There is a very good character story in this issue, with relationships being expanded and really great moments of emotional honesty. Unfortunately, those wonderful elements are smothered under the tedium and pointlessness of a crossover slugfest with so little resonance that its resolution happens off-panel.
Carol Danvers, the titular character, has teamed up with her sometimes love interest War Machine, troubled young heroine Hazmat, and the fist-swinging single mom superhero Spider-Woman. Empowered by the united space empires of the Kree and the Skulls, she has split something called the Universal Weapon (a big honking space weapon hammer). Between the four of them to come to earth to beat up the Cotati, a vegetation-based race intent on wiping out mammal-based life. Along the way, Captain Marvel fights alongside her She-Hulk proportioned "sister," the genetically engineered Lauri-Ell. The latter is trying to save Danvers' juvenile neighbor Kit from the same aforementioned Cotati.
The good stuff is based on the characters. The interplay between heroes and the simple goodness of Lauri-Ell all connect really well. Kelly Thompson's script does a fantastic job of making the character's voices distinctive and enjoyable. Likewise, there is a simply amazing section near the end with the two siblings that's a wonderful set of dialogue and art.
Speaking of artwork, the visual storytelling from Cory Smith, Adriano di Benedetto, Tamra Bonvillain, and Clayton Cowles makes both fight scenes and a surprised sip of coffee equally enjoyable. That combined with strong, clear visuals, distinct coloring, and managing a mountain of dialogue with lettering that doesn't obscure anything.
Unfortunately, the threat of the Cotati is less memorable than any ninja that crossed blades with Wolverine or Snake-Eyes or Donatello. Just a big visual blotch of angry green arms and torsos, there is literally nothing memorable about the antagonists herein. As such, that lack of a credible threat (like, there may not be a single line of Cotati dialogue here) robbed the good stuff of impact. Once this crossover nonsense is over, maybe these brilliant elements can be applied to new, interesting stories. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Captain Marvel #21
KELLY THOMPSON (W) • CORY SMITH (A)
Cover by JORGE MOLINA
A CAPTAIN'S LEGACY — THE ACCUSED FINALE!
The rise and fall of the Supreme Accuser. The end of a war, the end of an ERA…and the birth of an even more dangerous world. Carol Danvers must make a choice that will define her life and the lives of those closest to her.