*Ties in with the Secret Empire Crossover
So, as one might expect with the big Marvel summer event, crossovers for Secret Empire are absolutely everywhere. Among the books that are getting a fat helping of the Nick Spencer flagship story is Margaret Stohl's The Mighty Captain Marvel.
This isn't too surprising given that Colonel Carol Danvers has been positioned as one of the Marvel headliners since the beginning of All-New, All-Different Marvel and even more so since Civil War II (probably being done partly to promote the character before her movie comes out in a couple of years). I'm not complaining personally, as I am quite a fan of Carol Danvers, especially since she has taken the title of Captain Marvel. She's a take-charge and headstrong hero who is still capable of sympathizing with others. She's got a cool power set and a great costume. If Captain Marvel is an A-List Marvel mainstay for years to come, I'll be a happy camper.
This story, which takes place before Secret Empire #0, has Captain Marvel enlisting a trio of young cadets into the Alpha Flight program, as she expects that they will need some fresh blood with the Chitauri invasion on the cosmic horizon. While she is putting them through a rough training regimen called "The Blood Shed," the Guardians of the Galaxy arrive to warn Captain Marvel and Alpha Flight that the Chitauri are near. The Ultimates, along with Hyperion and the new Quasar, assemble to Carol's aid as well. From here, the events follow the space end of things from Secret Empire #0, with the arrival of the Chitauri, the failure of the planetary shield to activate, and the sudden activation in the midst of the Chitauri attack which prevents Captain Marvel, Alpha Flight, the Ultimates, and the Guardians of the Galaxy from returning to Earth.
This is an entertaining enough story, showing what Captain Marvel and Alpha Flight were doing in the prelude to the Chitauri invasion and the takeover of the Secret Empire. It doesn't waste the space in regards to Carol Danvers' own story, introducing a new batch of characters with the new cadets, all of which have fairly unique personalities of their own (even if a part of each personality is largely made up of snarkiness).
There is also a development in regards to Captain Marvel's recent Hulk-like transformations which has been a threat to her cohorts in recent issues. One of the space station's scientists designs some sort of kill-switch to shut down the transformation, though it could prove lethal to Carol herself.
The Chitauri invasion itself is nothing you haven't seen in Secret Empire itself, with a hopeless battle being exacerbated by the treacherous leader back on Earth. The combat sequence is brief but pretty cool. The nice addition this story adds to the end of the initial battle with the Chitauri is an ending scene where Captain Marvel promises vengeance upon Steve Rogers should she ever make it back to earth. I like a nice slice of righteous vengeance in my comics.
Michele Bandini's art is very good. It has a nicely stylized cartoonish aesthetic which fits the overall lighter tone of this series. There is a nice amount of depth in the details, and Michael Garland and Erick Arciniega's colors are visually very pleasing. There is a nice gloss to the costumes that really adds to the look.
That being said, if you've read Secret Empire #0, you've already read at least half of this book. If you're wanting and addition to that story, you're not going to get much out of this tie-in. However, if you're more interested in the ongoing story of Carol Danvers, you will get some enjoyment out of this book. It's still a pleasant read, even if it won't necessarily blow your mind.