The innocence that permeates the classic Captain Marvel comics is alive and well in The Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures #1. Writer Grant Morrison and artist Cameron Stewart have definitely done their homework as this book has the lighthearted feel of a vintage 1940s-era Fawcett Comics adventure, but with all the advantages of modern production techniques. Credit also goes to colorist Nathan Fairbairn for his vibrant and almost-but-not-quite-over-the-top color palette. The Fawcett Comics wish they looked so good.
Morrison is a master at offering backstory as a part of the action, and the book begins at the Rock of Eternity with a funny monologue by the Wizard. “Maybe you remember me from before. Maybe not, but don’t worry, we’ll get there in the end.” Unfortunately for our intrepid heroes, Dr. Sivana has used his mastery of science to create a duplicate Rock of Eternity (Sivana’s is bigger, of course) and track Captain Marvel’s magic to its source. He has imbued his three children with science-based powers and sets them loose on Fawcett City to take out Captain Marvel, while he carries out his plan to add an eighth day, Sivanaday, into the weekly calendar.
The Captain is soon aided by none other than Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr. Adding to the mayhem, the Monster Society is unleashed and the Lieutenant Marvels report for duty. It’s a simple formula for a terrific extended fight scene and a welcome reminder that comics are fun.
Does Captain Marvel find a way to outwit his nemesis? Yes! Does the fight for Fawcett City result in a win for the good guys? Of course! Was it an entertaining book? Absolutely! Get an extra copy to share with your kids.
It really is a solid introduction to Captain Marvel for a generation that may not know anything about the character that also contains plenty of thoughtful Easter eggs for longtime fans. But this well-done adventure raises another question for me—can Captain Marvel only be entertaining in the safe confines of an environment that first saw the light of day when Frank Sinatra was the most popular singer on the radio? The industry has successfully brought its most legendary characters forward into the 21st century, so isn’t there a place for the most wholesome character in the DC Universe to be the World’s Mightiest Mortal and not find his books in permanent residence on the “For Kids” shelves in the comics shop? I hope so. I don’t want to see Shazam go all Dark Knight, but I’d love to see this talented creative team treat him and Fawcett City to a modern makeover.
Grant Morrison (W), Cameron Stewart (A), DC Comics, $4.99