Carol Danvers is one of my favorite Marvel characters. Her shift from Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel has helped elevate her character into one of the top tier Marvel characters, a spot she has earned. Kelly Sue DeConnick’s great run in particular went a long way in establishing Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel. With that said the last few years have not been kind Carol Danvers. The roles she has been placed in for various Marvel events and her recent solo comics, including The Life of Captain Marvel, have been extremely disappointing. But now with a major live-action movie starring Brie Larson as Carol Danvers coming out in a few months this is a good time for Captain Marvel and fans to get a fresh start. That is exactly what Captain Marvel #1 should be with Kelly Thompson, one of my favorite new writers in Marvel’s talent roster, at the helm.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Carmen Carnero
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In Lower Manhattan Captain Marvel and Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) team-up to stop a monster wreaking havoc on the city. They are able to drive the monster into the ocean. Unfortunately in the midst of that the monster grabs an innocent girl standing nearby. Captain Marvel acts quickly by diving after the monster and saving the girl from being eaten, stopping the monster’s rampage in the process.
As Captain Marvel and Spider-Woman talk about how to clean up the ocean from the monster’s remains Tony’s Iron Man armor fleet. After some small talk Tony says he’ll see Captain Marvel later.
Once Iron Man’s armor fleet leaves with the monster Captain Marvel reveals to Spider-Woman that she has been ignoring Tony’s request to meet-up but can’t ignore it anymore.
A little later Carol meets with Tony over at Stark Unlimited’s headquarters. Tony tells Carol that the Avengers want her back on the team now that she is done with her sabbatical. Carol says she is definitely back on the team.
Tony then asks her to do an interview, which the rest of the Avengers elected her to do. Carol rejects that. Tony tells Carol that they need her to because of the time they are living in means they need to shape it into something positive to make people feel safe.
He goes on to say that people see Carol as an unknown because most of her adventures are in space, something the public has no idea what they are about. Carol finally agrees to do the interview.
While they walk around Tony asks Carol for another favor. Tony reveals that Hazmat (Jennifer Takeda) has come to Stark Unlimited for help but hates him so he thought Carol would do well in being her mentor. Carol watches one of Hazmat’s training sessions, which ends with her writing “Iron Man You Suck” on the ground. Carol agrees to mentor Hazmat.
Tony introduces Carol to Jennifer and leaves them to talk.
Carol asks Jennifer why she came to Stark Unlimited. Jennifer reveals she is just using Tony for his tech as her powers have been out of control so he built her a new suit to help. Carol says she understands what it means to have trouble with powers and offers to help Jennifer out. Jennifer questions her motives but Carol says she is going to help her no matter what.
James Rhodes suddenly appears and Carol immediately apologizes for not being in contact. Jennifer senses the awkwardness in the room so she decides to leave them alone while agreeing to Carol’s mentorship.
Now alone Carol admits she is happy that Rhodey is not dead anymore because his death broke her. Rhodey says he is happy to be back and asks Carol to go on a walk with him.
A little later Carol and Rhodey catch up while eating dinner, with Rhodey mentioning the new tank armor he is piloting. Carol jokes about what Rhodey’s new superhero name should be. As they go back and forth Carol checks her phone as she is worried that Jessica hasn’t contacted her on an update to a situation in Roosevelt Island. She decides to put her phone away to continue enjoying her time with Rhodey.
As they lean in for a kiss they are interrupted by Ripley Ryan, a writer for Ms. Magazine, who is doing the interview Tony mentioned. She quickly apologizes for interrupting but Carol just blames Tony for it.
They walk out of the restaurant to talk about the interview. Ripley says she is writing a piece called “Day In The Life Of Captain Marvel.”
Suddenly Carol is attacked by the Nuclear Man, who sends her into a building. Rhodey calls Tony for back-up as Carol quickly changes into her Captain Marvel gear and starts fighting Nuclear Man.
Captain Marvel is able to knock Nuclear Man out quick by smashing him into the ground.
Captain America, Iron Man and Thor to respond to the scene. As Captain Marvel talks to them Nuclear Man recovers and immediately blasts everyone back with his Will-Weakening Ray. Captain Marvel tries to attack him but Nuclear Man quickly knocks her back.
Nuclear Man decides to leave. Before he does he grabs Ripley as his “prize” and goes through a portal that leads into a post-apocalyptic city. Captain Marvel quickly enters the portal before it close to try to save Ripley. Iron Man, Thor and Captain America try to follow her but the portal closes before they can reach it.
Thor wonders what Captain Marvel will have to deal with now. Rhodey says not to worry as Captain Marvel will defeat Nuclear Man before they can even figure out how to open a new portal to get her back.
Elsewhere Captain Marvel, Spider-Woman, Hazmat and others are shown in new gear ready for a fight. End of issue
The Good: Captain Marvel #1 does a good job acting as a reset point for Carol Danvers. This issue is all about giving Carol a fresh start coming off her sabbatical The Life of Captain Marvel. In that way Kelly Thompson succeeds in making sure to give Carol a fresh starting point for herself and new readers coming on board with Captain Marvel #1.
Right out of the gate Thompson starts Captain Marvel #1 on the right note by reminding readers of Carol Danvers evolution. That first page showing the various looks and power level Carol has had over the years is a good note to fans, both new and old, that she is a character with a rich history. Like Spider-Man and Iron Man, all of those eras for Carol has helped define her as she has taken over as Captain Marvel and made that role her own.
From there Thompson quickly reminds us why Carol is a great character by placing in a situation she is best in as she works quickly to stop an alien monster. This major fight helped showcase Carol’s power level as Captain Marvel along with her quick thinking in the middle of battle. Her quick thinking made the moment where she immediately dove into the monster’s mouth to save the young girl a big moment. That perfectly summarized who Carol is and set up how she went after Nuclear Man in order to save Ripley Ryan at the end of this issue.
Setting up what kind of hero Carol is as Captain Marvel was nicely balanced out with how Thompson highlighted her relationship with her peers. Carol’s friendship with Jessica Drew was especially refreshing. It’s a friendship we haven’t seen tapped into a lot recently as Jessica Drew has faded into the background a bit the last few years. Thompson does a good job in addressing this fact and showing how even though it had been a while Carol and Jessica don’t miss a beat in being a great duo. The ease in how they teamed up and had a casual conversation was the perfect way to show the reader their close friendship. It all came off as natural like whenever you catch up with your best friend from college.
Balancing that close friendship out is the one Carol has with Tony. Thompson does a good job continuing the animosity between the two. At the same time we are seeing more and more signs that Carol and Tony’s friendship is slowly being repaired, which is an important thing for both characters. Tony being the one to reach is the right move since he has instigated a lot of turns in his friendships over the years. Through this Thompson is able to paint Tony as someone who is looking out for Carol as he does put her in a situation, while she finds it annoying, can help her in the long run re-establish her in the long run as Captain Marvel.
The other important relationship that Thompson was smart to spotlight was the one between Carol and Rhodey. These two have been separated for a long time due Rhodey’s death during Civil War II. Having a reunion between the two was another good way to show a different side of Carol outside of being Captain Marvel. Even though it was tough to get back into the groove of their previous relationship Thompson did a good job showing that the spark between Carol and Rhodey still exists. As this new volume of Captain Marvel continues I hope we see Carol’s relationship with Rhodey explored as a sub-plot along with her friendship with Jessica Drew.
With all these relationships with her peers established it was interesting to see Thompson set Carol up to also have a mentor role with Hazmat. This was an unexpected move that fits well with who Carol is. At this point Carol is one of a veteran hero who has been involved in a lot of major events and dealt with with her changing power levels. That experience positions her well for someone like Hazmat whose character arc has been about her powers hindering how she interacts with others. With how Carol interacted with Hazmat in Captain Marvel #1 there is enough potential shown that this could be a fun long-term sub-plot for this series to explore.
With how Captain Marvel #1 was going down the typical first issue superhero direction I liked that Thompson threw us a curveball in terms of direction for the first story arc. Immediately throwing Captain Marvel into a post-apocalyptic setting gives a different situation to deal with that is out of her comfort zone. It’s also a nice change of pace from all the other superhero stories we are getting in other Marvel comics.
Carmen Carnero delivered great artwork throughout Captain Marvel #1. From the action to the talking head scenes Carmen filled the issue with a ton of energy. Adding in Tamra Bonvillain vibrant coloring made the action scenes stand out even more. There was a clear impact when punches were thrown. The monster fight in the beginning was particularly well done to create a strong start to how the rest of this issue will look.
The Bad: The one thing that of Captain Marvel #1 was the use of Nuclear Man. The character was just another generic villain who felt like a one-off antagonist rather than a major threat. Some of his dialogue also felt off as there was a point when Nuclear Man is talking about his Will Weaking-Ray that he just makes a comment on women that pushes Captain Marvel to power past it. It was the type of dialogue that did not feel needed to give Captain Marvel more motivation to defeat Nuclear Man. It reminded me of old school wrestling tactics of insulting an audience to get cheap heat for a heel.
Overall: Captain Marvel #1 accomplishes its goal of providing a fresh jumping on point for new and long-time readers. Kelly Thompson identifies what makes Carol Danvers great by highlighting her history and exploring some of her most important relationships. While the generic villain Captain Marvel fights was disappointing the shift in setting provides an interesting hook for the rest of this story arc. If you are someone looking to get into who Carol Danvers is before the movie comes out I recommend giving Captain Marvel #1 a try.