Saturday, July 21, 2012

Captain Marvel #1

See, I really want to like this comic.

I was a big fan of Marvel's original Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell), even though he went through numerous changes as the assorted creative teams tried to come up with a winning combination.

He was a Kree Warrior who used advanced technology to fight the bad guys, he was super-powered up, sent into the Negative Zone and could exchange places with Rick Jones, he became cosmically aware, fought Thanos, escaped the Negative Zone and became a cosmic hero - and then he died.

His legacy (and name) continued with varying success, as the name was handed off to other characters, including a new hero (now Photon, I think) and his son (not sure what happened to him - dead, maybe?).

Carol Danvers became a hero as a result of one of Cap's adventures, and she became Ms. Marvel - at first wearing a cutout version of Cap's uniform, then getting her own, Dave Cockrum-designed costume. She's also gone through quite a few changes, but for a while now she's been part of the Avengers.

For reasons that defy explanation (except that Marvel owns the rights to the name and someone has to fill the title), Carol decides to take the name of Captain Marvel. She dons a new costume (somewhat modeled on the Gil Kane-designed version from the '70s) and sets out to honor Cap's memory.

It doesn't really make sense, since Carol Danvers was a Colonel in the Air Force - but what does logic have to do with it?

This issue, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, reintroduces the character and establishes some of her inspirations - but the story never really takes off. I like some of the dialogue, but you don't get much of a sense of who Carol is and why we should care about her. And the opening action scene didn't make much sense at all.

I really struggled with the art, too. The issue features a wonderful, sleek cover by Ed McGuinness, Dexter Vines and Javier Rodriguez, but the interior art is a completely different style. Dexter Soy creates a dark, grim setting for Carol's adventures. The painted art is terrific, but the dark feel doesn't seem to match the promise of the cover. And I don't understand the mask at all (sometime it's there, sometimes it isn't).

An origin issue needs to establish the character, her supporting cast, the extent of her powers or set up an ongoing storyline - and this issue doesn't manage any of those.

It's not a bad issue at all - it offers some insights, and puts the story in motion - but it didn't really work for me. But then, I still miss Mar-Vell.

Grade: B-


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