Comic review: Captain Marvel #1
Long anticipated by fans, Captain Marvel #1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy begins the ongoing adventures of Carol Danvers as she assumes her title as Captain rather than just Ms. With a new costume, title and a bold style change for the character, this issue courts diehard fans and serves as a jumping-off point for readers who are new to Carol’s story. For this reason, this issue is low on plot, high on exposition. While the story does run thin in places, overall, it serves as a fitting introduction to this new chapter of the character’s life. Then again, that could just be my soft-spot for Carol talking.
The story opens with a nice little brawl between Ms. Marvel, Captain America and Absorbing Man at the Museum of Natural History, where Absorbing Man is attempting to absorb the powers of moon rocks. (Moon rocks are apparently very powerful, or so we’re told.) As a fan of the relationship between Carol and Steve Rogers, reading their familiar banter and closeness put a smile on my face as they work together to beat the ever-living crap out of this bad-guy-of-the-week. Soy’s artwork is bold and energetic, and just a little moody. It stands in sharp contrast to the very bright and exaggerated (and for me, kind of disappointing) cover art we’ve been seeing all year. It’s definitely a big plus in the book, and keeps the reader engaged.
This fight opens to Cap urging Carol to assume the mantle she has avoided up to this point, and publicly taking the title of Captain. Carol is unsure of taking it, out of the memory of the Mar-Vell, the deceased counterpart from whom she took both her powers and her name, Ms. Marvel. With a bit of influence from Spiderman (whom she threatens to vaporize for making fun of her new haircut), Carol begins working through her hesitance to remind herself of why she’s here. DeConnick has a good handle on the dynamics of these characters and uses them well, even if the dialogue suffers a little from time to time. However, her take on Carol feels very natural and convincing, even for those unfamiliar with her story.
The last half of the book briefly examines Carol’s relationship with the recently deceased Helen Cobb, an accomplished pilot that Carol came to emulate. This flashback shows Carol as a young pilot meeting Helen, providing the set-up for the actual story to begin in the next issue. It’s a nice scene, showing the rapport Carol and Helen came to develop, while serving to solidify Carol’s decision to take the mantle for herself once and for all. Overall Captain Marvel #1 is an introspective book, attempting to establish Carol’s new place in the Marvel Universe. It’s a bit of a quiet book, with little real action or true plot driving it, with some fun character interactions and a nice, almost warm sensibility about it in Carol’s internal dialogue.
Fans expecting an adventurous title launch will be disappointed by the somewhat unfocused story and the generalized meta on Carol’s role, over any real exploration of it yet. For a launch it’s not perfect, but I think it’s fitting for the tone DeConnick is trying to strike here: A new suit, a new name, a new story. For now, at least, the future looks bright.
Worth a read: For Carol fans, and anybody who’s interested in this new chapter for Captain Marvel, I recommend it.