Marvel Team-Up #4 Review

Marvel Team-Up 4 coverWritten by: Clint McElroy

Art by: Ig Guara

Colors by: Felipe Sobreiro

Letters by: VC’s Clayton Cowles

So, a Marvel Team-Up book that is literally a team-up between two Marvels? I can get into that, I suppose. Neither Ms nor Captain Marvel is exactly my favorite Marvel characters, but that’s okay. Two Marvels are probably better than one. Let’s find out how they get on…

WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD

The issue opens with a sequence at a Damage Control warehouse where a security guard named Paul is enjoying some Mall Cop-related banter with his wife. As extended gags go, this isn’t at all bad and the video call serves a dual role in briefly building up a bit of suspense/humor before our Blart-wannabe is knocked out by a bad guy whom I can’t help feeling shouldn’t have been revealed in the third panel. The subsequent page is played for laughs. The bad guy is told off not only for using violence but also for calling his superior ‘Captain’. The unseen mastermind of this heist would rather be called ‘Wastrel’. (I’m not sure I’d ever want to be called ‘wastrel’, to be honest. Perhaps his full name is Captain Poopyhead…) The scene ends with the unseen Captain/Wastrel asking the unfortunate security guard’s shocked wife if she knows where the ‘Kree stuff’ is kept. Well, I chuckled…

Marvel Team-Up 4 1Then, the story moves forward a few hours to show us Kamala and Carol investigating the break-in and theft. Apparently, other Damage Control warehouses have been raided in the last few days. There is a pattern forming here. This section is what a lot of comics are these days – overly wordy. The one good thing about it is that it actually presents Carol as, her correction of Mr. Copperthwaite (the Damage Control security supervisor) notwithstanding, a reasonably likable character. Her sense of responsibility towards Kamala is engaging and, for this somewhat jaded reader, rather touching.

Marvel Team-Up 4 2The resulting scene in which an undercover Carol has to persuade Kamala’s mum to unground her so that Ms. Marvel can help her crack the case is, again, rather engaging – not least because it presents the opportunity for a rare moment of vulnerability on Carol’s part. And Mrs. Khan is always a fun character. That said, although it’s arguably the best section of the book, it’s again just a little too verbose. While writer Clint McElroy does manage to insert an important flashback, the to-and-fro at the Khans’ dinner table arguably goes on too long.

It’s perhaps for this reason that the transition from the Khans’ house to the comic’s final action scene feels rushed, relying as it does on a handy MacGuffin that does away with the need for the Marvels to do any actual investigating. This wouldn’t be a massive problem if that final scene was exciting, but the fact that Carol spends most of the fight explaining to Kamala (and the reader) who (or what) they’re fighting makes the whole thing feel a bit like an exhibition match rather than something that matters. Mind you, there is that ending, which I won’t spoil here. What you make of it depends on how much you care about the character involved.

Marvel Team-Up 4 3Anyway, the issue ends with a big reveal which doesn’t have anywhere near as much impact as it should, because it forms the climax of a story which, despite one or two more serious moments, is too lightweight to deliver it effectively. That’s not to say there isn’t fun to be had here. If you have even only a passing interest in the two Marvels, the story is enjoyable enough. Kamala is a great character and here her most notable superpower is to make the character of Carol sympathetic and readable. Ig Guara’s art is serviceable but not really to my taste. His work on Rose has impressed me in the past, but there’s a somewhat rushed quality to his stuff here. The lack of backgrounds in the final fight scene, for example, only serves to accentuate the sense of its unreality and unimportance; arguably, Carol’s face is too angular at times – although I’ll readily concede that Guara conveys her emotions very well at the Khans’ dinner table.

Final Thoughts:

Although there is some heart in this issue, the story as a whole feels flimsy and lightweight; as a result, the final page reveal falls a bit flat. The relationship between Kamala and Carol is easily the best thing about this comic book, but it is not enough to make it more than just ‘okay’ as a reading experience.

 

5.5/10

 

 

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