piece show-casing guest artist Marcio Takara. DeConnick and Takara release the quirky-cute, along with some risky space business, some beautifully gross anatomy, and a few tugs on the heart strings. This fun but poignant issue advances the character development of Carol Danvers and friends, and positions the story to go anywhere from here.

In Captain Marvel #8, the word count falls after the previous issue’s quieter, more conversational introduction to Takara’s art. The two-issue arc began with DeConnick taking Carol down a peg or two with nightmares, the inconveniences of transit on a borrowed ship, and three insubordinate companions (including her cat, Chewie). Things start to get wild when Rocket turns out to be right about Chewie actually being a rare animal called a flerken. At the beginning of Issue #8, Chewie has lain eggs, and some unsavory parties are descending on Carol’s ship looking for a good deal on flerken.

DeConnick has the confidence to make playful storytelling decisions, but she keeps things smooth and continuous for readers. This flerken set-piece accommodates a guest artist well, and reaffirms my impression of DeConnick as the curator of the Captain Marvel experience. Regular artists need to take a break, but sometimes it feels like editorial teams don’t respect the destructive power of the guest artist issue. DeConnick provides an illuminating little detour that is its own discrete unit and sets David Lopez up well to come back in for a fresh arc.

Takara was a good choice to fill in for David Lopez. His art is distinct enough to give readers a taste of something new, but they won’t have the jarring feeling that they’ve become part of a social science experiment. Like DeConnick, Takara seems to understand how to support whimsy with structure. His lines are loose but economical, spontaneous-feeling but intentional-looking. His clean, intuitive art leaves a lot of the definition work to colorist Lee Loughridge, and lets DeConnick’s writing round out the emotional tone. In Captain Marvel #7, Takara showed he can make a subdued issue beautiful. In Captain Marvel #8, he gets to go crazy on some floaty space goo, Chewie’s freaky auto-evisceration abilities, and of course some Captain Marvel pyrotechnics.

DeConnick and Takara make this issue funny and rambunctious enough to provide cover for the sweet, heartfelt parts. Carol tries to make wise decisions, but circumstances force her to learn from the young Tic, the obnoxious Rocket, and even her own stubborn cat. The isolation of Carol in space with a small assemblage of other oddballs has given us a chance to know her better. The fact that she alternately grows and is humbled is a large part of why this Captain Marvel continues to be so beloved. New readers jumping on here will be just in time to get excited for whatever’s next.

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