06th Mar2020

‘Captain Marvel: Cosmic CAT-tastrophe’ Graphic Novel Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Sam Maggs | Art by Sweeney Boo | Published by IDW Publishing / Marvel Comics


I must confess that when this book first came across my desk, I thought it was Marvel’s attempt to jump on DC’s bandwagon. DC have been producing a very good series of Young Adult (12-16) and Middle Grade (8-12) level books, several of which I have reviewed, and proving there is a market there, and that holy grail, a predominantly female market at that. Marvel, though, have tried attracting younger readers for some time, with their Star Comics line way back when, and the more recent Marvel Adventures all ages books, which were also surprisingly decent reads. The Marvel Action line, however, is a collaboration between Marvel Comics and IDW, which I guess means Marvel licenses over their characters, IDW do all the creative work, and then Marvel get final editorial approval. Comic book collaborations are good, we like those.

From what I can see, Captain Marvel is the first female character to get a shot. The Avengers, Hulk, Spider-Man, all the traditional big guns are up and running, so Carol Danvers is in esteemed company. She’s a good choice, with the recent cinematic exposure, and it was always a choice between her and Black Widow, right? Widow is a little more YA than Middle Grade though…Before diving into the review, it’s good to remember these are aimed at young audiences, so completely out of continuity, and the characters are usually younger versions. For what it’s worth, my daughter loves the Marvel movies and loved this book, so there is clearly room for different interpretations of these characters to co-exist. More for all.

It’s a girls night in, with Carol and best mate Jessica Drew (yep, Spider-Woman Jessica Drew), and Chewie, the ‘he has a pocket dimension and tentacles in his mouth’ pet ‘cat’. Speaking of cats, it seems there’s been a mass invasion of them in the local area, and Carol decides to investigate, just in case they are, like Chewie, Flerkins. After a couple of run-ins with some odd people, Marvel’s Cat-Man anyone, Carol realises these are indeed Flerkins. Which is very odd, as they shouldn’t be anywhere near Earth and are, anyway, endangered. Sure they look cute, but have plenty of catitude. And very, very long tentacles. Still, Carol’s Captain Marvel, and she can sort all this out easy enough. As soon as that Flerkin that just swallowed her spits her out of course.

Covered in cat saliva, lovely, Carol manages to escape. Sort of. She finds herself a long way from Earth, seemingly transported to a Flerkin craft of some sort. Or is it? There are a ton of Flerkins everywhere, but all strangely oblivious to Carol’s presence. Someone is using the Flerkins it seems, and that someone is the Kree. Yep, everyone’s favourite militaristic space empire is up to no good again, weaponising the Flerkins to eat their way across planets to then allow the Kree to occupy them. Even Carol may need some help with this one, and while she’s hooked on that feeling, everyone’s favourite space pirates the Guardians of the Galaxy arrive, with Spider-Woman along for the ride. I smell a team up.

Team up is what we get, and exactly the one you would expect. A fist swinging, quip tossing rumble through the Kree/ Flerkin ship, as Rocket, Gamorra, Groot, Drax and Star-Lord help Carol save the Universe from the Kree and their co-opted furry assistants. It all wraps up nicely, and Carol and Jess finish up the epilogue by resuming their interrupted girls night in. Well, they nearly do. There’s the small matter of a pterodactyl heading towards Avengers Tower…but that’s a story for another time.

As an all ages book, this is excellent. It’s funny, yes, but has some good guest stars, good villains, and a smart story too. The dialogue is very funny, Sam Maggs captures Carol’s inner voice especially really well, and the pacing is perfect, your attention is kept all the way through. The art, though not my usual taste, is perfect for this story, the light and fun script translating well to the cartoony art style. Sweeney Boo paces out her layouts really well, and there are plenty of nice big panels and splashes to grab the attention. I really enjoyed it, but I could see Middle-Graders absolutely loving it.

Marvel and IDW should be commended for really trying hard with this line, to try and give younger readers characters to enjoy and identify with. If all the books are of this standard, they should have a loyal fan base in no time.

This one, though. Marvellous.

**** 4/5


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