ComicsFeaturedMarvelReviewsWomen in Comics

Captain Marvel #1: Rise of the Alpha Flight Review

Writers: Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters
Lines: Kris Anka
Colors: Matt Wilson

If you’re like me, if you’re in the Carol Corps, then you probably know that today is a big day. After all the hubbub of the Secret Wars and last summer’s startling announcement that Kelly Sue DeConnick would be withdrawing from the series, today is the day that the new creative team releases their first full issue. Captain Marvel #1 is now available for purchase, people.

As a huge fan of DeConnick and a frequent cosplayer of Carol Danvers, I’ve been following this turnover pretty closely. Kelly Sue is one of my favorite vocal feminists in the pop culture world, with some of the most eloquent things to say about inequalities within comic books and other forms of media. Her work with Carol Danvers was, in my opinion, revolutionary.

I’ve spent the last few months wondering whether Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters would be ready to fill DeConnick’s shoes, and feeling cautiously hopeful because Sana Amanat (the editor of the exemplary Ms. Marvel) is involved in the transition. I’ve been preparing for this moment– for this issue– for months, and now it’s here.

So how does Captain Marvel #1 measure up?

I woke up early this morning to check out the issue, rising early like a ten year old on Christmas morning. Although I have my reservations about digital comics, I purchased a digital issue on and “flipped” it open. After reading (and re-reading it), here’s what I found.


The Visuals

Along with an all-new writing duo, Captain Marvel #1 has a great new creative team. You might know Kris Anka’s line work from series like Uncanny X-Men, but here he is absolutely killing it. I wrote my graduate thesis on representations of women in comics, so I’m always paying really close attention to the way that artists draw bodies, and here the Cap is drawn with small breasts and a very athletic body– including rippling biceps and back muscles to astound. Even when she’s in the shower or in her panties in bed, she looks athletic in hell. In short, she actually looks like she can punch a thing. This is exactly what I’m talking about.

The coloring is equally delectable. In fact, Matt Wilson does such a seamless job that I had to do a re-read just to make sure I was paying close enough attention to his work. That’s a pretty big win, as far as I’m concerned, because big-wig American superheroes (like Captain Marvel and Captain America) have a lot of red, white, blue, and gold going on, and those bright, primary colors can get tiresome after awhile. But Wilson seems to undermine that tendency by weaving the Captain’s colors into her workplace. At the beginning there’s this scene where Carol punches an asteroid and it frames her body and oh my god the glowing rock is magnificent.

Carol’s haircut isn’t half bad, either.


Which brings us to…

The Narrative

This is where I get really nervous, because, as I’ve mentioned, of DeConnick. I’m all about moving forward and exploring new talent, and I’m certainly for supporting the work of new, female artists, but I went into this issue with some concerns.

Concerns which, I feel ready to say, seem unfounded.

Although Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters are new to comic writing, the ladies from ABC’s Agent Carter are clearly well-prepared. Carol’s inner dialogue and witty self-deprecation is present from the beginning, assuring me that her character will not dissolve under the authorship of new minds.

To be more specific, the plot feels pretty typical for a pilot, lacking some substance in trade for some character introduction, but it nicely utilizes the traditional flashback framework. It’s pretty darn good work for two women who haven’t written comics before; I wouldn’t have known if someone hadn’t told me.

Importantly, Danvers is still snarky (“Oh no, why would I think you’re saying that?”) and still, at times, adorable (“Aw, Rhodey loves me”). The inclusion of callbacks (“Aw, Abigail hates me”) is a nice touch, and the greater story arc is perfectly poised to force Carol to decide whether she can choose diplomacy over force.

All in all, it’s very promising. Shout out to the team for throwing Rocket Raccoon into the mix.


Final Thoughts

Since DeConnick began writing Captain Marvel, we have seen Danvers become not only a Captain, but also a female protagonist successfully sustaining her own title, even while wearing pants. The Carol Corps have risen in support of a the heroine who paved the way for change in the comic world, and it’s quite the legacy to uphold. It might be a bit much to base a comparison off of a single issue– particularly when so much of it is (justifiably) wrapped up in setting and character development– but Captain Marvel #1 suggests to me that Carol Danvers lives on, and that Captain Marvel is going to be just fine.



Buy this book! Fazekas, Butters, Anka and the team are off to a great start, and $3.99 is sure to be an investment that will pay off. Buy your copy now to support a great new creative team, and the continued story of a classic Marvel character.



Sara Kern is a twenty-something, an academic, and a (constructive) critic of comics and popular culture. She's a contributor to sites like Comics Alliance and Talking Comics, and loves conversations about equality, diversity, and justice. Follow her…

What's your reaction?

Related Posts

1 of 579