Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps
US: Oct 2015
Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel, is in command of the Banshee Squadron, a group of the absolutely best pilots on Battleworld: Big Mack, Knock Knock, Pancho, Blaze, and Bee. The Banshee inhabit a part of Marvel’s new universe with a decidedly World War II aesthetic. The Banshees fly their planes into battle from Hala Field, where they live in barracks and wear drab uniforms all rendered in military gray and pea green by colorist Lee Loughridge.
Things are never what they seem on Battleworld, however, and a closer look reveals that Battleworld’s Hala Field is remarkably different than any airfield from the ‘40s. First of all, these planes are pretty special. They are capable, with just a little modification, of at least attempting to leave the planet’s atmosphere. Artist David Lopez renders them in a style more reminiscent of Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers than of anything that actually flew during WWII.
Even more startling than the retro-futuristic aircraft is the fact that the pilots of the Banshee Squadron are women. Fans of DeConnick’s earlier work on Captain Marvel will recognize this group of women, with some changes, as the team of pilots that the superhero fought alongside during her earlier time travel adventure.
In Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #3 events unfold at breakneck pace. Marvel and her team have recently learned that all is not as it seems and that their service to Doom, creator and lord of Battleworld, is more complicated than they had first imagined. They also suspect that Captain Marvel’s origins and the nature of reality itself may be different than they have been led to believe. When one of the squadron decides to jump the gun and test out some secret modifications to their aircraft, disaster happens and the team is forced to desert their posts and flee for their lives.
It’s great to see DeConnick and Captain Marvel back with the Banshees, this time with co-writer Kelly Thompson along for the ride. Personalities are vibrant and believable. In just a few panels, these women already seem like more than stock characters. The action moves along without a hitch. Rockets explode. A fugitive plans his escape. Engines roar. The enemy catches on and hatches a plan. Marvel soars. Missiles launch. And then there’s a dogfight. Oh, what a dogfight.
Artist David Lopez also has a history with Captain Marvel, and in this series he proves that he is just as capable with war stories as he is with outer space adventure. He also shows that he is just as capable at depicting shadowy subterfuge as he is at depicting rockets’ red glare, just as good at human emotions as at high flying adventure. In this story he gets to do it all.
Set building is a necessity in nearly all of the “Secret Wars” crossover books. After all, artists and writers are not just introducing new characters but new settings, as well. After two issues of meeting this challenge, DeConnick and Thompson have kicked things up a notch in this issue. The world of Captain Marvel and the Banshee Squadron at Hala Field has been shaken up and blown to bits. Captain Marvel has really taken flight.
Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps is a solid addition to Marvel’s big-deal summer crossover event, “Secret Wars”. This far in, it doesn’t yet feel as “out there” as some of the other books, like Planet Hulk or Ghost Racers, and it doesn’t seem as central and important as others, like Infinity Gauntlet or Guardians of Knowhere. It is, however, a lot of fun, a solid story, and an interesting ride.
Who knows, now that the place setting is all in order and the Captain and her team are on the run, maybe things will start to get even more interesting and important? After all, the last issue was full of Doom-centered blasphemy and questions about the stars. And Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers, is one of Marvel’s most compelling and most cosmic characters.
“Where we goin’ Cap?” Rhodey Rhodes asks as Captain Marvel rockets him into the sky in what has to be my favorite panel in the series so far.
That’s just what I want to know. Where ever it is, I’ll be along for the ride.