Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Avengers: The Enemy Within by Kelly Sue DeConnick

Avengers: The Enemy Within by Kelly Sue DeConnick is the third volume of Captain Marvel collected issues. It's a crossover event, though, so it collects Avengers: Enemy Within #1, Captain Marvel #13, Avengers Assemble #16, Captain Marvel #14, Avengers Assemble #17, and Captain Marvel #17 in that order (and yes, that's skipping two issues of Captain Marvel which are apparently collected in an . Because comics weren't confusing enough. The story follows on directly from Captain Marvel Vol 2: Down, which I have reviewed here.

Vicious echoes of the Avengers' past are cropping up all over Manhattan...but Captain Marvel, grounded since a recent and mysterious power loss, refuses to be left behind. Who is the sinister figure behind these incursions, and what does it have to do with Carol Danvers' mysterious condition? And the most disturbing question of all...is this villain even real? Or just a figment of Captain Marvel's increasingly deadly imagination? Be here as Carol Danvers demonstrates that you just can't keep a good Captain down!

There is kind of a gap between the last two issues collected here, which is probably not surprising since there are indeed two missing issues. It really felt like it jumped between those two and I really wanted to know what happened in the interim. So I got myself a Marvel Unlimited subscription to find out. This review includes all the remaining issues of the 2012 Captain Marvel run and also Avengers Assemble #18 because that helped explain WTF once the Infinity event struck and messed everything up. (This is the point at which I realised the whole purpose of Marvel comics is to trick you into buying/reading more Marvel comics. And also, events are silly.)

Anyway. The story in The Enemy Within follows on from everything that was set up in the first two volumes of this run. I was actually surprised at how much it all tied together, particularly with the latter part of Down, which I suppose isn't that surprising. It also harked back to events in In Pursuit of Flight, which probably shouldn't surprise me since both were connected to the origin story of Carol's powers. It continued the somewhat heavy tone from Down and culminated in a pretty epic series of battles for the Avengers and a very significant stand-off for Captain Marvel herself. It was also my first introduction to Wasp who I now want to know more about. She can line up behind Spider-Woman.

The two-part story in issues #15 and #16 (or three-part story if you count Avengers Assemble #18 which I thought really helped with the context) is set entirely during the Infinity event which involves Builders (aliens) trying to kill everyone. There wasn't a huge amount of character growth for Carol in it (but a non-zero amount) but it did give some context for the references to the Builders which crop up in the later run of Captain Marvel. It was basically fighting aliens in space. About what you'd expect. (And for the record, Avengers Assemble #19 tells Spider-Woman's side of the story during Captain Marvel #16.) It doesn't tie in very strongly with Issue #17, so I can see why they left it out of the main collected edition (the two issues are apparently in Infinity Companion, though). It did make me feel like the event ruined the flow of the story a bit, which I suppose is also why it was left out of the collected volume... but I'm a completist.

Issue #17 takes us back to the Captain Marvel we've come to know and love. In a longer-than-usual issue, we see her struggling to re-learn her lost memories, hanging out with Kit, her biggest fan, and worrying about where to live after the earlier events in the volume. This is also when she moves into the Statue of Liberty as we see in the later volumes. It was a nice little story to round out the volume, and happier note to end on.

Obviously if you're a fan of Captain Marvel, I definitely recommend getting your hands on this volume. It completes an unfinished story and brings more of the Avengers into the story of Captain Marvel, if that's your sort of thing. It deals with some heavy issues, much more so than the later books if those are all you've read. Also, I wouldn't particularly recommend reading this volume without reading In Pursuit of Flight and Down first.

4 / 5 stars

First published: 2013, Marvel
Series: Captain Marvel, Volume 3 of 3 before the soft reboot of 2014.
Format read: Digital
Source: Marvel Unlimited, because I couldn't wait for the out-of-stock trade to arrive

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