Marvel is back at it again, this time with a new #1 issue for Carol Danvers. While the title might be starting again at #1, it isn't a reboot. Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick is dealing with many of the same issues she tackled in Captain Marvel before, mainly the quest for identity and purpose in a volatile, confusing world. This issue is a great on-boarding point for new readers and presents a wide new world of story potential.
Visually, Lopez's art verges on the simplistic, but his canny use of space balances out the relative paucity of finer details. While the previous volumes of Captain Marvel, under other artists, took more of a stylistic approach, that wasn’t for all. The artwork by David Lopez and colored by Lee Loughridge delivers clean, dynamic panels. No major shake-ups or redesigns character-wise, but Carol Danvers still looks pretty darn great. Carol flies, punches, and yells with passion, and even the more grounded scenes feel animated. This will probably provide a more familiar and broader based appeal to readers whose ability to appreciate the stories hindered on art before. The delicately rendered faces are still expressive and fun to look at. His Carol has such a solid presence on the page, with a sense of humor and softness that never once betrays the inherent strength of the character.
Lee Loughridge's colors paint a thematic picture -- we swing from sunny optimism, as embodied in Carol's adorable lieutenant, Kit, to a darker palette as her insecurities and vulnerabilities are brought to the surface. Clear, tone-based colors, influenced by the type of lighting you would find in each scene sell the pages with excitement and life.
The book's opening is more a teaser of what's to come: Carol is in the company of aliens, on a planet that is decidedly not Earth, dealing with a situation we don't quite have enough information to fully understand. But comprehension of the stakes of that particular scenario isn't the issue's primary concern.
Despite the bumps and bruises of her latest adventures, here Carol is a little more stable than we last saw her. She’s in a relationship with James Rhodes, she’s a full-time Avenger, and she’s settled into her new life in her apartment atop the Statue of Liberty, with Kit as her eager sidekick Lieutenant Trouble. Even for it, she’s still restless on Earth, unsure of her place in the universe in the face of all of these changes. As she looks to the stars for answers, Iron Man arrives to offer her a position on a deep-space Avengers explorer post. Craving some much-needed distance between her and her life, she takes the job, leading to the promise of newfound adventure in the far-flung regions of known space. Her galactic adventures are positioned as the ground on which she will, hopefully, find herself. It's a promising start to a series that will, potentially, cover new ground for Carol Danvers on her road to self-discovery.
Kelly Sue DeConnick knows how to connect with her fan base -- and I'm not just talking about the Carol Corps. She's excellent about slipping pop culture references into dialogue without making it feel forced or inauthentic to a character's voice. Carol comes across as someone you'd want to hang out with; it's a welcome level of accessibility for a mainstream hero. DeConnick also brings other Marvel Universe characters into a solo book more seamlessly than anyone; everything feels truly organic, because of course other Avengers would be on the scene for critical Earth-saving missions. Iron Patriot and Iron Man very much have a natural place in this issue; as much as Kit or any of Carol's title-specific supporting cast and the ensuing banter is just charming. Fighting, flying and cunning dialogue transport you on an adventure that makes you want to see just how Carol end up on the wrong end of a secret space police and where it will take her next.
The Captain is suited up for another heart-bending series that will whisk you away to galaxies unknown. This first issue teases of things to come and the onset of the journey that brought her to a Mos Eisley style run-in far from Earth. So few solo titles right now manage to balance action with meaningful character development and this title makes it look effortless, making this a truly enjoyable reading experience from start to finish.