Avenging Spider-Man #10: A Y For Freedom

We've gotten double-shot of Captain Marvel and a giant robot girl with a heart of gold and a mind of crazy.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Avenging Spider-Man #10

There have been a lot of mixed responses to Carol Danvers' transformation into Captain Marvel. Some people love the notion, others cry foul about the loss of the thong. Even our own Iann Robinson has been torn between the double-shot of Captain Marvel stories we've gotten in the last few weeks. He loved Kelly Sue DeConnick's Avenging Spider-Man #9, but was sorely disappointed in her Captain Marvel #1. For my part, I'm a huge proponent of losing the thong, and I really liked the former, and I still enjoyed the latter despite a couple of misgivings. Now, with Avenging Spider-Man #10, we can see why this story wasn't saved for later in Carol's own series – it really helps balance out the tonal differences from Captain Marvel, and gives us a more easily digestible version of the new look without sacrificing quality.

For the record, my minor problems with Captain Marvel #1 were twofold. One was that artist Dexter Soy made things a little more confusing than they had to be – at times, he was fantastic and moving, but the fact that Carol's sick roommate Burke and her dead idol Helen Cobb are rendered almost exactly alike made for some head scratching, and making Carol's hair look like a mullet might not've been the best plan. The other was that I actually care about the characterization of the Absorbing Man, and he's not supposed to be THAT dumb, and despite the rep of being a goon, he IS married to a super-powered bulldozer gal named Titania, so he wouldn't really be that bluntly sexist these days, either. Even though "moon powers!" is a great laugh line.

Anyway, in the AvSM tale, we last left Captain Marvel and Spider-Man after the had stumbled into a situation involving a charmingly rabble-rousing teenage girl calling herself Robyn Hood ("with a Y for freedom!") and her conflict with a dickhead private security detail for National Federal Bank which consists of jerkwads in robot suits who think they're Blackwater. Robyn Hood thinks they're evil oppressors and, oh yeah, she just suddenly grew 50 feet tall.

In #10, we find out the reality of things – while Cap butts heads with Blackbird Security, and then NFB lawyer Frank Larrikin over jurisdiction, tactics and property, Spider-Man tries to relate to Robyn, and we eventually learn from ex-Blackbird R&D gal Shelley Goodwin that Robyn was actually a mutant-robot developed to spy on the Occupy movement – hence all of her rhetoric – and that she's been adding to her own programming to give herself a jetpack, growth powers, all of that. Trouble is, the jetpack isn't programmed properly, and Robyn is about to blow up because of Square Cube Law. Physics, yo! 

DeConnick's story has a little bit of everything, and it's a good deal of fun and pathos. Cap gets to be the hardass dealing with the bureaucrats and the bastards on the ground while Spidey gets to be the moral center and the science nerd who earns Robyn's trust (she adorably calls him "Mr. Spider-Man") enough to convince her NOT to blow up a bank full of people just because it's an evil bank. You don't see a lot of flaming liberal rogue A.I. stories, and that's pretty fun to see – hopefully, we'll have more of her down the line. The Terry Dodson art is clean and cool as it always is, much more accessible and comfortable than Soy's murky painting style. There's a bit of cognitive dissonance on Captain Marvel when we get Ed McGuinness covers that are much more similar to Dodson's style, but markedly different than Soy's interior work. Check out the previews for CM #2 and CM #3 for examples. However, if Soy can get a little more consistent, his work will likely make for much better service to DeConnick's tone in CM, which is a lot more introspective and personal.

So, sure, I've crammed a Captain Marvel review into this Avenging Spider-Man #10 review. They're so closely intertwined, though, that it feels natural, and they're both in support of Carol Danvers as the new Cap, which feels so cool that it should've been done a long time ago. The AvSM two-part tale has been a lot of breezy fun with a nice emotional twist at the end. It's good comics.