Carol Danvers began her heroic career by establishing her identity as Ms. Marvel, a way of honoring Mar-Vell, an alien soldier who had come to Earth as a spy for an invasion force, but ended up protecting the planet from his own people, the Kree. That choice lead the alien soldier to become the first hero in the Marvel Universe to use the identity of Captain Marvel, battling to protect the planet and the entire Marvel Universe before succumbing to cancer in Jim Starlin’s infamous “Death of Captain Marvel” graphic novel.
â€¨Since then, a number of heroes have stepped forward to take up his heroic mantle. In 2012, Danvers became the latest hero to take on Mar-vell’s name as she set aside her Ms. Marvel identity, becoming the title character of the all new “Captain Marvel” series. CBR News spoke with writer Kelly Sue DeConnick about the series current arc which comes to a close this month with issue #8, and the next new reader friendly arc that begins in January.
CBR News: Kelly Sue, in the current arc of “Captain Marvel” you’ve teamed Carol with fellow Avengers and former Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau. These characters obviously come from different backgrounds — Carol was a member of the U.S. Air Force and Monica was a member of the New Orleans Harbor Patrol — but how similar and how different are they in terms of personality?
Kelly Sue DeConnick: They’re both headstrong and quick-tempered, but I’d say Monica is funnier than Carol. I’m probably saying that because of “Nextwave,” but I can live with that.
This arc is also significant in that that it marked the return to the book of a character from Carol’s past in Frank Gianelli. What made you want to bring a relatively obscure character like Frank back?
I just really loved the supporting cast from her time at “Woman” magazine — I brought back Tracy Burke, too — and I wanted to introduce a potential love interest. I wanted it to be someone who was passionate about their own work, someone who was a bit of a trouble magnet. Frank fit the bill.
For readers who are not familiar with Frank, what was his relationship with Carol like in the past?
He was a photographer who freelanced for Carol when she was the editor at “Woman” magazine. The way I’ve conceptualized it, in the years since, he’s moved from shooting fashion to documenting socially conscious subjects.
At the end of “Captain Marvel” #7, Carol rescues Frank from an underwater airplane and boat graveyard just as a gigantic metallic life form is suddenlycreated from the boats and planes that inhabit it. How dangerous is this new metallic foe?
Issue #8 is about doing together what we cannot do alone. That’s all I want to say on that for fear of spoilers.
You co-wrote issues #7-8 with writer Chris Sebala. What was it like working with him, and will he be helping you out again in the future?
I’ve known Chris as long as I’ve known my husband and they’ve been friends since [Matt] Fraction was in school in Chicago. I’m not a fast writer under the best of circumstances, and my schedule took a few serious blows recently due to some health issues in my extended family. I was given so many opportunities this year and I felt like everything was going to slip through my fingers. Marvel suggested a co-writer, and I thought of Chris immediately.
We broke the stories together from what I’d mapped out. Then he wrote the first draft of each script, and I did the second and dialogue. In the end, I still felt ownership of the books, still felt very much in control of Carol’s “voice,” but Chris brought more than just time-saving to the table. The climax of issue #8, for instance, revolves around a maneuver that Chris came up with. I love, love, love it and it was all him.
We made a good team and yes, we will be working on future projects together.
Chris also has a book called “High Crimes” coming from MonkeyBrain soon. I encourage folks to check that out.
You’re writing the new arc that begins in issue #9 on your own. What can you share with us about it?
It’s sort of cruel, but we take these extraordinary characters and then we put them through hell to see what they’re made of, don’t we? I mean, someone on my Tumblr asked me recently what superhero I’d want to be for a day, and for the life of me, I could not think of one. Their lives are too hard for the likes of me, thank you very much.
So in this arc, we take away the thing that means the most in the world to Carol Danvers — we take away her ability to fly. We put her to the test.
But the thing I most want to make sure people know about this issue is that it is a perfect jumping on point — you needn’t know anything about previous arcs or the history of the character to join us. If you’re curious, if you’ve heard good things and you want to try us out, “Captain Marvel” #9 is the perfect issue to do that.
The arc that begins in issue #9 also sees some significant developments for Carol’s personal life in that she gets a job. Can you tell us what that job is or talk about how it might impact her costumed adventures? Carol’s heroic identity is a public one, so will whoever hires her understand about her commitments elsewhere?
She’s going to work for an NGO. And yes, her identity is public and and her boss understands the particulars of her situation.
What can you tell us about the obstacles and adversaries we’ll see in this upcoming arc? I understand we’ll get a new version of the old alien villain, Deathbird —
Deathbird, yes, and another villain who maybe be using Deathbird to his own nefarious ends.
This new Deathbird will be drawn by artist Filipe Andrade, who begins working on the book with issue #9. What do you feel Filipe brings to the book as an artist?
Style. Filipe is a cartoonist who brings an incredibly expressive line to the book. It’s beautiful, even when it’s brutal.
Finally, we’ve talked about some of the specific upcoming elements in Carol’s life, but taking a broader view, what kind of year will 2013 be for “Captain Marvel?”
2012 was about Ms. Marvel becoming Captain Marvel — the passing of the mantle from Mar-Vell to Carol, and Carol having to learn to accept that. Now, we’re moving forward, focusing on Carol’s world through the eyes of those she loves and protects–and most importantly, showing readers why Carol truly is Earth’s Mightiest Hero.
So once again, if you’re intrigued by that and want to give “Captain Marvel” a try issue #9 is a new jumping on point. I can’t hit that point hard enough!
“Captain Marvel” #9 is in stores and available digitally January 16.