I really wanted to like Captain Marvel #1. Since the announcement of the re-launch (Formerly Mrs. Marvel) and the reveal of her new costume and hairstyle, I was ready to dive back into the world of Carol Danvers. I stuck with the Mrs. Marvel book from a few years back for a little while, it was entertaining, but ultimately lost me. Mrs. Marvel shined much more brightly in the pages of Mighty and New Avengers, where Brian Michael Bendis kept the character interesting.
I was hoping a fresh start would lead to a book that felt exciting and effortless. A book that created new mythology on the back of decades of muddled continuity and made it feel vital. Unfortunately, after one issue, it feels a bit too much like comic book business as usual. It opens with a battle between Captain Marvel, Captain America and The Absorbing Man. What should be a slam-bang opening to hook us on what Captain Marvel can do instead reads like a typical comic battle from days gone by. The Absorbing Man is ridiculously stupid, and makes you wonder why it would take two top tier heroes to take him out.
The thrust of the book is Carol Danvers' struggle to accept the mantle of Captain Marvel, while realizing you have to take risks if you want to progress. These are nice ideas, and the book has a few scenes that do an interesting job of making good on those ideas, but a lot of the issue is spent with a muddled supporting cast and a very Green Lantern-esque back story. The bright spots give me hope that writer Kelly Sue DeConnick has enough interesting ideas to keep me picking this book up off the shelves every month.
The art by Dexter Soy is another matter. It feels exciting at first with its digitally painted panels, but the more you read the more the art doesn't feel like a match for the writing. Some shots are fantastic, but many panels feel incredibly bland and uninspired. The art also has a very dark and muted color palette which speaks to something much more somber than Captain Marvel.
This may sound odd, but the cover for Captain Marvel #1 keeps pulling me back in. It's the promise of what this book could be- Bold and in-your-face with a dash of attitude. Ed McGuinness' cover art coveys all of this- A book staking it's claim as a must read. I hope Captain Marvel can get there soon.
Grade: C+ Joel Rickenbach - Comicscape