Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist: Dexter Soy
Letterer: Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna
After a 50 issue run a few years ago, Carol Danvers, AKA Ms. Marvel was relegated to background shots and being a small part of certain Avengers titles. Thankfully, Marvel have now returned one of their best female lead characters to an ongoing series once again, and launched Captain Marvel this week. Shall we see how this first issue held up?
Ms. Marvel was one of the first characters after Spider-Man that I explored when initially venturing out into the Marvel Universe, after a childhood spent saying that Spider-Man was all that mattered. Once I realised my mistake, I was pleased to have all of these other amazing characters to enjoy, from Marvel and other companies as well, but Ms. Marvel remained a big part of my comic reading life. Once I was finally able to find a local comic shop, her series was one of the first that I collected in single issues, and I enjoyed it almost all the way through, and wasn’t best pleased when it concluded. Now, Carol returns to our shelves once again, and brings a new creative team, direction, and even superhero title with her.
As a first issue, there’s very little here that I would nitpick. DeConnick gets all of the important information out of the way early, such as Carol’s origin story, and introduces her powers as the issue progresses rather than dumping them all onto the reader in one go. Carol’s place as one of the Avengers is highlighted, and the role that her past plays in shaping who she is today is firmly established as well. She easily becomes this three dimensional character right off the bat, with all of these different factors contributing into forming Carol, and gives us a protagonist that we can really get into the head of.
Carol’s reluctance to take Captain Marvel’s name is well explored as well. Through some gentle prodding, Captain America helps Carol realise that she deserves to do it, and it would honour the original Captain Marvel to do so, and eventually Carol sees that what Cap has said is true. There’s some good-natured ribbing between the two characters whilst they interact, and the opening fight scene with the Absorbing Man showcases both their relationship and how formidable a foe Carol can be, not just for her brawn but her brain as well.
I think as a first issue, this works very well as a springboard for what’s coming next. All of the groundwork has been done, and Carol’s journey into the future looks like it will be interesting to follow. The role that the characters around her will play is still a little bit of a mystery, and I’m curious to see where the flashback sequences are leading too. In fact, the only problem that this issue has is the lack of a cliffhanger. It’s very strange for a first issue nowadays to be a done-in-one story, and whilst there are dangling plot threads, there isn’t a punchy cliffhanger to grab the attention at the end of the issue. Whether this will be a problem will obviously show in the sales figures, but I think it’s a risky move. I do think that DeConnick’s character work will definitely be enough to bring back readers however, and the story would have had to change drastically in order to incorporate a cliffhanger, so it probably has worked out for the best.
Dexter Soy’s artwork has been a dividing factor from the opinions on this issue that I have read, but I fall into the camp that enjoyed it. Moreso, in fact, than I initially thought I would. Preview pages of the artwork hadn’t sold me completely, but after reading an entire issue and seeing what Soy can do, I am definitely now a fan. It feels like a blend of Clayton Crain’s computerized style mixed with a bright light that enables details to be seen despite the dark colour palette that Soy employs. There’s also a real impact to Soy’s work, with each punch and energy beam looking as though it will hurt, and he has a flair for showing movement – the scenes in which Carol falls from space have a sense of urgency and speed that it can be difficult to illustrate. The space scenes in particular are gorgeous to look at, and whilst Soy’s art doesn’t really correspond to the bright covers that Ed McGuiness and Dexter Vines have drawn for the series, I think Soy gives the series a very unique feel.
Captain Marvel #1 does everything that it should as a first issue, as well as providing (hopefully) enough to coax readers back for a second issue and beyond. I was highly anticipating this issue, and wasn’t disappointed at all, with my expectations even being exceeded. Whilst I may not be able to review every issue, I will definitely be there to read them, and support my favourite Marvel leading lady – Long live Captain Marvel!
GO Rating: 4.5/5