The Captain Marvel movie is due to arrive in theaters next week and comics fans everywhere are excited. Carol Danvers has become one of Marvel Comics’ major players in recent years and the new movie is poised to reflect that. Yet there is one problem posed for those non-comic readers who have been snared by the trailers – where do I start if I want to check out the comics?
While there’s no limit to the material potential Carol Corps recruits can examine, it’s hard to pick an entry point. There have been several volumes of Captain Marvel over the past few years and while most of it is good, not all of it is easily accessible to newcomers. Even the new Captain Marvel monthly series requires a fair bit of explanation after only two issues, with Carol Danvers and several other heroes trapped in a post-apocalyptic alternate dimension. Good stuff, but not really representative of who the character is and what she usually deals with.
Thankfully, Marvel Comics, in their wisdom, have released this wonderful little one-shot to meet that mighty need. Captain Marvel: Braver & Mightier is just the thing for new readers, whether they want to bone up beforehand or come into the comic shops excited after seeing the Captain Marvel movie.
Jody Houser’s script is more focused on character and action than history or continuity. The story is split between two subplots, with Carol facing down an alien invasion force as two students, reporters for their school’s newspaper, try to think of a good question to ask her if she manages to make it to the Carol Danvers’ Day event being held at a local USAF base. How they view Captain Marvel and how she faces her enemies show us everything we need to know about Carol Danvers and her powers. (Those who are more interested in the details of Carol’s powers and her history would do well to check out the recent and excellent Life of Captain Marvel mini-series.)
The artwork is as uniformly excellent as the writing. Simone Buonfantino draws a mighty fine action sequence and their take on Carol looks appropriately powerful and confident. One nice subtle touch is that we rarely see Carol depicted on a 90 degree axis, subtly suggesting the weightless environment of low orbit where most of the action of the issue is set. Rather than making the entire book look slightly askew, it further emphasizes Carol’s power as she seems to move against the pull of the Earth with every action she takes.
All in all, Marvel Comics couldn’t have published a better book in anticipation of hooking the new readers that the Captain Marvel movie seems certain to attract. There’s no complicated backstory to unpack here – just one super soldier kicking butt and taking names. It isn’t the most in-depth analysis of Carol Danvers’ but it is great for what it is – a solid adventure story with wonderful art which profiles one of Marvel’s mightiest heroes for the benefit of new readers.