Captain Marvel: In Pursuit of Flight and Down review

Just as Carol Danvers' new ongoing series hits, we look back at the first two volumes of the Kelly Sue DeConnick penned Captain Marvel!

I had the pleasure of reading two volumes of Captain Marvel, Volume 1: In Pursuit of Flight and Captain Marvel Volume 2: Down. Captain Marvel is one of those iconic, all-American heroes. She’s patriotic and she is an actual captain in the Air Force. Carol Danvers was formerly Ms. Marvel, and when she decided on the name change she lost the mask and gained a less revealing, more mature costume. She’s grown into her role as Captain Marvel, with a sense of responsibility (and a sense of humor) to rival any of Marvel’s biggest heroes.

In Pursuit of Flight opens on the tag-team of Captain Marvel and Captain America battling a dimwitted foe who wants to steal moon rocks “for moon powers!” Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick pits a smartass Captain Marvel against such foes, as well as matters of the heart like her loss of the original Captain Marvel, Kree warrior Mar-Vell. The humor is probably what I love best about Captain Marvel. She even has a friend, Monica Rambeau (another former Captain Marvel), a welcome guest star in Volume 2 of her adventures. Monica and Carol have a great rapport, they sass each other and make fun of how many codenames they’ve both assumed.

Then you’ve got the high energy and hilarious one-shot in which a dinosaur attacks New York. Carol, en route to the vet with her cat in a carrier, has to hand it off to a random bystander and claim it’s a secret Avengers mission. “I’m an Avenger” states Carol in situations with impossible odds, “We call this Tuesday.” Marvel seems to corner the market on the funny one-liners. DC may be a little stricter on this. I guess they don’t want Supes becoming a Seinfeld sketch. Oh wait, they totally did that once.

There’s a bit of time travel involved, and Carol meets the Banshee Squadron: Bijou Kawasaki, Daisy, Rivka, and Jerri. They’re not technically military, but civil service pilots to help the cause. They’re so good, they got the new planes to take soldiers from CA to Hawaii. The girls call their superior Jerri sir not ma’am. These fine heroes are definitely based on the real life lady pilots of WWII.

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[related article: Kelly Sue DeConnick and Christopher Sebela Interview]

The majority of the artwork in the first volume is handled expertly by artist Dexter Soy, in a sort of gauzy, watercolor presentation. When the artwork changes in the second volume, I’m not happy with how Felipe Andrade draws Carol. I don’t like her alien too-far-separated eyes and her ginormous lips under a tiny nose. The art is surely not terrible, I just don’t like how the artist handles his proportions. In another comic, it would work a lot better, but since I was spoiled by the more realistically envisioned work of Dexter Soy, I was more critical.

In the second volume, Down, Carol learns that she has a lesion on her brain and is literally grounded. She’s not allowed to fly. She’s predictably pitted against a flying villain soon after, who tests her moral commitments and her stubbornness.

I greatly enjoy this character because of several reasons: She has to prove herself, first as a captain in the Air Force. She totally nails that goal since she leaves the service as a Colonel and jokes about outranking Captain America. In her superhero persona, she feels the need to prove herself a suitable replacement after the death of Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel. Carol has some inner turmoil and inadequacies to get through, but she doesn’t let it slow her down. She’s also smart. She can piece together clues and figure strategies, even though her preference is “give me something I can hit.”

Captain Marvel is a character you should really check out. She’s got all the benefits of a butt kicking superheroine with a sense of humor that can’t be beat. This is a story that’s serious and fun at the same time, and definitely worth a read.

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4.5 out of 5