In a week with both Batwoman and Starling (Birds of Prey), you’d think that the decision for Crush of the Week would be pretty straightforward. But, as much as I love these ladies, I can’t really claim either of them as my Crush. I also considered Silk Spectre from the Before Watchmen series but she didn’t really do anything for me, either.
But, of course, Captain Marvel came out this week and it was as brilliant as I’d hoped it would be. I can’t even talk enough about how awesome she is. And the art, the writing, the set-up, the establishment of her motivation to be a pilot and a hero… God. Yes. Everything. Everything about this comic just fires on all cylinders.
Let’s talk about art first. I opened to the first page and was just floored by how beautiful Dexter Soy’s art is. The color choices are just spectacular. Every panel looks like it could be framed and put on my wall (if you remember what my office looks like, you’d know that this might be an improvement). That battle with the Absorbing Man is just incredible and captivating. I usually kind of gloss over fight scenes in a comic book but I found myself drawn to each and every corner of each and every page.
Carol Danvers is just beautiful and Soy brings out the beauty and the sheer fierceness of this badass lady. She is so strong and doesn’t look at all diminished by being teamed up with Captain America. I was a little worried about the pairing, fearing that maybe his presence would take away from building the mythology that would be the story of this new Captain Marvel but Soy does a fantastic job of keeping Carol feminine but powerful. The scenes where she is flying up into space makes her seem almost god-like. Just by art alone, you can tell that she deserves to be headlining her own series.
Onto the writing. Thank God for Kelly Sue DeConnick. What a breath of fresh air she is. The dialogue Captain Marvel engages in throughout the book is just perfect. Whether she’s in costume or posing a civilian, DeConnick’s depiction of how our hero speaks is so telling. Whether she’s talking to her childhood hero (choosing be respectful but challenging) to dealing with the Absorbing Man’s blatant misogyny (decidedly less respectful but no less challenging), Carol Danvers sounds like a real person dealing with things that anyone might have to encounter (misogyny, not a man who absorbs the properties of any element he touches).
The story explores Carol’s struggle with her heroic identity. The Absorbing Man is kind of a metaphor for how people might react to her resurfacing in this new role. He spends much of the early part of the book mocking her for being a female or relying too much on a man like Captain America, which Carol is perhaps concerned with by taking on the title of Captain Marvel, formerly belonging to a man which whom she has a complicated history. Captain America tries to convince her to take the name but she has her reservations.
It’s while she is spending time with a sick friend and recalling meeting her childhood idol that she ultimately decides that she is worthy of the title of Captain Marvel. But it’s through these flashbacks and encounters that show us what is really important to Carol Danvers. She loves the people in her life, her friends, her brother, her heroes. She has a big heart and while her powers have taken away any chance she has to compete and set records for herself, it allows her to do real good in the world. And it’s that desire to be a hero because it matters to people that makes Ms. Carol Danvers, the new Captain Marvel, and Marvel’s only female title character, my Crush of the Week.