Recommended Reading: Captain Marvel

Posted: January 2, 2013 in Marvel, Reviews
Tags: , , ,

The reader chosen Recommended Reading is here! Captain Marvel won by a landslide and so I picked up the whole series to date on Comixology and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I got a little more credit over the holiday break and picked up the first five issues of Hawkeye as well so keep an eye out for my take on that book later.

Carol Danvers’ new costume is an instant classic. Property of Marvel Comics.

By Alex Headley
Marvel has had many characters by the name of Captain Marvel, the first as a Kree SuperSoldier named Mar-Vell. No one has lived up to the original before but Carol Danvers has finally stepped up to the plate, moving on from her Ms. Marvel mantle and taking on the title of Captain in honor of the original. Kelly Sue Deconnick was unknown to me before this series but she really knocks it out of the park. Danvers has always been an almost great character. Her history is full of weird stuff like being impregnated by her own son in the future and on a crazy, far away planet. She has a lot of power, one of Marvel’s heavier hitters but has never really enjoyed the spotlight. Not only is she invincible, possesses super strength and flight but he can also absorb and redirect energy. It’s a cool power that lends itself to some great visuals. The new costume is a great improvement over the old one too. It’s about time a prominent female hero wore pants. Especially one that flies in space on a regular basis. The costume has a classic feel to it thanks to the colors, classic Superman red, yellow and blue, and keeps her trademark sash to make it personal. It kind of resembles a flight suit, a nice touch for a character with a pilot background. I think it’s the characters best costume ever and a welcome sign that modern costumes don’t have to suck.
The series has had two major story arcs so far. The first was a fun, time travel tale that throws Carol back in time to meet her hero, one of the first female pilots in the US. The time travel is a bit silly in its execution and the Banshees feel a little stereotypical but the heart of the story is great. I won’t spoil it here but it not only gives us a lot of insight into what makes Carol a hero but also creates a new character that I just loved reading about. Much of the book completely ignores Carol and focuses on Helen, who is just a charming character on every page. I love it when comics focus on how normal people act and react in a world full of superheroes and aliens and Decconick does that in a big way with Helen and the rest of the supporting cast. The second story arc is less heartfelt but does deliver some big action and some fun banter between Carol and former Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau. The two fight giant robots in the Bermuda Triangle, its good super hero fun. The book focuses on giving Carol, a hero formerly defined only by her Avengers status, plenty of solo stuff to do and builds her up into a real character instead of just eye candy in an Avengers book. Several Avengers have appeared in the series so far: Captain America makes a prominent appearance in issue 1 that is just highlights just how important Carol is, Spider-Man gets some screen time as well but it’s Spider-Woman that gets the best moments. Carol and Jessica Drew developed a friendship in the last couple of years during Bendis’ Avengers run and its great to see that continues here and get more development time.

Emma Rios has an excellent attention to detail and a kinetic style. Property of Marvel Comics.

The art in the series has been excellent. Dexter Soy delivers some great stuff with his quasi-realistic painted look. His action sequences are great and he delivers some emotional quiet moments as well. But it’s Emma Rios that really impressed me. Rios has a distinct and fluid style that I really fell in love with. Rios gives the book a classic feel that is full of tiny details like the fur on a coat or the sparkling of energy from Carol as she flies. She does a great job conveying emotion as well and is probably a large part of why I liked Helen so much. Her work has an energy and motion to it that is rare and should be valued very highly. Comics depend on conveying everything in pictures and Rios seems more than capable of handling any situation a writer can throw at her. I’ll definitely be picking up other books with her name on it.

Give Captain Marvel a read if you can, you won’t regret it. This book is a huge step forward in both presenting awesome female characters and showcasing some excellent female talent in the industry and beyond that, it’s just a damn good book with a lot of heart.

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Comments
  1. Ken says:

    Yay Captain Marvel! The art style really drew me to this book, and it’s one of those books that I picked up because A) it was new and B) I knew zilch about the character other than some of the Heroclix pieces. The first arc was very Quantum Leap-ish and still good. I started watching the second season or Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on Netflix (just came out!), and she plays a biggish role in some of the early episodes I’ve seen.

    • I’ve been watching that too. She’s great in it. I’m hoping she makes her way into Avengers 2 somehow.

      The art in this book is really just stunning across the board. One of Marvel’s best.

  2. xmenxpert says:

    I’ve been loving this book. Carol’s a great character, and DeConnick has a great handle on her character. Having such gorgeous art by Soy and Rios (who absolutely needs to do more books – I adore her style) just made it even better. DeConnick’s a bit of a rising star – she was just given Avengers Assemble – and I really hope she goes far. If you want to read more from her, she and Rios did an awesome Osborn mini a couple years ago, shortly after Dark Reign ended. Fun fact: Kelly Sue DeConnick is married to Matt Fraction.

    But yeah, this is one my favourite titles right now.

    • Had no idea she was married to Fraction. That’s a power couple, I really enjoy both of their work. Hawkeye has been fantastic. I missed a lot of stuff during Dark Reign, I may have to check out that mini.
      Thanks for reading!

  3. Ken says:

    UGH! I just read issue 10, and the story is okay, if a little lackluster, but the art has gone to hell. It reminds me of that old MTV cartoon Aeon Flux, which just looks ugly in comic book form. The characters are all twisty and frail looking, just terrible. Maybe it fits in with the story, but it pained me to read.

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