Saturday, August 18, 2012

Off-Topic: Captain Marvel

Every so often it's good to take a step back and look at what else Marvel is offering. I've both praised and grumbled about this comic in particular before.  I'm not sure if I made myself all that clear where I stand on it as a fan though.

To be honest, I have no real complaints that the comic itself hasn't already voiced. After reading a recent interview with the writer of it, Kelly Sue Deconnick, I'm not sure if I was clear about my previous aversion to marketing aspects of this title.  These were just aspects in how it was presented to the fandom prior to release.

To be clear, I'm enjoying this comic. Deconnick brings a naturalness to Carol's voice of the likes that hasn't been seen in over a decade. That right there gains immediate praise from me. I'm outright a fan of the design too, though I do wish they'd better explain where the new suit came from. I'm not thrilled with the idea of Carol taking a demotion to maintain the title, but in many ways it's also a promotion from Air Force Colonel to Galaxy level Captain(though honestly still feels like a demotion since NASA has never bothered with a rank difference for astronauts). Besides that, Colonel Marvel doesn't really have the same ring to it I guess.  The best rationale I can come up for that, besides what the comic has already mentioned, is that a self-appointed higher rank than the person she got her powers from wouldn't feel earned.  It'd seem too self-congratulatory.  Carol is the kind of character who might take a name in memory of a person she aspired to be equal to and to even help it live on, but she'd also do it in a manner to make the legacy hers by really owning it.  She's not trying to live up to it.  She's trying to exceed all expectations that the name brings.  She's trying to raise the bar that much higher as has always been her way.

Now what did bug me initially is that Marvel kind of kept Deconnick on the back burner during all this.   Editor Stephen Wacker was seemingly doing all the speaking for her which made it sound more like his baby and his to control which seemed rather counter to what her titles have always represented. Reading between the lines it felt like his push was for marketing reasons and to try and fix the thrashing Marvel has been taking in recent years about their treatment of female characters. It felt press motivated and not authentic. His domineering presence over it made it feel less genuine. Deconnick almost felt like a second string mention to support the authenticity. It came across borderline stating "It's even written by a woman too!"

That bugged me about this. Now more interviews are coming out from Deconnick herself about the title. She's very charismatic and fun. She comes across as authentic and genuine. Even the pictures she's supplied of herself for the articles show a side of letting her inner child thrive and not bothering with any kind of outside appeal or pretense other than just being herself. This is the person they should have had speaking more on this title sooner. Even reading between the lines on what she has said, the only thing that really shines through is a young talented woman who loves life, the silliness it entails, and has a passion for comics with authentic characters. Her words promote modern mythology characters who feel real even while doing the most fantastic of things and dealing with impossibilities of the cosmos. It does go to show where Wacker's enthusiasm came from though. It's easy to see why he accidentally took the lead when speaking about this title from just sheer excitement about what he had already read and even being there from the start. It definitely is a comic that any editor would be proud to have on their resume. A kind of comic you can't help but want to promote and share. Speaking from the first 2 issues at least.

This comic is a must read. It's proven itself already in 2 issues to really get the Carol Danvers character with a modern and fresh presentation. This isn't an aggressively mean Sex in the City type Carol we've read from Bendis over in Avengers nor is it the alcoholic insecure Carol we've seen post-Heroes Reborn. This is the Air Force Carol who loves to fly and dares to dream, a strong capable woman balancing super heroics with her own life, passions, and attitudes. Forget the Carol Danvers you knew, this is the Carol Danvers of Marvel NOW!

So far the only real complaint I can drum up from the recent Hero Complex interview and the 2 issues out so far was how Deconnick mentioned it could be canceled. This isn't rare for comics that star Danvers, though it would be a shame since this is the first comic that's had her in recent years that isn't assassinating her character traits. Something other comics with her over the past decade-plus have been good at doing. So good at it that it made their interpretation of Carol outright painful to read. This is especially true if, like me, you have fond memories of rummaging through back issue boxs at the local comic store for older issues of Ms. Marvel as a kid. This could be a blessing in disguise or a curse depending on how you look at it. If this amazing quality is because Deconnick is writing each issue as it could be her last arc so she wants it to be the best she could make, no wonder the two released so far are amazing. There are minor hindrances in this way of thinking, but Deconnick has displayed an aptitude within these two issues to lay groundwork for future exploration as well. That would normally be the hindrance with trying to keep things self-contained per arc, but she's managed to compensate for that in a manner that's only noticeable if you look for it or when the comic decides to draw upon it later.

Overall, for now at least, this comic gets some of the highest praise I can give a comic for both art direction and writing. I urge everyone who was once a fan of Ms. Marvel or is looking for a good solo female lead book to check this out.


  1. When the blog will be updated?
    X-23 will be in Avengers Arena!

    1. On hiatus until the counter hits 0.
      I'm aware of the material still missing too. Thanks for the heads up though. It is appreciated.

      From August 2nd to October 23rd there will be updates everyday from everything missed, every point not spoken yet, other parts of ideas I've conveniently left out before to save, and much much more.

      I had to make a call about which was the priority. Where Marvel was going to shoe-horn X-23 for now, or save it all for the anniversary updates with where she could go next.