Writer: Peter David
Art: Juanan Ramirez and Federico Blee
Letters: VC’s Ariana Maher
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: July 27th, 2022
Genis-Vell (don’t call him Genny, it’s a girl’s name), Rick Jones, and Marlo are all back in Genis-Vell Captain Marvel #1, a sometimes confusing debut issue focusing on Genis-Vell and Rick trying to find Marlo. Along the way, we get a new alien menace, some mind trips with Rick, and the return of a MAJOR Marvel villain.
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Genis-Vell Captain Marvel #1 jumps between time periods and locations at a dizzying rate. For the first half of the issue, my brain was jumbled from the leaps from “Now…” to “Deep Space. Then…” to “New York City. Now…” back to “Then”(which, this time, is in a different location in space). Combine this with Rick talking with Genis-Vell inside his head (due to the Nega Bands allowing only one of them to have physical form at a time), and I was reaching for a Costco-sized bottle of Advil.
As I was chugging Advil like M&Ms, I found that I liked Genis-Vell and Rick the LEAST of all the characters in the book. When Moondragon appears briefly, she shines, drawn in a white costume with gold fringe that’s the best outfit I’ve seen her in years. Peter David writes her like a combination of Mister Spock and Doctor Strange, haughty, mystical, and a woman of few words. I hope we get more of her next issue because she’s mostly used here as a plot convenience.
Marlo, captured by a bizarre alien, shines here as well. She’s tough, whimsical, and has some great scenes where she fights back against her captor. Her captor is a great character also, reminding me of a cross between Jabba the Hut and the Caterpillar from “Alice in Wonderland” (sadly without the Hookah). The interplay between him and Marlo is hilarious at times.
Peter David has a habit of injecting humor into his stories, sometimes to the detriment of his main characters. That’s definitely the case here, as both Genis-Vell and Rick come off as clumsy and whiny. Genis-Vell seems one notch above Jeff Spiccoli from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and Rick is totally ineffectual, spending the issue moping over Marlo and having strange visions. It really made me want the book changed to “The Adventures of Marlo and Moondragon” because those two came off far stronger and more dynamic than the two main characters.
The issue ends with a huge cliffhanger, and the return of a massive villain, that hopefully will change the course of the book away from “Genis-Vell and Rick’s Excellent Adventure” to a more serious and cosmic book.
Juanan Ramirez’s art on Genis-Vell Captain Marvel #1 was the highlight of the book.
His costume designs (especially Moondragon’s) are streamlined, gorgeous to look at, and functional. The characters seem to move with grace and power. His alien creatures are a great hodgepodge of unique designs and his planetary landscapes were equally great.
The only problem I had with him was his panel placements, which made the shifts in the story more confusing than they should have been. In some cases, it almost seems like panels are overlapping when the story transitions to a new location/time.
Genis-Vell Captain Marvel #1 is not a great start to the series, with two main characters who come off more clownish than heroic.
The supporting characters save the book, and the cliffhanger at the end sets up an interesting conflict to come.