Friday, July 20, 2012

WGTB reviews Captain Marvel #1

While Marvel Comics have never been devoid of strong female characters, there are a few that have long required an overhaul and one of these was Ms. Marvel. Make no mistake I’m no prude, but there was always something about Carol Danvers’ former dominatrix-like costume that seemed to highlight how superhero comics are male-centric. A full scale repackaging (along with writer Kelly Sue DeConnick oustanding performance on the early 2012 podcast circuit) sparked my interest in Captain Marvel #1 and ensured that it was picked up this past Wednesday.

Marvel's Captain Marvel #1 (September 2012) Writing by Kelly Sue DeConnick, pencils by Ed Mcguiness. $2.99
Well, I wasn’t disappointed. The writing is sharp and the plot quick. For example, in the opening scene with Captain America it's made very clear that both 'captains' are seasoned Avengers and each worthy of their own lead role. DeConnick’s dialogue does well to capture the power of Marvel's newest 'Captain' while at the same time explaining why it has taken her so long to make the seemingly logical transition from 'Ms' to 'Captain'. I particularly liked this because as a fan of Mar-vell and a cancer survivor, I’ve long appreciated the gravitas Marvel Comics has given the illness by leaving Mar-Vell (for the most part) deceased. Danvers is clearly apprehensive about taking the ‘mantle’ of that great Kree, but her ultimate decision to make the change both reestablishes a namesake hero for the Marvel U and honours the previous one.

From Marvel's Captain Marvel: Secret Invasion TPB (2009)
The book further draws upon an episode of space exploration history that I’m sure many readers (myself included) don’t know about previously: 'the Mercury 13'. This was a group of thirteen American women who underwent the same testing and screening process as the NASA astronauts during the late 1950s and 1960s, but because the program was private were never selected to fly. Here, DeConnick not only uses an interesting episode of history to establish strong motivations for Carol Danvers; she also provides an interesting addition to the cast and a very fitting tribute to some early female pioneers of aviation and space travel. 

Images from Marvel's Captain Marvel #1 (September 2012)
Turning quickly to Dexter Soy’s art – it was edgy and interesting and I thought Captain Marvel’s new costume was both a solid modernization and fitting tribute to the previous incarnations of the character. Visually speaking, the biggest shortcoming of the book (and the big #1 on the cover probably mitigated this) was the cover by Ed McGuinness, Dexter Vines and Javier Rodriguez. It was bright and flashy yet lacked any semblance to the inner story and didn’t capture the essence of the book. That said, it was an enjoyable first issue of what looks like a promising new comic and that means I will certainly buy the next issue.  

1 comment:

  1. I need to start reading comics again. It has been years.