Sunday, July 22, 2012

Captain Marvel #1: Christian's Review of this Marvel Reboot

Captain Marvel #1
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick 
Artist: Dexter Soy
Cover: Ed McGuinness, Dexter Vines, and Javier Rodriguez
July 18, 2012

Full disclosure: I asked Courtney to review this book before me because I felt like I was opposed to  the idea of rebooting Ms. Marvel from the very start. After reading her review, I felt that maybe my opposition to this fresh take was clouding my judgement, and so I read the book without any expectations of what I was getting into.

And I still hated this comic. 

I know that many people are supporting this book because it is the only book published by Marvel right now starring a female lead character, and I applaud that. There needs to be more positive representation of women in Marvel comics, and any initiative to getting more books in stores that pushes that agenda forward, is something that I support. But only on the condition that the books are actually any good. 

Captain Marvel #1 does not meet that criteria. 

First, there's the writing. It tries way too hard at establishing Captain Marvel as a bad-ass, with more military rank than Captain America and a power set to match, but who can't seem to get enough credit because she is a woman. I know that this is an issue that many women are forced to deal with every day, and it's unfair, and misogynist, and I wish it would change, but in this book it just feels so blatant and obvious. 

Even without turning The Absorbing Man into a crude misogynist (which they do), this book is way too on-the-nose about its agenda. It doesn't help that the story, which should be the focus of the issue is all over the place. Seriously, there are like three plot lines and no clear indication of where this book is going. 

Oh, and did I mention that there are like three butt-shots of Captain Marvel in this, when Captain American gets no ass-time?

It's the feminist equivalent of a Jeph Loeb comic.  

I can agree with changing Carol Danver's codename from Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel on the basis that she is actually ranked Captain in the U.S. Air Force, and Ms. Marvel is a pretty condescending name for a superhero. The costume change, I am less supportive of, for the simple reason that I don't think its design is as iconic as the original. 

Of all the female characters in the Marvel Universe, I never though that Ms. Marvel's costume was the costume that desperately needed changing. In fact, her costume was one of my favorites of all the Marvel heroines. Her new suit is similar to the one worn by the original Captain Marvel decades ago, and I appreciate that nod to past continuity, but I don't think it's a look that will last. 

With all that being said, my issues with the story and the changes to the character are relatively minor when compared to how I feel about the art in this book. I don't even want to talk about the garish, kitschy cover. Ugh. The previews for the Rosie the Riveter-inspired  cover to #2 looks even worse! 

The interior art is murky, the characters all look like they have jaundice, and the dark, thick-lined style of Dexter Soy's art is completely mismatched with DeConnick's optimistic, high-flying story. 

There is one panel in this book where I completely lost my shit, because it look liked Captain America was a Skrull! "He looks like a fucking skrull!" I declared, as I threw the book down. I can't even tell you the last time I threw a comic book! 

For those of who want to support this book because you want more representation for women in Marvel comics, I recommend you wait until Betty Ross takes over as the lead character on Jeff Parker's Hulk series. 

I really don't like giving bad reviews to comics that I want to succeed, and I do want this to succeed because I love the character of Ms. Marvel and the Captain Marvel legacy. But it isn't worth continuing that legacy if it means poorly written and drawn reboots like this. 


  1. Wow. After re-reading this, I have to say that this was a pretty harsh review.

    Three issues into Captain Marvel, and I can happily report that I am fine with how the story is progressing. DeConnick is a good writer and while I think the overall rhetoric could be toned down, it's not as bad as this first issue struck me.

    I still think that Dexter Soy is the wrong artist for this book though. Captain Marvel needs an artist like Terry Dodson or Mike Allred to make this book fun and exciting. The tone of this book is all off in my opinion, but that's not DeConnick's fault (at least, I don't think it is).

    I still prefer Captain Marvel's old costume, and I don't think we've seen the last of it (certainly not at Comic boon conventions, anyways), but this comic isn't terrible, it's just pretty average.