Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez take Carol Danvers higher and further with “Captain Marvel” #1, which finds Carol back in space with a brand new supporting cast. DeConnick and Lopez pull out all the stops by diving directly into the action, crafting an energetic, heartfelt start to this new chapter in Carol’s life.
One of DeConnick’s strengths has always been her ability to create fully formed, lovable characters within the space of a few pages and, I’m glad to say, “Captain Marvel” #1 is no exception. Although there’s not much information about Carol’s intergalactic compatriots in this issue, DeConnick focuses in on Tic and fleshes her out by establishing her rapport with Carol, conveying just how sync the characters are through their easy dialogue and inherent trust in one another. In Carol’s evident care for Tic, the reader — in turn — begins to care as well. Likewise, DeConnick never forgets Carol’s supporting cast from the previous arc; they appear in full force, inserting just the right amount of humor and heartwarming moments too numerous to name that ultimately anchor the story. It’s this network of personalities that truly brings Carol’s world to life and, indeed, gives the book its realistic, relatable qualities, no matter how far from home she may be.
Although the story circles back to show how Carol got where she was at the beginning of the issue, the book still feels like it’s missing some vital information. For instance, DeConnick builds Carol’s relationship with Rhodey implicitly at first and then explicitly, which begs the question of how and when they got together in the first place. With this being the only apparent change in Carol’s life since we left her at the conclusion of her last arc, such a development stretches the timeline, throwing into question the time gap between the two runs. That isn’t to say, of course, that the relationship doesn’t work; the two characters have real, palpable chemistry that DeConnick makes clear through the dialogue and Lopez infuses into their body language. In fact, it’ll be a shame if there isn’t more about this in upcoming issues, but — with Carol’s imminent return to space — this doesn’t seem terribly likely; and until this gets a tad more development, their relationship will seem (if you’ll excuse the pun) a little out of the blue.
Lopez provides the book with the strong figure work that a character like Carol Danvers demands. His Carol radiates power in her assured stances and easy movements, especially in action scenes where even her wide swings and punches emanate a certain amount of grace. Additionally, he creates a whole host of fascinating characters, both off-planet and on. He works an astounding amount of detail into the backgrounds, from alien marketplaces to the New York City skyline to a deserted dock. His attention to smaller aspects — such as Carol’s Kree starburst-print pajamas, Kit’s Captain Marvel T-shirt, and some lovely costume transition scenes — really assert the effort and thought that went into the creation of this book. However, his best sequence comes in the middle, which finds Carol and Tony Stark discussing a new assignment as they casually take on a couple of rudimentary thugs; the scene is eye-catching for its action, hilarious for the bumbling reactions from the thugs, and entertaining for the contrast between the dialogue and the visual. Lee Loughridge contributes neatly to Lopez’s style, emphasizing the bright nature of Carol’s world through gorgeous yellows that pop and other bright colors.
This is far from the first time Carol Danvers has been in space, between her stint with the Starjammers, her tie to the Kree, and her obligations to the Avengers. However, under DeConnick’s more-than-capable hands and Lopez’s spectacular pencils, this take on “Captain Marvel” feels fresh, fun and full of life. “Captain Marvel” #1 is a solid jumping on point for fans and, although knowledge of her last run is beneficial, readers new and old will be able to enjoy this stellar issue.