Between the Firefights: Captain Marvel #3

Jay Mattson

I was a fan of the character for a while, so when she received her own ongoing series in 2006, I was the first person at my local comic shop to add Ms. Marvel to my pull list…

Captain Marvel #3

Publisher: Marvel
Length: 22 pages
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick, Dexter Soy
Price: $3.99
Publication Date: 2012-11

I have a love-hate relationship with Carol Danvers. I was a fan of the character for a while (and especially after some choice panels in House of M), so when she received her own ongoing series in 2006, I was the first person at my local comic shop to add Ms. Marvel to my pull list. My excitement was tempered, unfortunately, after months of uninteresting stories and silly character development. With the onslaught of constant line-wide crossover events, one of Marvel’s only female leads became another cardboard cutout that could be molded--writer-to-writer--to suit the needs of the current Marvel Universe climate.

So it came as a refreshing surprise, to me, when Marvel decided to relaunch the series as Captain Marvel. Not only would the title of the book be changed, but so also would Carol’s outfit--from the black one-piece that left little to the imagination, to full-body Kree armor more reflective of the original Mar-Vell’s. The announcement that Kelly Sue DeConnick would be writing sealed the deal.

It might be shocking to know that comicbooks aren’t typically advertised or geared toward women! In fact, a majority of women characters in comicbooks tend to be scantily clothed, large-breasted, and generally not as effective as their male counterparts! There are exceptions, of course, but the problem persists partly because there isn’t a faction of readers large enough who demand a more realistic and relatable female superhero experience. I’m not saying it’s their fault there aren’t many great female superheroes, there just don’t seem to be enough of us out there.

DeConnick is writing Carol Danvers how she should have been depicted since her reintroduction into the Marvel mainstay in 2006. Carol is a military woman who has strong convictions, amazing powers, and an unyielding sense of duty. She finds solutions to problems even in the thick of battle, and she knows how to lead. In Captain Marvel #3, it’s these qualities that shine through as Carol helps command the all-female Banshee Squad of fighter pilots who’ve had their hands full with some unexplained Kree technology ravaging their defenses.

All three issues of Captain Marvel thus far have done a fantastic job of really giving readers a look at Carol as a person. ‘Civilian’ character development is one of the most important aspects of modern comicbooks; it’s harder to be sympathetic toward a superhero that isn’t characterized beyond a mask. Which is why this first arc of Captain Marvel (which sees Carol mysteriously stuck in 1943) is so great for building up Carol before Captain Marvel. Even though she uses her powers in battle, she’s just another soldier conversing with other soldiers in the rare peacetime between the firefights.

At first, Dexter Soy’s artwork didn’t seem to fit the mood of the book. Even now, many readers wish Ed McGuinness, who’s penciling all the amazing covers, would provide the interior artwork as well. And while I agreed for the first two months, Soy is coming into his own and finally finding a pace that works for him and this series. His lines are sharper, facial expressions are more deliberate, and the action sequences don’t feel like scribbles dancing around washed out backgrounds. All in all, Soy has stepped up his game from the previous two issues, and the art now feels like it fits the words and the story.

Captain Marvel succeeds in providing Marvel with its biggest female-led title, and also in doing so with integrity. DeConnick and Soy have found a groove that works for them, allowing Carol Danvers to grow naturally and organically instead of being put through the ringer every year or so with a new event tie-in arc that only serves the greater Marvel universe. For the first time in years, Carol Danvers is receiving the excellent treatment she deserves, and it’s fantastic.







A Fresh Look at Free Will and Determinism in Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys'

Susanne Kord gets to the heart of the philosophical issues in Terry Gilliam's 1995 time-travel dystopia, 12 Monkeys.


The Devonns' Debut Is a Love Letter to Chicago Soul

Chicago's the Devonns pay tribute the soul heritage of their city with enough personality to not sound just like a replica.


Jaye Jayle's 'Prisyn' Is a Dark Ride Into Electric Night

Jaye Jayle salvage the best materials from Iggy Pop and David Bowie's Berlin-era on Prisyn to construct a powerful and impressive engine all their own.


Kathleen Edwards Finds 'Total Freedom'

Kathleen Edwards is back making music after a five-year break, and it was worth the wait. The songs on Total Freedom are lyrically delightful and melodically charming.


HBO's 'Lovecraft Country' Is Heady, Poetic, and Mangled

Laying the everyday experience of Black life in 1950s America against Cthulhuian nightmares, Misha Green and Jordan Peele's Lovecraft Country suggests intriguing parallels that are often lost in its narrative dead-ends.


Jaga Jazzist's 'Pyramid' Is an Earthy, Complex, Jazz-Fusion Throwback

On their first album in five years, Norway's Jaga Jazzist create a smooth but intricate pastiche of styles with Pyramid.


Finding the Light: An Interview with Kathy Sledge

With a timeless voice that's made her the "Queen of Club Quarantine", Grammy-nominated vocalist Kathy Sledge opens up her "Family Room" and delivers new grooves with Horse Meat Disco.


'Bigger Than History: Why Archaeology Matters'

On everything from climate change to gender identity, archaeologists offer vital insight into contemporary issues.


'Avengers: Endgame' Culminates 2010's Pop Culture Phenomenon

Avengers: Endgame features all the expected trappings of a superhero blockbuster alongside surprisingly rich character resolutions to become the most crowd-pleasing finalés to a long-running pop culture series ever made.


Max Richter's 'VOICES' Is an Awe-Inspiring and Heartfelt Soundscape

Choral singing, piano, synths, and an "upside-down" orchestra complement crowd-sourced voices from across the globe on Max Richter's VOICES. It rewards deep listening, and acts as a global rebuke against bigotry, extremism and authoritarianism.


DYLYN Dares to "Find Myself" by Facing Fears and Life's Dark Forces (premiere + interview)

Shifting gears from aspiring electropop princess to rock 'n' rule dream queen, Toronto's DYLYN is re-examining her life while searching for truth with a new song and a very scary-good music video.


JOBS Make Bizarre and Exhilarating Noise with 'endless birthdays'

Brooklyn experimental quartet JOBS don't have a conventional musical bone in their body, resulting in a thrilling, typically off-kilter new album, endless birthdays.


​Nnamdï' Creates a Lively Home for Himself in His Mind on 'BRAT'

Nnamdï's BRAT is a labyrinth detailing the insular journey of a young, eclectic DIY artist who takes on the weighty responsibility of reaching a point where he can do what he loves for a living.


Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few Play It Cool​

Austin's Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few perform sophisticatedly unsophisticated jazz/Americana that's perfect for these times


Eleanor Underhill Takes Us to the 'Land of the Living' (album stream)

Eleanor Underhill's Land of the Living is a diverse album drawing on folk, pop, R&B, and Americana. It's an emotionally powerful collection that inspires repeated listens.


How Hawkwind's First Voyage Helped Spearhead Space Rock 50 Years Ago

Hawkwind's 1970 debut opened the door to rock's collective sonic possibilities, something that connected them tenuously to punk, dance, metal, and noise.


Graphic Novel 'Cuisine Chinoise' Is a Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Lush art and dark, cryptic fables permeate Zao Dao's stunning graphic novel, Cuisine Chinoise.


Alanis Morissette's 'Such Pretty Forks in the Road' Is a Quest for Validation

Alanis Morissette's Such Pretty Forks in the Road is an exposition of dolorous truths, revelatory in its unmasking of imperfection.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.