As the reviews continue, we move to a couple of Marvel's crimefighters who have had things go better than they did here. . .
Captain Marvel #2, by Kelly Sue DeConnick (writer), David Lopez (art), Lee Loughridge (colorist), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - Looking at the one bag slung over her shoulder there, I can't help thinking Carol brought about as much stuff for this stint in outer space as a little kid does when they fake run away from home.
Carol's scarcely reached space, and her ship is already under attack by mercenaries. At least these are careful mercs, who will only try and kill Avengers if they're getting paid appropriately for it. Of course, then there's the fact their employer is willing and able to foot the bill. And Carol's piloting a ship she clearly didn't read the manual for. And she brought her cat, though that's the cat's fault, to the extent you can fault a cat for being a jerk, which is merely its essential nature. Anyway, the Guardians of the Galaxy show up, and I'm not sure whether this was a prearranged meeting spot, or one of those remarkable coincidences you see in stories set in space, where despite the vastness of the area involved, people always wind up in the same place at the same time.
The heroes compare notes, and Rocket flips out over the presence of the cat, which he insists is a "flerken", something that lays eggs, and which Rocket hates. in the midst of that dumbassery, a stray shot releases Carol's cargo/prisoner/passenger, the young green girl who came to Earth last issue, named Tic. She is a little groggy, and apparently hates the Spartoi, Spartax, whatever the race of people Star-Lord's dad is from are called. So seeing Star-Lord makes her a little angry, and she steals Carol's ship - and her cat. And Carol , rather than ride along in the Guardians' ship, decides to try flying after her under her own power.
When I write it all out like that, everyone sounds kind of stupid. I mean, it's isn't Carol's fault. She's never heard of flerkens, she didn't know the Spartoi are the ones Tic considers responsible for the fate of her people, and may not have even known Star-Lord was half-Spartoi. Even so, it's all a little slapstick, characters rushing about quickly without thinking anything through first. Not unusual for Carol, necessarily, but not the best way to proceed on unknown ground.
Lopez and Loughridge's work is a high point, though. I mean, I don't love Star-Lord's current look, or Rocket's much more fierce look, but that's out of L & L's hands. And yes, raccoons can be pretty nasty and vicious, and they have some teeth on them, but I prefer Rocket to look sort of cuddly and approachable. It makes how dangerous he is more of a surprise, and it makes sense in his original origin if he was designed to help treat patients, that he would have a form that puts people at ease. Again, nothing Lopez or Loughridge can do there, blame it on, I guess Bendis and McNiven, or the movie studios. Something like that. Lopez continues to ink his own work, which continues to make it look different from how I'd grown accustomed to. It's a little simplified, but it works well. He gave Drax this big, goofy grin which amuses me, even if it raises the question in my mind whether or not Drax is back to being brain-damaged, as he was for most of the '90s.
Hawkeye #18, by Matt Fraction & Annie Wu (storytellers), Matt Hollingsworth (color art), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer) - I got nothin' for this cover, other than this consistent theme Aja's using is wearing a little thin.
Kate's cat-food aisle mentor turns out to be a former crime writer who has desperately wanted to leave L.A. for 20 years. He saw something related to harvesting body parts in the mansion of Count Nefaria (and his daughter, Madame Masque), and now they won't let him leave. But he's determined to try, in spite of the ass-beatings, and Kate's determined to help. All that leads to is the writer - named Harold H. Harold - hanging dead from the Hollywood sign with one of Kate's arrows in his chest, a memento of her botched attempt to rescue him. Oh, and now Masque is determined to never let Kate leave L.A., and she burned down the trailer. At least the pets survived, and Grumpy Cop was a friend of Harold's, so that might work in Kate's favor (or not, depending on how he takes that arrow at the crime scene). And Kate knows there's a hit out on Clint, so I imagine she'll be testing Masque's ability to stop her very soon.
Was keeping Harold in L.A. strictly a power move, simply to show they could? He didn't give any indication he was planning to blow the whistle on them, so did it matter where he went? If it was strictly to show off their reach, then that's fine, I just didn't understand it. Does it make him look crazy if he tries to tell people what's going on, when he complains that bellhops beat him up every time he tries to leave? I don't know, I get the feeling Fraction's referencing something here, and I'm missing it entirely. I felt that about a lot of things in this issue. The name, "Harold H. Harold", for one. I'm guessing the initials being "HHH" is not a pro-wrestling reference. It doesn't make it a bad story - I'm appreciating Kate's continued attempts to actually do something, unlike Mopey Barton, while also appreciating that she's not doing a fantastic job at, because her constant arrogance was really irritating - but I feel like there's an entire level of it I don't see.
Wu and Hollingsworth are still doing good work. I like the deep blue that shades to black that's around Kate almost constantly, especially when they contrast it at the start with her riding her bike to the store with her little headlamp. She's traveling through a dark realm, and she can only see part of what's in front of her (Harold being in trouble), and none of what's to the side (her being in trouble) or behind (Clint being in trouble). Also, Wu simplified her style for Nefaria and Masque. Fewer lines, thicker lines, less busy looking overall. I mean, Nefaria has fewer lines on his face than Kate, and he's probably 4 times her age. It makes them stand apart a little, which figures since they've made themselves different. Although, the idea of them harvesting body parts, that's a new thing, right? I mostly know Nefaria as the ionic-powered badass that beat entire teams of Avengers, and just wanted to return things to the way they were, with him as a properly-deferred to aristocrat. And Masque was a crazy paranoid who built android/cyborg copies of herself. Which isn't too far off, I guess. Gotta get spare parts from somewhere.