“Captain Marvel” wraps up its first big arc, and #9 comes out just in time for you to pick it up. Should you pick it up? Lets find out.
(Spoiler alert: YES.)
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Illustrated by Filipe Andrade
A PERFECT JUMPING-ON POINT FOR FANS NEW AND OLD! PART ONE OF A NEW STORY.
* Carol finally returns home, but is changed. What is weakening Captain Marvel’s powers?
* PLUS: Carol gets a JOB.
* Find out why CAPTAIN MARVEL is being hailed as one of Marvel’s best new series this year!
Let’s all agree to one thing: the thing that is and has been “cool” in comics for some time now, the thing that we’ve sort of been trained to accept and believe and get excited about, is that all we need from comics is BIG GAME-CHANGING STORIES where everything is on the line and no one will make it out unscathed. That is, with no doubts, what sells superhero books; whether it be at DC or Marvel, these big event-y type books dominate the sales charts in one form or another, and that is very much the truth that casually looking at racks in shops or solicits online will present you with. It seems that the lighter side of comics is mostly reserved for other publishers, who can more easily get away with publishing books where you get a glimpse of superheroes in the real world, doing real and boring things like taking the cat to the vet and buying bagels. I mean, who would even want to read about that? Who has time for it?
Your answer: “Captain Marvel” does. And if you’ve been on the fence about hopping into this book for any particular reason, then it should be known that you really need this book in your life.
Why? Pure and simple: “Captain Marvel” is the ultimate palate cleanser for superhero ennui. Not to belittle any other work (as that’s very much not the intention), but reading so many superhero books where everyone’s always fighting to survive can become a bit overbearing. In actuality, it can even become a bit depressing, when there is so little sunlight to be found in a world where all of these amazing things can happen. But the latest issue of “Captain Marvel,” in all of its infinite wonder and inherent wisdom, offers up a change of pace, something to give you the best of both worlds – there’s big superhero-y action where dinosaurs get punched (dinosaurs!), and then there’s more quiet moments in which reality is presented on the pages of the unreal and we are brought that much closer into the Marvel universe thanks to Carol’s grounded perspective. It’s the best of both worlds, and it’s a very welcome shift in pace where the large majority of Marvel books out this past Wednesday are chalk full of high stakes and important moments for continuity and character.
That’s what makes this book so great, and that’s why “Captain Marvel” #9 is a pretty perfect example of why you should be buying the series as a whole. The issue finds Carol, hot off of a fun time-travel filled adventure as well as a trip to the depths of the sea, coming back home to take care of “ordinary” things on a day-off. Day-off issues are very tricky to pull off right generally speaking, but “Captain Marvel” portrays it with unparalleled ease; from the opening sequence with Tony Stark (where the new and more sassy Gillen-esque version of the character is marvelously captured) to the ending in which various paths get crossed for a smile-fueled ending, this is the type of book where the character of Carol Danvers is fully on display in order to show off what makes the character worthy of following in the first place. This is quite literally a book full of personality, and that becomes its major selling point — there’s no need for the universe to hang in the balance and for Carol to need to punch her way to the heart of a dying sun in order to wake a dreaming Celestial or something because Carol is a character worth following because of regular, ordinary and “boring” things as simple as as owning a lucky hat.
Meditate on that thought for a moment: what other book can boast that? What other book can result in fans instantly putting together a hat featured in the pages of the book? None. And that makes “Captain Marvel” very special indeed. It’s why “Captain Marvel” is so crucial to the ecosystem of Marvel comics — the balance it offers of both the possible and impossible entwined with cats, “sweet” old ladies, gangsters, dinosaurs and friendship is the breath of fresh air that we need while being bogged down by gloom and doom elsewhere. It’s a unique entity in that it can even afford to have such personal stories in the first place, and it has been full of this aspect in one way or another since it launched. That it has managed to keep that aspect throughout and is now afforded the opportunity to just go full-on with this personality is just the best.
Suffice it to say, Kelly Sue DeConnick’s role in steering Carol’s life in the right direction is what makes the book work. With initial book artist Dex Soy on a break this arc, we’re given an issue in which DeConnick takes the time to really bring the more quirky aspects of the series to the forefront, toning down the superheroic a bit for a while. With stylistic narrative tricks and a great ear for dialogue, Carol and her various cast of characters blow through the pages with great one-liners and personable interactions exactly in line with the best of the Whedonverse, all of which could probably lead to their own memes in the right hands (“Look at this cat I found/it’s really Spider-Man”). DeConnick balances a rather wide cast of characters in this issue, all of whom resonate with very distinct personalities and eccentricity to make them both infinitely familiar and instantly memorable in various ways, and with all of this Carol’s Day Off becomes all the more momentous, up through the last page where DeConnick delivers a surprise whopper of a finale. This issue is basically the id of the comic on full display, and it is everything you want it to be and perhaps a bit more.
New artist to the book Filipe Andrade also gives an intriguing performance with a new take to the world in which Carol lives in. We’ve seen the book through the eyes of Dex Soy and Emma Rios so far, and both have a particular and recognizable style that quickly became intensely familiar for fans of the book. Andrade brings a new variant to this, a style that doesn’t match with either Soy or Rios but rather stands on its own for something fun and different. Andrade brings a very vibrant and kinetic style to the pages that gives the characters a very animated life, and it in turns gives a new way to bring out the personality of the characters, particularly in the case of Carol who goes through quite an ordeal of a day and never seems to lose her bright spark. That said, Andrade’s style has its lows just as much as it has highs; the characters can at time be a bit oddly shaped, stretched or pressed in ways that don’t particularly match any known way of which a human body can particularly bend/ And yet, despite this otherwise mildly off-putting aspect, Andrade fits into the book quickly and makes it his own. It’s not a style as clean-lined and intricate as Rios or as polished and shiny as Soy, but it definitely brings the light-hearted and posi-core ethos of the issue to the forefront of the pages, wonderfully enhanced thanks to the extremely talented Jordie Bellaire, who always seems to know exactly when to use to the best side of the lighter color spectrum. (Can someone just give that woman a medal for coloring already? Seriously. Always makes every book she works on just amazing.)
To be perfectly honest and to break the ostensibly objective fourth wall of a reviewer a bit here, I’m not quite sure why more books like this don’t exist. To a certain level, I “get” it; most superhero fans are probably looking for big, blockbuster action series where the fate of the universe is teetering on the balance in a battle of good and evil and characters deal with moral quandaries and walk the line of hero and villain on a regular basis, and that’s perfectly fine and awesome and fun and acceptable and great to read about on a weekly/monthly basis. On the other hand, it’s so wonderfully refreshing to get a book like “Captain Marvel” out on stands from Marvel, because not only does it break the pace and give us something more personable to read but it also shows why we really love reading about all of these amazing people: they’re just like us. As cheesy or uninspired as that may sound, what repeatedly brings readers back to these books is our ability to connect or relate to the protagonist, and giving an issue like this that both offers a new (and decidedly all-ages, mind you) spot for new readers to join in the fun while also giving current readers a light-hearted and fun issue is the best way to kick off a new storyline for the best hero the Captain Marvel mantle has ever had.*
So if you’re looking for a book that’s fun, open, friendly, endearing and the highest of quality, a book that you can share with anyone you may know and show them both why this series is worth following and why people are so obsessed with superhero comics in the first place, Kelly Sue’s “Captain Marvel” is a great book to do so with — and with Filipe Andrade attached to this arc and things looking like they’ll head in a rather interesting and grounded direction, this is a great point to see what all the fuss is about.
Final Verdict: 9.0 – Buy it with all of your money
*Sorry, Mar-Vell. you’ve been ousted, and you only have Kelly Sue to blame.