Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #1
Written by: Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kelly Thompson
Art by: David Lopez, Lee Loughridge
There were a lot of heavy hitters this week, good books one and all. And after I get done spilling word vomit on here I would suggest everyone go out and pick up two or three extra books than what they would have because you won’t be disappointed. However, this isn’t a comic book symposium, it is a comic book review. So the super awesome book I’m looking at this week is “Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps” which takes my favorite thing, Captain Marvel, and smashes it together with my other favorite thing, 1986 film masterpiece “Top Gun”. Oh no! You got peanut butter in my twin-engine carrier-capable multirole fighter!
Again, we find ourselves in another suburb of Battleworld, the patchwork created by Doctor Doom, only this one is in a great homeowner’s association with great access to downtown and adjacent to a park—Psyche! Hala Field is a world at war, constantly having to defend itself from incursions. And that’s where the Carol Corps come in. They are a squadron of the best fighter pilots Hala Field could sit inside a jet fighter. All of them are trained bad asses, killer flying aces who dominate the sky. While they’re a formidable weapon all on their own, their secret weapon is their leader, none other than Captain Marvel herself. She flies the sky, punching things into confetti sized debris. In Hala Field the only thing that can outclass her is the Thors—which kind of begs the question, why are people trying to attack Hela Field?
I mean I’m loving this book, don’t get me wrong. But a lot of explanation just isn’t there. Maybe Kelly Sue Deconnick sacrificed it in order to keep action and pacing up because those both work very well, not once did the story grind to a halt. Also? The set up for the book is that the Carol Corps isn’t being given all the information, simply used like a gun to point and shoot. So this could be a product of the story yet I couldn’t help imagining some A.I.M. flunkee watching an entire platoon be fire bombed into goo and thinking, “This seems unhealthy. Is there safer career I could get into like perhaps Deep Sea Kraken Fisher? Or a guy who just lights himself on fire? That seems safer than this.” But at the end of the day comic books need bad guys; I’m not too upset if I don’t get an extensive backstory. Besides, who has time for bad guy backstory when you have to give screen time to a whole troop of kick ass fighter ladies?
Deconnick has this tendency in books to devote a lot of time to characterizing large swaths of cast and flushing out their interconnectivity. In other words: she made everyone a person. Each fighter pilot has goals and personality independent of each other. This could have easily been a book about Carol Danvers and cast. Instead it’s about Big Mack, Knock Knock, Pancho, Blaze, and Bee—not to mention the Thor Kit. And this is all fantastic, the banter is lively and entertaining, characters are distinct and necessary, and there’s more than one voice that we are forced to follow. That being said, Carol Danvers didn’t do a whole lot in this book. I mean she is Captain Marvel, able to fly breakneck maneuvers while shooting lasers and punching things. So what did she do in this book? Well, she flew around some for training and she pulled a guy off a boat. Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I suppose the crux of this book is more to do with asking questions of this world than breaking it but I don’t think it would have hurt to have Carol blast a couple of the Hydra soldiers that were invading. Instead the Thors simply fly in en masse and blast the whole area to bits.
Perhaps the idea behind this book is it’s more important to question the world around you than simply punch things until they fit. And yes that can be very entertaining—it was even entertaining here. But with a book chalk full of Super Planes and Super Heroes it seems strange not to have one big fight. When Mark Grayson helped out the New Guardians of the Globe, there was definite personality. Sure the book benefited from the characters looking different and distinct but just because one of the characters was a giant trout doesn’t mean they took the easy way out. Brit has always been a great example of a character unlike the troupe he’s shaped from. All of the additions to the team like the nervous shape shifter and the Batman knock off brought different perspectives—Mark didn’t even agree with the Batman knock off, adamantly opposing the man’s ideas. Sometimes big books lose focus on the idea that a simple team dynamic can be entertaining. “Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps” gets it. And while I’m not going to give the book a perfect score, if the second issue has an overt Sterling Archer from FX say “Danger Zone”, I will give the book the greatest grade to ever happen to humanity.