Brian Reed seems like a writer destined for big things. From a fairly slow start as Bendis’ collaborator on Spider-Woman: Origin, he’s secured himself a place in Marvel’s ranks via the superb New Avengers: Illuminati and solid work on almost two year’s worth of Ms. Marvel comics. His latest challenge is something of an uphill struggle, however, as he inherits the current, messy status of Captain Marvel, as established during Civil War and then kicked quietly into the background while they tried to figure out what the hell was going on.
Reed does make a fair attempt at this. He creates a solid mystery regarding Marv’s amnesia – presumably related to why he arrived in the future at all – and quickly starts to build a supporting cast. A sub-plot regarding some pseudo-religious types called “The Brotherhood of Hala” doesn’t quite work for me, largely because I’m sick of seeing these kind of cults springing up all over the place. It simply feels played out to see yet another bunch of mindless fanatical robe-wearing brainwashed automatons doing the bidding of their conspiratorial masters, and I say that as a fairly staunch atheist. Perhaps it’s going somewhere good, but I’m not entirely sure whether to trust it or not.
Overall, we get a fairly ponderous reboot to the Captain Marvel story, ending with his re-introduction to society at large. I consider myself one of the few remaining Captain Marvel fans out there, and even I’m not sure he’s worth re-visiting in this manner. Marv’s frustration at knowing he’s going to die, not in battle, but of cancer, makes for some good material, but it can never be as good as the frustrations shown on his death bed in the graphic novel where he originally died. It’s good to see Lee Weeks on art duty, but he seems slightly mismatched. He’d make for a good Daredevil artist, certainly, but a character like Captain Marvel feels like it requires something a bit more striking than Weeks’ subtler style allows.