Captain Marvel #1 Review
Captain Marvel #1 promises a fresh series, but is it really?
Previously, in Captain Marvel: After an explosive Kree encounter, Air Force pilot Carol Danvers found herself with “crazy cool alien powers.” Adventuring with the Avengers and becoming one of Marvel’s premier superheroes, she has recently taken on the mantel of Captain Marvel. She also lives in the Statue of Liberty.
NO TRUE #1
The Marvel Now! concept is problematic in execution. I am on board with the idea of “series as seasons,” giving new creators a fresh start on old series with a clear number one issue and a new creative remit. The problem is that Marvel is diluting the concept by renumbering series that do not fit those criteria.
Case in point with Captain Marvel #1. It has a new artist in David Lopez, but writer Kelly Sue DeConnick is continuing her storyline from the previous volume of Captain Marvel. What’s baffling is that with other series trying to maintain continuity, Marvel has slapped a #1 on the cover to signify a new arc, but maintained the actual series numbering elsewhere on the cover. But here, Captain Marvel #1 is being presented as a straight-up, hot-from-the-oven new series. It isn’t.
This is a disservice to DeConnick’s story. With this issue, she is establishing a new status quo, putting Carol Danvers into the “Avenger in space” role that Iron Man’s recently been handling. While this is a good idea, the issue itself suffers from some choppy plotting. Her new sidekick literally falls from space with no context, and supporting characters from the previous series are presented without any sort of introduction. Interludes with a small child in the Statue of Liberty and a birthday party for an octogenarian don’t advance the plot, and won’t mean anything to readers who weren’t caught up on the previous volume of work. DeConnick’s characterization of Carol Danvers is much better, presenting her with some interesting internal conflict and amusing conversational foils in Tony Stark and James Rhodes.
I liked the previous Captain Marvel volume in concept, but the art drove me away from the series. David Lopez is a major improvement. Lopez has a cleaner, classic style than the previous Captain Marvel artists, which better suits the classic heroism that DeConnick is doing with Danvers. His character work is appealing, with expressive, emoting faces, but Lopez really shines with the big picture superheroics. There isn’t a lot of it in this issue, but Lopez is great at drawing action. His work also has a lot of humor in it, pairing well with DeConnick’s humorous dialogue.
BOTTOM LINE:STILL WORTH HOPPING ON
While Captain Marvel #1 is not a true #1, it may be a good jumping on point, especially if you were driven from this book by the art as I was. DeConnick’s writing has always been solid, and now it is matched by an artist that’s more in line with the type of stories she’s telling. The new arc looks to put Captain Marvel back into a more galactic adventurer role, which is a good fit for the character. With future issues focusing more on outer space shenanigans, I think some of the plotting problems present in Captain Marvel #1 will disappear. When good writing couples with good art, you’ve got something worth reading. Check it out.