Mighty Captain Marvel Review #1
Writer: Margaret Stohl
Artist: Ramon Rosanas
Colorist: Michael Garland
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga
Publisher: Marvel Comics
A review by Nico Sprezzatura.
Leading up to her cinematic debut in 2019’s Captain Marvel, the past few years have seen Carol Danvers getting a massive push to the forefront of the Marvel Universe. Since her promotion from Ms. to Captain in 2012, Marvel’s been trying their hardest to promote Carol as their new flagship heroine to… mixed results, and Mighty Captain Marvel is their latest attempt at propping her up.
In the half-decade since becoming Captain Marvel, Carol has headlined five different volumes of comics, none of them surpassing twenty (hell, even fifteen) issues with a consistent creative team. Kelly Sue DeConnick notably penned volumes seven and eight, as well as the Carol Corps limited series for Secret Wars (the latter of which with Kelly Thompson), but artist turnover on each fluctuated wildly. By contrast, volume nine regularly featured Kris Anka’s art, but saw a writing switch from Agent Carter’s Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters to Ruth and Gage Christos midway through, for its requisite Civil War II tie-in arc.
And Civil War II sure was a thing that happened recently, huh? For the uninformed, Carol played a major part in CWII, functionally replacing Steve Rogers as Tony Stark’s opposition in their central conflict. Making a long, drawn out, much-delayed story short, Carol’s pro-stance on predictive justice ends up winning out (at the expense of putting Tony in a coma), which apparently makes her the most popular superhero in the Marvel Universe as a result. Oh, and the POTUS basically offers her his job, if she so chooses to take it. Kinda worth mentioning.
And after all that exposition, that’s where our story begins. (Or rather, it began in last month’s zero issue, which could’ve easily been the first issue? I don’t understand why some zero issues get published before #1s.)
Mighty Captain Marvel #1 (written by Beautiful Creatures’ and Black Widow: Forever Red’s Margaret Stohl, drawn by Astonishing Ant-Man’s Ramon Rosanas, colored by Michael Garland, and lettered by VC’s Joe Caramanga) has a lot of baggage to deal with. Despite CWII ostensibly raising public opinion of Carol in-universe, the same can’t be said about readers in ours. Having read Mighty Captain Marvel #1, I’m not totally sure if we’re meant to approach it with the aforementioned meta-context in mind.
I’ll start with the good. Above all else, Stohl seems to have a pretty good handle on Carol as a character. With shared superhero universes that span decades and a multitude of writers, there’s never one portrayal of any character that’s definitively “them,” so nailing someone’s voice can be tricky. Carol herself is no stranger to this. In her time, she’s been Ms. Marvel, Binary, Warbird, Ms. Marvel again, and presently Captain Marvel. She’s gone from slightly meek to headstrong and confident (often to a fault) but always remained loyal and heroic, even in the face of self-doubt and adversity. Stohl pretty much nails as much here.
Whether it’s her interactions with bestie Jessica Drew (a.k.a. Spider-Woman), dealing with a displaced Kree girl from the (recently-destroyed) Hala, or commanding Alpha Flight, the Carol we’ve come to know over the past decade is present here, and that bodes well for the future of this title.
The art is also worth noting. I was a big fan of Ramon Rosanas’ art on Nick Spencer’s Astonishing Ant-Man, and all the qualities I liked there have been successfully carried over here. It’s clean, lively, and pleasant to the eye, flowing naturally from panel to panel. Michael Garland’s color compliments Rosanas’ renderings nicely, lending them a naturalistic, warm feel that’s in keeping with Carol’s character. Despite her otherworldly origins, Carol’s very much a human character, and the art helps to serve the story told here.
With that said, I’m not sure if Carol’s actions during Civil War II are given nearly as much weight as they should be here. She essentially killed Tony in that event’s climax, and operated (uncharacteristically) like an authoritarian dictator throughout.
Outside of a few cursory references to how the majority of her friends are either dead or avoiding her, and establishing that Alpha Flight is no longer being funded by their board as much as they were pre-CWII, I just don’t know if Carol’s made to deal with the fallout of her stance on predictive justice, which, again, barely gets any mention here. In all fairness, her CWII fallout could be addressed in upcoming issues, but it’s just weird to me that it seems like an afterthought here.
Wait and See. There’s nothing objectively bad with Mighty Captain Marvel #1. It’s well-written and well-drawn, but it doesn’t address Carol’s actions during CWII as much as it probably should. After reading this and its preceding zero issue, I think I’ll have to revisit Mighty Captain Marvel #1 a bit later. Carol Danvers is one of my favorite superheroes, so I’ll definitely keep tabs on her latest adventures; it’s just not priority for me right now.