Sunday 12 May 2019
#CBR11 Book 17-20: "Captain Marvel: In Pursuit of Flight", "Captain Marvel:Down", "Avengers Assemble: The Enemy Within" and "Avengers Assemble: Infinity" by Kelly Sue DeConnick and assorted artists
Rating: 4 stars
Back in the summer of 2016, I read what I believed to be the first trade in a run about Captain Marvel, but that turned out to be incorrect and Marvel had just been stupid in how they were rebranding and renumbering their comics. As I came to discover, the reason there was so little back story given about Carol Danvers, her powers and her role in the Avengers, is because despite being entitled Vol 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More, it was by no means the start of Kelly Sue DeConnick's run.
Rather let down by the experience, I put Captain Marvel on the back burner and decided to read other things instead. Then she became the first female superhero to get her own standalone film in the MCU, and it felt like I should probably give her another chance. I always prefer to read the source material before seeing a movie (although honesty forces me to admit that when it comes to the MCU, Captain Marvel is more the exception than the rule. My husband has nagged me for years to read Ed Brubaker's run on Captain America (which forms the basis for much of The Winter Soldier and some of Civil War and that's still firmly on the TBR list). Anyway, I had some of the comics and sat down to read them the weekend before I was going to the cinema to see Captain Marvel. As is sadly the norm for these reviews now, that was more than two months ago now, so my recollection of the various stories is a bit fuzzy.
Hence this review is going to to be light on the various plots of the books and focus more on my reactions to the stories (as far as I can remember them now). All this vagueness makes for thrilling reading, I know. Sorry. I should also mention that if you haven't read these comics before seeing the film, there are some spoilers regarding the motivations of some characters. Nothing major, because the film does its own thing, with mostly the costume and Carol's name taken from the comics, but still - I was able to predict some things that could be considered spoilery.
In In Pursuit of Flight, Carol Danvers actually ends up travelling back in time when trying to set a new flight record, and helps a group of female fighters battle a sinister enemy during World War II. In Down, she reunites with the previous Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau, and they work together to fight an alien threat coming from the ocean depths. There was also a Captain Marvel/Avengers Assemble cross over focusing on Carol's past, which gave insight into how she got her powers in the first place (in flashbacks), in the actual story, she's having seizures every time she tries to fly and horrible headaches. There is an old enemy of hers staging attacks all over New York and she needs the help of the Avengers to stop the various enemies and figure out what is going on. There was also more of a big space cross over thing, which was less interesting, probably because I suspect it would have helped to read more of the surrounding issues, and they weren't included in the trade.
I read the comics, not knowing all that much about Carol Danvers, and then shortly afterwards watched the film. I've now seen the movie twice, and I really like Carol as a character, both in these comics and in the film. I think it's absolutely abysmal that it took the MCU twenty one films to make one focusing on a woman, but this review is not really the place to go into that. Because it's been two months since I read the comics, it's difficult for me to separate my view of comics Carol with movie Carol. Suffice to say, having now read a lot more of Kelly Sue DeConnick's early run on the title, I should probably go re-read Higher, Further, Faster, More, since I suspect it'll make a lot more sense.
Judging a book by its cover: As this review covers a number of Captain Marvel trade collections, let's just skip over this part. The covers are cool, some using art reminiscent of the golden and silver age of comics. Carol's new Captain Marvel costume looks awesome, so much better than her old "bathing suit" one.