From her graphically pulsing tumblr to her relationship with a certain Hawkguy, Kelly Sue Deconnick has a finger on the comics scene with or without her bibliography. But much like Carol Danvers, the protagonist of her Captain Marvel reboot, Deconnick isn’t much for stepping to the side. No, according to Deconnick every person – male or female – has an obligation to overstep their bounds and be who they are as much as they can. “We will be the stars we were always meant to be,” Carol Danvers is told by Helen Cobb, a remnant of her non-alien past, and it’s only when Danvers comes to terms with her past that she can move on, finally accepting the designation of Captain Marvel. Deconnick’s Captain Marvel is a new-reader friendly look at the superhero that doesn’t miss out on thematic storytelling, a well-crafted comic with an emphasis on the fun and beautiful in each and every one of us.
Captain Marvel’s history is fairly convoluted. For readers afraid of jumping in, fear not: Deconnick deftly explains Danvers story in a matter of pages, and by the end of this read, it’s like you’ve been reading Captain Marvel since the womb. Long story short: Danvers was caught in a blast that decimated her psuedo-lover, Marv-ell, a Kree warrior. The specifics of this altercation does not matter, because it’s seamlessly mantled and dismantled in the pages of the first volume. Captain Marvel volume 1 is an introduction in the midst of a story – the rare book that can further a plot, while also backtracking on an invisible road. While a bit over-the-top at times, in terms of the time travel stuff, Deconnick writes an engaging arc.
Deconnick’s writing is chock full of feminine empowerment and barstool shenanigans. It’s like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia meets Susan B. Anthony, and thankfully none of the jokes or messages fall into corny territory. There’s no overt stating that women are the same as men, nor is there any muddled symbolism about equality. Deconnick writes a story about women setting their own paths, and any reader will understand in the end, whether they want to or not, that it’s a story about feminism. It’s this kind of storytelling that makes messages heard. Captain Marvel has that Superman affect where simply through heroics we see our real population, our women strung up in the mundane, as superheroes in their own right.
Dexter Soy and Emma Rios, the two artists on the book, have distinct and unrelated styles. Soy is beautifully visceral, ingrained in a realistic sense of a superhero’s real-time nature. Rios is more comedic and jovial, clinging to that funny-pages aesthetic that made Calvin and Hobbes matter in the first place. Both styles mesh well with their individual stories, and props to Deconnick for writing with the shifting artist in mind. At times, Soy’s style is a bit too much, and some panels become lost in the transition, but overall, the art is a plus for the book.
Kelly Sue Deconnick is a master of the female story. In the vein of Brian Wood’s X-Men, Captain Marvel succeeds because it doesn’t care that the main character is a woman. It starts and ends without coming out and stating that, and the real strengths lie elsewhere, just like every other book out there. Does it really matter that Carol Danvers is a woman? Not in her book. Carol Danvers and Helen Cobb are individuals, and though their ability to stand strong against a male front isn’t unwarranted, it isn’t their entire arc. Because man, woman – it doesn’t matter. “We will be the stars we were always meant to be.” End of story.
Stay tuned for our review of Captain marvel vol. 2!
PJ is a comic, film, and TV nerd living in New York. He’s a contributing writer for Geek News Network, DarkZero, and others. Hit him up at twitter: @pjvangalen and check out his website, pjvangalen.com.