Captain Marvel is Easy to Love, Damn it

Kelly Sue DeConnick is like one of those girls you want to be contrarian and not like, but then you’re assigned to be lab partners with her in chemistry and you CAN’T NOT LIKE HER. Because she actually is awesome.

I mean, I’ve never met her but I spent time with some of her comic books.

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(Madame Eleanides is venerable AND awesome.)

This was my Capt. Marvel #6  review on Newsarama from a couple weeks ago:

Captain Marvel #6

Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by David Lopez and Lee Loughridge
Lettering by Joe Caramagna
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by Lilith Wood
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10

Captain Marvel #6 has one superhero but many heroes. Carol Danvers finally gets to use a little more firepower, but the issue doesn’t quite have the spectacular visual release of the big battle we were promised. Instead, the issue divides itself between military tactics, an uprising, passive resistance, and what’s left of diplomacy for the struggling peoples of Torfa. It’s a solid ending to the first arc, and sets Captain Marvel up to fight another day.

In this issue, Kelly Sue DeConnick continues to balance gravity with a sense of play, and makes the limitations of the standard six-issue story structure look easy. She neatly ties together all the threads of her story, as Captain Marvel and the people of Torfa have their showdown against the Spartax emperor J’son, and the problem of Torfa being a poison planet is resolved. With fun details and carefully chosen moments, DeConnick has made us care about a lot of new characters in just six issues, and this arc ends as it began – with Carol saying a tough goodbye to good friends.

David Lopez’s lines are as clean and classic as Captain Marvel’s flight suit. His visual storytelling makes room for DeConnick’s abundant use of banter and throw-away gags. Lopez helps to establish comedic timing and lets physical comedy and dead-on facial expressions flicker through his panels. The flip side to his sensitivity to humor is an ability to convey more serious feelings, and Lopez’s art comes to the fore at moments when DeConnick’s writing quiets down. One of these times is when the Torfan leader Eleanides commands the civilians around her to disobey the Spartax soldiers by sitting down. When a prominent Torfan dissenter accepts this command, the reader feels the quiet, serious significance of her compliance.

Loughridge’s colors highlight the contrast between a lone superhero holding off space ships above, and the muddle of people down on the surface of Torfa. The shadows of the figures show that it is the golden hour, with thick sunlight coming in sideways. The skin tones and clothing are mostly dull greens, grays and yellows against a yellowish earth and sky. There is a scuffle of diplomacy, fear, defiance and passive resistance. It’s not as obviously heroic as what’s happening above, where Loughridge uses bolder colors and more contrast for Carol’s maneuvers against the Spartax fleet. The battle colors echo the red, blue and gold of Carol’s suit, and each color is fortified. The red is warm, the blue is deep, and the gold is thick and yolky. It might be a suicide mission, but it looks gorgeous, noble, and exciting.

Even though we see Captain Marvel heroically buying time for Torfa by keeping Spartax ships at bay, we never feel immersed in her action scenes. The story always cuts back to other places and events too quickly. In some ways this feels like a missed opportunity for such a muscular creative team, but the story has been about a lot more than action. In the most dynamic panel, Captain Marvel bursts skyward with an explosion behind her and she thinks “this is the closest we get to closure.” She’s referring to the deaths of everyone on the Ring World, and J’son’s willingness to sell out Earth to the Builders during Infinity. Even in the heat of the most climactic moment of this climactic issue, she’s acknowledging it’s not closure, and there might not ever be closure.

The good news is that Captain Marvel is still just getting started on her restless space adventure and now that she’s thwarted the Spartax emperor, we can expect some dust ups down the road. Hopefully some of her new friends will be along for the ride, as they are as good a ragtag interspecies team as there ever was. DeConnick, Lopez and Loughridge work well together to show how people work together, so I think we’ll see more space camaraderie. I hope we see Carol change as a person — her decision to go into space was somewhat escapist, but I have a feeling DeConnick will keep putting her in the middle of situations that feel a lot like real life.

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