Captain Marvel #1 (2014)
Written By: Kelly Sue Deconnick
Art By: David Lopez
Remember when Warner Brothers thought making a Wonder Woman movie was silly because nobody wants to see a story centered on a lady? Seems diametrically opposed to the five solo books with female heroes: Batwoman, Batgirl, Catwoman, Supergirl and Wonder Woman—well there’s also Katana but nobody really counts her. And for a while they had Marvel beat for solo, leading ladies and Marvel must have noticed because they came out swinging: Black Widow, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and a relaunch of Captain Marvel. Every one of these books is outstanding but I feel compelled to talk very glowingly about the last one, Captain Marvel.
Carol Danvers isn’t new to having her own solo title and over the years she’s had some difficulty retaining an audience. But all of that should be alleviated now because this first issue was incredible. Not only does her sparkling and sarcastic personality shine through and endear her to the readers but she’s not one dimensional. She still has ego issues from time to time and her personal life has a few potholes. But what’s great about her is that while she is still an incredibly compelling character to read, she’s also got one of the best super power sets in the business.
While character development and complexity are totally cool and all that—Captain Marvel has super strength, flight, durability, and can sometimes shoot lasers. In this first issue there’s a good taste of that. From the galactic fracas she has to deal with for the good of… space I guess? They didn’t explain that aspect very well—to the simple mugging she stops, the action is stupendous. Sometimes, with all the galactic peril and doomsday events, it’s great to see an overpowered good guy stand in front of a simple mugger and watch them wet their pants. It’s everything we like about Superman—but this time with personality! I’m sorry, that’s harsh—Superman just suffers from “Can’t-Kill-Me Don’t-Give-a-F&%$” syndrome.
There’s this annoying tendency with invulnerable heroes to either make them as bland as a paste flavored saltine or make them Outrageous! Luckily, Carol Danvers inhabits a pleasant middle ground. She’s the type of character who if you met wouldn’t say something wacky or pretentious, she’d probably skip the super powers stuff altogether because she has a life beyond all that. Is this sounding a bit too much like a love letter? Yeah I suppose, but the issue doesn’t make it very easy to nitpick. Yeah the action in space felt distinctly disconnected like somebody laid two different wallpapers on the family dog. But really, I can forgive things like that if they’re going to give me a slam bang adventure that’s genuinely entertaining. Besides, these things are supposed to have big bombastic reveals like that James Rhodes is dating Carol Danvers.
Okay, I’ll be the first to admit I don’t read every comic that comes out. I skipped the last “Captain Marvel” in its entirety. So I have to assume this development took place on pages gone unseen. It’s the same with Rhodey’s heart condition. These things are great interesting tidbits about the characters that allow them to grow in different directions. Also? It’s honoring continuity which is a huge thing for me. The writer is taking into account developments and consequences, which means things that happen in comics do have repercussions! Because let’s face it, if characters made no serious development in over a decade, we could all buy one issue of a comic book run and essentially have everything we need—how’s that business model working out for ya DC?
But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there’s no place in comics continuity for strong and diverse female heroes. After all, “Invincible” only has about three females that are continuously apart of the supporting cast. Though, they are three of the most developed, character driven players in the “Invincible” universe. I mean you have Atom Eve who started off as a simple bombshell but went through this crazy character arc. She had an abortion! And now she breaks the mold for acceptable body image in comics. Then there’s Mark’s mom, a strong matron and at one time a strong alcoholic. It was after her husband left her to be an evil Imperialist ruler of the galaxy so maybe she deserved a drink or two. Even Dupli Kate started off as the girl who stole Rex Plode and then turned into this woman who was sexually liberated, and unshackled by society’s expectations of her. And really, even if there is only three strong females, the book is really about Mark. All the dude characters can be kind of forgettable. And on that note…