Review: Essential Captain Marvel Vol.1

The Essential Captain Marvel collects the first two attempts by Marvel to utilize the trademark they were able to nab from Fawcett.  

The first try, while interesting at times, is pretty much as bad as it sounds given its reason for existence.  In these issues Mar-Vell (yes that’s his name) is an alien scout for a race that may want to conquer the Earth, but who winds up sympathizing with the human race.  The first few issues by Roy Thomas work out OK with the concept (Gene Colan’s art helps a lot), but then Arnold Drake takes over and has no idea what to do with the character.  He shifts things into slightly more traditional superhero fare, but can’t quite jettison enough of the book’s origins to allow it to make any sense.  

Which brings about the character’s first revamp, thanks to Roy Thomas (again) and the amazing Gil Kane on art.  This time everything that made the character somewhat unique is discarded in favor of creating a totally a standard superhero comic.  Mar-Vell even gets saddled with perennial sidekick Rick Jones in order to make things seem even more derivative.  But there is Gil Kane so it’s not all bad.

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