Captain Marvel #1
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art: David Lopez
Color Art: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Review by Joey Braccino
Oh, Captain Marvel—how I’ve missed thee!!! When the first volume of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel series ended last Fall, we were certainly devastated, but we knew that the fan-favorite series couldn’t be going away forever, especially with all the critical acclaim and glass-ceiling-shattering and a second wave of All-New Marvel-NOW! coming down the pike. Furthering this faith in Marvel and the power of the fans, Captain Marvel (and G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel spin-off) was presented as a cornerstone of the second NOW! wave. Carol Danvers has become a marquee character for Marvel Comics, and DeConnick’s work on the series has become a shining of example of moving past the derivative pigeon-hole of “Strong Female Characters” and into simply damn good comics storytelling.
But does the debut of the second volume of Captain Marvel continue the momentum of the trail-blazing first volume? Does it match its promise to push Carol “HIGHER, FURTHER, FASTER, MORE?”
For the most part, yes. Fans old and new alike will be satisfied with the sincerity, the characterization, and the scope of this book. Will the new Captain Marvel #1 provoke the same critical fervor and frenzy that the first volume did? Probably not, partly because DeConnick is clearly continuing her story rather than starting over and partly because the aforementioned glass is all over the floor; if anything the fact that Captain Marvel #1 reads as a great superhero comic is a testament to DeConnick and Marvel’s success overcoming whatever the perceived baggage associated with “a female-led book.”
Captain Marvel #1 opens cold with Carol Danvers in full costume leading a rag-tag bunch of extraterrestrial comrades through a market on an alien world. “Higher, further, faster, more” indeed; Carol is in space leading what seems to be her own bunch of Guardians of the Galaxy on Firefly-esque missions. DeConnick’s on-point characterization and David Lopez’ bright naturalism produce a vibrancy and energy that translates into a dynamic, bustling opening scene. And then we flash back six weeks and DeConnick brings us back to Earth, back to the Statue of Liberty, and back to the Carol that we left at the end of volume one. All of the supporting cast from the first volume return—most prominently ornery mentor Tracy and adorable troublemaker Kit—and DeConnick adds James “Rhodey” Rhodes to the drama in a fascinating role. The parallels between Carol Danvers and Rhodey—pilot/hero with a chip on their shoulder—should produce some excellent interpersonal drama down the line, and it’s just enough of a fresh addition to the series to make Captain Marvel #1 feel like something different than the first volume.
In terms of the artwork, David Lopez has a significantly more muted style than some of Captain Marvel‘s previous artists. Emma Rios, Dexter Soy, and Filipe Andrade all had a more eccentric, punk rock aesthetic that sometimes divided audiences. For the new volume, Marvel seems to have gone for a more grounded, “house”-style—realistic and dynamic a la Stuart Immonen. This isn’t to say Lopez’ artwork is dull; quite the contrary actually, as Lopez illustrates Carol in space, flying jets, catching missiles, and celebrating a birthday party. His ability to juggle both the explosive and the subtle proves critical to the scope of this debut issue and just increases my excitement for this series going forward.
CHECK IT! Everything about what made Captain Marvel great last year is still true for this new NOW! relaunch: the honesty, the humor, the heroism, the character, and, most importantly, the message. Whereas in Volume 1, Kelly Sue DeConnick explored themes of heroism and representation, it seems that she’s shifting her focus more inward onto Carol Danver’s search for identity. And I’m pumped to see where that search takes her. Especially if it includes space. Because space. #Higher