Comic Review: Captain Marvel #1 (2014)

Captain Marvel is back. In an effort for full disclosure I have to begin this review by saying I am quite the fan of Carol Danvers. One of the first blog posts I put on Panels And Pixels, and one that still gets attention today, was a commentary on the lack of women in the Avengers movie, and my request for Captain Marvel to appear in Avengers 2 to fix that. I absolutely adore her as a character, and I loved the last volume of the comic. This review is entirely my honest and personal opinion as usual, but I’d feel a little bit uncomfortable if I didn’t admit my history with the character off the bat.

So yes, after a brief hiatus Captain Marvel is back with a brand new number 1. Writer of the previous volume, Kelly Sue DeConnick, is also back in action but this time David Lopez is here to cover the art, while Lee Loughridge is on colours.

The story drops us right onto an alien planet with little context, we find Captain Marvel strutting through a marketplace backed up by a team of wildly varied aliens. This surprising introduction immediately raises plenty of questions, especially when the team run into some trouble. Who they are and why they’re there is a mystery for later, as before long we’re then pulled back to familiar New York and catch up with Carol and her supporting cast.

Beginning six months earlier, the remainder of the issue fills in the blanks as it steadily becomes clear how and why Carol is going to end up where we found her in the opening pages. Returning fans will see some familiar faces but there’s nothing too important that you’ll miss out on if this is your first time checking out the comic. Captain Marvel #1 is a great place for beginners to start with the character, or even comics in general. However if you’re a longtime Marvel reader you might enjoy the little nods to wider continuity that do pop up.

 

Nope, this is the first page and yep, it's as awesome as it looks.

Nope, this is the first page and yep, it’s as awesome as it looks.

 

The artwork is fantastically diverse. From the alien marketplace in the opening moments to a simple birthday party on Earth, everything looks great. I found myself especially enjoying the character work, body language and expressions are masterfully drawn to really bring the characters to life. There’s a conversation towards the end of the issue where you can tell precisely when the mood shifts back and forth from the art alone. Meanwhile the colours are spot on and add plenty of atmosphere, nighttime scenes feel suitably subdued and dim compared to the bright daytime tones. Overall it just really feels like it fits the book, the sheer variety shown proves that Lopez can handle personal, touching moments as well as the big super hero set pieces.

The tone of the book is a charming blend of super heroics with some light humour. I found myself grinning at the issue on more than one occasion, it does a lot towards making the issue very easy to like. But on top of that amusing stuff is a very personal story. Sure, the big action is great to read, but it’s who Carol Danvers is that makes this issue really worth reading. She’s a compelling and complicated character that’s awfully believable. There’s certainly a lack of female comic book characters that feel human and relatable, but Captain Marvel absolutely nails it. If there’s one big draw to this series it’s not any flashy fight scenes, it’s Captain Marvel herself. But if you’re the type of reader that wants some flash with your substance then fear not, there’s still plenty of punches.

Altogether this is simply a brilliant issue. It’s fun but it also hits some emotional beats too. The variety throughout the issue is very impressive across both art and story, better yet it all blends together perfectly. Marvel has really assembled the perfect team for the series and I can’t wait to see where it goes next. If you have any interest in the character, or you want to know what all the Carol Corps fuss is about, then go check out Captain Marvel #1.

 

Author: Mia Violet

Mia has been blogging about comics and video games for several years from her home in merry ol’ England. She invites you to take a look around the blog before saying hello on Twitter, where she can be found tweeting about pop culture from @PanelsAndPixels

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