This is a fresh start, and Carol has nothing to prove. She's an experienced Avenger with awesome powers at her fingertips. A brief team-up with Captain America displays an easy friendship between the Forces veterans - she Air Force, he Army. They barely need discuss tactics to take down the Absorbing Man, but the banter makes for a satisfying opening scene and tells us they're very much equals.
And it's Cap's respect for Carol that leads her to take on the mantle of Captain Marvel, after years of letting herself be seen as, in his words, 'an adjunct'.
Out of costume, Carol herself is giving out encouragement, helping Tracy Burke, an old friend from her journalism days, as she deals with cancer. The other story thread takes us to the past, showing how tyro pilot Carol met mentor Helen Cobb, record-breaking flier.
Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick gets this book off to a great start, with a script that nicely balances action with recaps and hints of things to come. The dialogue is smart and natural, as she emphasises Carol's status as a woman born into the Air Force life. DeConnick shows us how, for Carol, handling planes compares to flying under her own Kree-power. Best of all, she makes Carol likeable and fun, someone I want to get to know again.
The interior art by newcomer Dexter Soy is a shock after the super-clean, ultra-bright cover; the first impression - as Carol and Cap battle the Absorbing Man - is one of murkiness. Soy is handling the full art job, which is impressive, but the colouring here doesn't work - he gives Carol and Cap a sickly green tinge to their skin tones.
Things get better all round in the civilian vignette with Tracy (below, click to enlarge). Carol's face can be seen clearly, and a quiet strength and compassion is evident. And Soy pulls off the little moments that add magic to a domestic scene. The flashbacks are impressive too, with a younger Carol dreaming not of life as a superhero, but as a flier.
So yes, I didn't love every aspect of Soy's work, but I'm optimistic that he's only going to get better as he sees his art in print, notes what works and what needs a tweak or two. There's a sinewy, Earl Norem quality to Soy's metahumans that's interesting. He draws Carol's new outfit well, barring the horrific headpiece and utterly bonkers new hero hairdo. Marvel needs to dump both as soon as possible ... Ed McGuinness and Dexter Vine's cover show how much nicer a bare-faced Carol looks - open and heroic, whereas Kree helmets never look anything less than sinister.