Marvel’s Civil War II (CW2) event is finally coming to a close. This event stirred the pot as event comics are wont to do, but it did so in ways that are questionable at best, or downright unconscionable at worst.
What they did with Captain Marvel fares closer to the latter category. Carol Danvers (no relation to Kara Danvers) has always been a force for good. Most of the time quite literally a FORCE. She is Marvel’s most powerful hero. We’re going to repeat that because it bares repeating. She, Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel, is Marvel Comic’s MOST POWERFUL hero. She is brash and arrogant, and more comfortable using her strength than her wit in most cases. She is our precious Princess Sparklefists.
The Civil War II narrative, however, made Carol into something of a totalitarian dictator; something she has never been. She is a colonel in the US Air Force, and commander of Alpha Flight, so being in command is nothing new to her, but never before in her role as Ms. Marvel or more recently as Captain Marvel (or any other of the myriad titles she’s carried over the years) has Carol acted the way she has in the event book.
Carol may be pragmatic, but she is also a human person with the same problems and insecurities we all have. She values the advice of her friends, particularly Jessica Drew. Frankly, the whole thing was character breaking for Carol, and as big fans of hers, it’s difficult to watch.
Thankfully, CW2 is over, and we can put it all behind us. Unfortunately for Carol, that may not be easy.
Picking up the pieces
By the end of Carol’s CW2 tie-in, the status quo has returned to the Alpha Flight station. Carol fought with her crew, but it was all a big misdirection. Now she’s back in the chair, but not everything is hunky-dory.
At the start of The Mighty Captain Marvel #0, Carol has insomnia. She is plagued by recurring dreams of a poker game with other heroes she used to call friends being attacked by Iron Man armor. But is it Tony Stark behind the mask? We don’t know because she always wakes up before the unmasking.
Carol’s Alpha Flight-mandated therapist advises her to talk things out. Reach out to her friends. Stop trying to fix everything. Her insomnia is coming from her anxiety, and the only way out is to break away from her responsibilities and face it with a friend.
Unfortunately this is Carol we’re talking about (the real Carol not the CW2 Carol). She’s not the type to get all touchy-feely. So it’s back to her command. Carol’s crew knows something is up with her, but they also love her for saving the world like she did (the only thing in CW2 that was Carol-like) so things are weird for her there as well. Carol literally bumps into Abigail Brand (who is amazing) and is once again told that she’s going to lose it if she doesn’t talk things out. She’s only half unstoppable force, after all. The other half is very human.
A box arrives for Carol. Some of her old things from Earth are inside which triggers some childhood memories. Carol always wanted to go to space, even as a young girl. Her poor South Boston family could only afford to send her brother to college, so she was encouraged to “settle down” and “marry a nice man”. “Put on a skirt once in awhile, comb that crazy hair, all that Girl stuff…” dad says.
Carol enlisted in the Air Force the very next day. Even being the top of her class in the Air Force, she was still a woman before she was anything else. Her drive to succeed was in itself a drive to escape the box everyone had put her in, as less than, as a girl. Space was the only place she could go to drown out the noise.
Even as Captain Marvel, she is defined by the object that gave her her powers. But when she found her power she found herself, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else says.
Hey, There’s a Plot Here Too
Carol’s trip down memory lane is interrupted by an alarm. An unknown ship is on a collision course with the station. Carol has to suit up to go punch some things. It turns out that a shipful of refugees from another world were running from… something. Part of Alpha Flight’s job is taking in interstellar refugees and finding them a home, so they came to the right place even if it was way too fast. What was chasing them? We’ll have to wait and see, because Carol decides it’s time to reach out to her BFF.
Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman) waits for Carol in a diner, and they talk things out. Carol’s been fighting people her whole life for what she believed in, even family and friends, and she’s left a lot of people behind, but she can’t leave Jess behind. And for the second time in as many weeks, we’re emotional over a comic book. What a great time to be a Fandomental.
A quick check-in with the alien refugees shows us a glimpse of a shadowy figure looking for an alien child. Then, finally, Carol gets some sleep, and she sees the one behind the Iron Man mask. It’s not Tony Stark. We won’t tell who it is, but suffice to say it’s very Star Warsian. (Is that a word?)
And the Verdict
Holy crap, does it feel good to have someone who understands and loves Carol back behind the wheel. Kelly Sue Deconnick’s fantastic run, though occasionally derailed by Marvel events (why don’t they ever learn?) established the Carol Danvers that we all know and love today, the Captain Marvel Carol Danvers, the Carol Danvers that inspired thousands of fans and created the Carol Corps; The Carol Corps which is now canon in the comics. (For real, her office is littered with posters).
Margaret Stohl seems to have picked up Kelly Sue’s ball and run with it. The last run of Captain Marvel was nothing if not uneven. Carol’s induction into Alpha Flight from Michelle Fazekas and Tara Butters was fun and quippy, and that first collected volume is a definite recommend from us, but then CW2 happened. We were worried that everything we love about Carol would be taken from us. Luckily Stohl loves and understands Carol as much as we do, and the collective sighs of relief can be heard from Carol Corps members across the nation.
This issue, being a zero issue, is largely setup. There isn’t much action to be found here, but that’s ok. We needed this. We needed Carol to take stock of all that she’s been put through, and reassure us that she’s still the Captain Marvel we love despite what happened. We desperately desperately needed that scene with Jess. (Why can’t Marvel get off their asses and give us that Captain Marvel Spider-woman team-up that we know needs to happen?) That cafe scene with Jess is everything.
If CW2 can be likened to the Star Wars prequels, then this issue is our Force Awakens. We needed to know we were in good hands, and we are. We so are.
The art by Emilio Laiso and Ramon Rosanas with colors by Rachelle Rosenberg is solid. Carol’s pompadour is in full swing here, and the facial expressions are wonderful especially for such a talk-heavy issue. The colors do a great job particularly for scene changes from dream sequence to office to space to flashback. All the settings have a distinct feel to them which, again, is a good thing for an issue with a lot of dialogue.
The action scenes, what little there are of them, have a really good energy. We love the detail of having Carol’s sash leaving a streak through space as she flies. It’s a nice touch, and helps give the action more movement.
Our favorite detail, though, has to be Chewie the flerken-cat. Yup, Chewie is still around, and is active in all the scenes he’s in, playing, mewing, and being cat-like (flerken-like?).
All-in-all, this issue is just what the doctor ordered, the ointment to relieve the itching and burning that is CW2. Now we can get on with our lives and look forward to more great Carol stories, at least until the next Marvel event. Come back for our thoughts on The Mighty Captain Marvel #1 next month.
The Mighty Captain Marvel #0
Story: Margaret Stohl
Art: Emilio Laiso and Ramon Rosanas
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Elizabeth Torque
Images courtesy of Marvel Comics