Captain Marvel Shadow Code
By Gilly Segal
- Captain Marvel Shadow Code
Author: Gilly Segal
- Series: Marvel
Publisher: Titan Books
- ISBN: 9781803361802
- Published: October 2023
- Pages: 264
- Format reviewed: Hardback
- Review date: 13/10/2023
- Language: English
Any fan of the Marvelverse will understand there are various aspects to it. You have your traditional superhero tales, but also those set-in space, or ones that feature magic. Captain Marvel has always been a character who spans them all. Captain Carol Danvers has seen it all in her adventures across time and space. Captain Marvel: Shadow Code by Gilly Segal is a more down to earth tale of technology gone wrong. Can an army of drones defeat the Cap? Not if she works together with her allies.
Carol Danvers life has changed in recent months. She had come to terms with being Captain Marvel, only to discover that she is half Kree and the daughter of an important Kree leader. She even has a half-sister she never knew about. Before Danvers can explore her new roots, she is called back to Earth by Tony Stark, a mysterious company is buying up a lot of stock. This would not usually be important enough to worry one of Earth’s mightiest heroes, but when this company could infiltrate any computer in the world, they pose a fundamental risk to life on the planet.
Code is in the cyberpunk vein of Marvel; Captain America: Winter Soldier, Secret Invasion etc. Those techno thrillers that are as much about espionage as they are superpowers. For this book to work, some groundwork must be setup. Segal has the task of making coding and hackers something worth reading when you were expecting laser eyes and inhuman strength. The book is no Tinker, Taylor, but it does manage to map out why someone as important as Captain Marvel is needed for what is a problem outside of her skillset.
It is Danver's unease with the subject matter that is the most interesting element of the book. She is already floundering, having discovered that her mother was Kree and that she has a sister. Now Stark has tasked her with using guile, rather than strength. Danvers must rely on new skills and on those around her to help. This is a book of self-discovery as Captain Marvel starts to realise that not all problems can be solved with brute strength and ignorance.
Dealing with a faceless Omnicorp was never going to be easy for Cap alone so Segal introduces several allies to help including Spider-Woman and a young academic. It is not the superhero sides of these characters that are focussed on in the book, but the personal. They have friends and family to look after. Danvers is saving the day, not for the world, but for her friends. She realises that personal relationships are what is important and that she does not need to tackle everything on her own.
The personal relationships are interspersed in the book with action set pieces as you would expect from a Marvel book. It is hard to create an enemy that is powerful enough to even dent Captain Marvel and it does not happen here, but this is no ordinary baddy. They do not target Cap directly but look to her weaknesses. There is more at stake than her own safety.
Code is not the strongest entry into the world of Marvel, but it has found an interesting niche. A personal journey for Captain Marvel and an interesting technothriller storyline. As a computer scientist it all made sense to me, but I think some readers may become a little lost to the motivations of the baddy. However, fans of character development will be entertained by the way that Captain Marvel will need to show personal growth if she is to save her friends.
Written on 13th October 2023 by Sam Tyler .