Have you ever seen a little girl run so fast she falls down? There’s an instant, a fraction of a second before the world catches hold of her again… A moment when she’s outrun every doubt and fear she’s ever had about herself and she flies. In that one moment, every little girl flies. I need to find that again. Like taking a car out into the desert to see how fast it can go, I need to find the edge of me… And maybe, if I fly far enough, I’ll be able to turn around and look at the world… And see where I belong.
—Captain Marvel #1 (2014).
Last year I was struck with tragedy: namely, the news that the ongoing Captain Marvel series that began in 2012 would end with issue #17. Cap’s enthusiastic fanbase, the Carol Corps, were heartbroken… until we found out that Carol would be coming back in a new series starting in 2014. As of now, three issues of that new series have come out, and I figured it was time to give them some love.
To quote the inimitable Kelly Sue DeConnick, “Captain Marvel can punch through a fucking planet. The challenge is to put her in situations she can’t solve by punching.” The last volume dealt with Carol facing as internal a threat as you can face: a tumor in her brain. While she did eventually overcome it, she had to sacrifice a lot of her memory to do so. She does remember people, but she has difficulty relating to them in the same way she once did. When that series ended, she had begun “tutoring” with her young fan Kit, who was teaching her how to be Carol again.
At the start of this series, Cap seems to be doing better, but she’s still feeling restless on Earth. So when Tony Stark, who recently spent some time in the far reaches of the galaxy himself, suggests that the Avengers should take turns doing a stint in space, even her burgeoning relationship with James “Rhodey” Rhodes doesn’t stop her from volunteering.
Her first job in space is transporting a young alien girl she and Rhodey found in a cryopod in Earth’s atmosphere back to her planet. After a run-in with some space pirates, she finds herself in an alliance with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Unfortunately, the alien girl, Tic, overhears Peter Quill talking about his father, the King of Spartax, and misses out on the part where the two men are estranged. Her people have been dicked around by the Spartax Empire, so in her anger she ambushes them and steals Carol’s ship.
Eventually the girl sees reason, and Carol’s able to get her to her planet. Unfortunately, though, there’s a complication. Tic’s home planet was destroyed during the events of the Infinity story arc, and her people have been relocated to a planet where the environment is making them sick. The Spartax want to relocate them again, but the people mistrust them, and know that if they leave they will have to leave the significant number of their sick behind to die. Carol is faced once again with a situation she can’t punch better: helping to care for the ill while also trying to negotiate the fraught relationship between Tic’s people and the Spartax.
I’m already loving this series. It’s a fresh new take on a character I’ve come to love, and while I did like Filipe Andrade’s somewhat polarizing art on the last CM run, I really love current artist David Lopez’s take on the story. Furthermore, from a character perspective, I think space will be good for Carol. She can make as many goofy Star Wars references as she wants without being written off as a huge freakin’ nerd, for one thing. More seriously, I think that it will be a good character growth opportunity for her to deal with this sort of delicate diplomatic problem.
Plus, issue #1 opens on a flash-forward to Cap, Tic, and Tic’s friends pulling off (or, well, trying to pull off) a Firefly-esque heist in a crowded space market—so if you weren’t already in it for the general awesomeness of Carol herself, there’s a Cap-as-space-bandit storyline coming down the pipes for you to look forward to.
I’m also excited, tentatively, because rebooting this comic and introducing Carol to the Guardians of the Galaxy not six months before the GOTG movie premieres seems like a sign that we might finally be getting Carol in the MCU. That may be total blind optimism, but I’m clinging to it until I have proof to the contrary.
Have any of my readers picked up this new series? What are your thoughts so far?