Carol Danvers has been Ms. Marvel for quite a while now. Once she was part of Rogue (literally) of the X-Men after Rogue absorbed her powers and persona completely, but for quite some time now she’s been flying around the Marvel U in her typically revealing superhero girl outfit battling the Marvel U's biggest villains as part of The Avengers. Now, with a new outfit that actually one ups the once proposed “Wonder Woman With Pants” outfit with its practicality and realism, not to mention its design (which suits the former Air Force full bird Colonel fighter pilot much better) Carol Danvers AKA Captain Marvel, is poised to deliver Marvel Comics something it hasn’t had in as long as I can remember: a solid and hopefully well selling superhero book with a female lead.
Series writer Kelly Sue DeConnick definitely gets Captain Marvel off to a great start with her well rounded and strong characterization of Carol Danvers, which fills in just enough of her backstory while introducing new nuances to her that will keep both those familiar with Carol and those new to her story happy, informed, and engaged. Opening Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel’s first solo ongoing issue with a superhero battle that pits her and Captain America against The Absorbing Man might seem like the usual superhero opening sequence that has been repeated ad infinitum over the years, but DeConnick manages to use the banter between the three to establish her tone for the book while putting Carol on a more equal footing with the most respected hero of the Marvel U: Captain America. The battle segue ways into the story of Carol’s relationship with one of her idols: one of the first female fighter pilots who was an inspiration to Carol back in her early days, but is now terminally ill. By the end of this first issue, the reader feels like he or she has known Carol for quite some time, and feels connected to her emotionally even if they’ve never even heard of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel before in their lives.
The only drawback to this new, rather uplifting and bright, series is the mismatch with its written tone that artist Dexter Soy’s work seems to be. Soy is a fantastic artist and his style is as unique as it is interesting with its brilliant use of lighting and color that creates a warm and emotional artistic tone, but it clashes strikingly with DeConnick’s story and McGuinness, Vines, and Rodriquez’s iconic cover art. This new Captain Marvel has much more of an Amanda Conner-like feeling to her and screams to be sharply defined, not impressionistically interpreted. Perhaps that’s why Marvel Comics went with Soy though, to avoid any imagistic connection to Conner’s work at DC Comics on Power Girl or Silk Specter. Even if so, Soy’s art doesn’t fit Captain Marvel.
Artistic misfires aside, Captain Marvel looks to be a welcome breath of fresh air to Marvel Comics’ line up. It definitely has the potential to be a hit, and I hope it will be. You should check it out.