How many Captain Marvels are there? Some people will tell you there are at least 15 across multiple comic book publishers. Some will say there’s just one—Carol Danvers. After reading Captain Marvel Volume 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More, I’d tend to agree with them.
Way back in the 1940s, Fawcett Comics introduced a character named Captain Marvel in the pages of Whiz Comics to cash in on the popularity of Superman and Batman with a superhero of their own. Marvel comics registered a trademark for “Captain Marvel” in the ’60s, forcing DC, who had the character now, to call their book Shazam! Marvel launched their character, Captain Mar-Vell, an alien with the Kree Imperium, soon therafter. Since then, there have been a LOT of characters at Marvel given the name Captain Marvel (due to their need to keep up the trademark). Carol Danvers is the latest, and perhaps the greatest, of those characters; intelligent, capable and a damned lot of fun.
Her powers come from a fusion of her DNA with that of a Kree, making her a hybrid. She can fly, is nearly indestructible, has superstrength and more. If that hasn’t hooked you yet, then by all means, read on.
This book begins in the middle, quickly jumps to the past and then works its way to the “present.” I’ll take a linear approach with my summary. Carol Danvers is an Avenger, one of Earth’s mightiest heroes, a protector of the innocent. She’s also restless, and her friend Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, knows it. So he teases her with the idea of rotating an Avenger out into space, someone who will work with the Guardians of the Galaxy. And who does he think that Avenger should be?
Rhodey, aka War Machine, aka Iron Patriot.
Which is all a ruse to drive Carol batty.
Stark gives her a ship with an AI named Harrison and she heads out into space, bringing with her a comatose young alien girl she intends to return “home.” Those plans are interrupted by a group of mercenaries who try to shoot Harrison out of the sky, forcing Captain Marvel to take flight outside to defend herself and her ship. And the Guardians of the Galaxy to swoop in to help.
Which, by the way, leads to an interaction between Rocket, Captain Marvel, Star-Lord, and Captain Marvel’s cat, that had me laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.
All of this sets Captain Marvel on a path to finding herself and a purpose, something she struggles with in the beginning.
It’s been a while since I’ve had this much fun with a straight “super hero” book. Danvers is an intelligent, witty character. She isn’t perfect, and, in fact, screws some stuff up along the way as she heads out into the wider, space-based part of the Marvel Universe. Which just makes her a better character, in my opinion. She’s discovering herself and having fun doing it, and that comes through to the reader.
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, the whole thing felt as fun and fresh as the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. The fact that Marvel has announced a Captain Marvel movie as part of their Phase 3 is incredibly exciting, more so after reading this book.
I also really enjoyed the art by David Lopez. The style was not the over-the-top Marvel usual.
Best of all, here we have a great character who will appeal to everyone, boy or girl. But I think girls will enjoy the fact that this is a hero for them. Not Spider-Man or Superman. Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers. And she is awesome.
Highly recommend this book and the series.
Patrick Hester is an author, blogger and 2013 Hugo Award Winner for Best Fanzine (Editor - SF Signal), and 2014 Hugo Award Winner for Best Fancast. He lives in Colorado, writes science fiction and fantasy, and can usually be found hanging out on his Twitter feed. His Functional Nerds and SF Signal weekly podcasts have both been nominated for Parsec awards, and the SF Signal podcast was nominated for a 2012, 2013, and 2014 Hugo Award. In addition to his Kirkus posts, he writes for atfmb.com, SF Signal and Functional Nerds.