Thursday, 19 July 2012

New Beginnings - Captain Marvel #1

This week we have a new beginning in the form of a character taking over a title to make it her own.

Carol Danvers' fantastic new costume, designed by Jamie McKelvie! (cover image by Ed McGuinness)

For years Carol Danvers has gone by the name of Ms Marvel, Warbird or Binary, but no matter what the title she takes she has always been a strong woman in an otherwise male dominated world. Even in her “civilian” side she has made herself formidable by carrying the rank of Major (a point that is hinted at in the issue where she outranks Captain America) and now she is striking out once more on her own.

The Ms Marvel character has been around for over 50 years now and in that time has had some major roles to play. She has led the Avengers at points and was instrumental in rallying against Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers leading up to Siege. Prior to this she was also a central character towards the end of the Skrull attack in Secret Invasion. Going further back she has also had a lot of turmoil and trouble to build herself from but all the time she has kept strong to her own principals.

It's a massive improvement over her old costume (see box out on the lefthand side of this page)...

Now we see where Kelly Sue Deconnick can take her.

This issue is, in essence, a fantastic little jump on point for anyone. I wanted to get that out right at the beginning as I think it holds a lot of merit. I’ve known of the character for a long time but thought much of her. It’s fair to say that this issue has totally changed my opinion of Carol Danvers.

The forthcoming cover for Captain Marvel #3.

The story opens with Ms Marvel and Captain America trying to take down a somewhat intellectually challenged Absorbing Man. He’s never been the brightest of villains, with the more recent hammer incident (see Fear Itself) effecting him even further, so his quest to obtain a piece of moon rock to gain “moon powers” is perfectly sound in his mind yet outrageously naïve to the reader. The fight between himself and the team of Marvel and Cap is almost a non-event but serves well enough to provide the opportunity that Cap needs to get them both talking, culminating in the suggestion that she should take the name, and further the legacy, of Captain Marvel.

Understandably Carol is at first reluctant as she holds the image and meaning of Captain Marvel close to her, so we get to see the thought process and internal struggle that she has through the remainder of the issue over whether or not she should take up the name and it is well thought out and followed by DeConnick. I’ve really liked that there is a huge human influence played over the thought process for someone who is now essentially a human-kree hybrid. We are presented with a strong, smart and emotional female who can be identified on a number of levels. I’m not saying that there is a feminist angle to her but if anyone wanted to use her as a good portrayal of it all they wouldn’t have to try hard.

It really would make a great poster!

The artwork is provided by Dexter Soy and if honest at first I felt it was a little heavy. However, the more I read the more fitting it felt as this is a heavy introduction for Marvel. Even during a physical training session with Spider-Man you can feel the gravitas behind it all, despite Webhead's trademark jibes and quips. The palette supports this even further by being colourful yet muted with darker tones. This all fits and pays off no end when you see the fantastic final panel. This is an image that is massively poster worthy in my eyes and I loved it.

As a first issue I think this hits a great number of different notes. New and old fans will love it and I strongly suggest getting it even to just take a short look and appreciate the costume!

Matt Puddy was truly taken by surprise by this issue!

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