If Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel isn’t the face of Marvel Comics today, then she probably should be. Her rise to A-list superhero, along with the debut of her new series, has chronicled a massive gain in recognition for the character, thanks to writer Kelly Sue DeConnick. DeConnick, herself a rising star in the comics industry just as Danvers is in her own universe, has been the voice for Carol Danvers for a year now, writing her in “Captain Marvel”, “Avengers Assemble”, “Avenging Spider-Man” for a two-issue stint, and is now crossing over “Captain Marvel” with “Avengers Assemble” for a five issue story-arc. Since Danvers’ self-promotion from ‘Ms.’ to ‘Captain’, she has arguably been the most exciting and refreshing character to watch in superhero comics, and the first issue of this mini cross-over only reaffirms why everyone should be reading “Captain Marvel”.
“The Enemy Within” #1 is accessible enough for new readers of the character to jump into, but for anyone wanting a clearer picture of what is going on, issues #9-12 of “Captain Marvel” provide the lead-in, providing clues for the course of this story as well as catching the reader up to speed on Carol Danvers’ life. She has just recently been afflicted with a deadly brain lesion that puts her health at great risk, the risk further increasing whenever she uses her flight powers, effectively making her grounded. This would be an enormous obstacle for any superhero adapted to flight, and naturally, takes a toll on her Avenger life as well as her personal life. And speaking of her personal life, DeConnick has been doing a better job than most at juggling the dual lives of the superhero in “Captain Marvel” and “The Enemy Within”, with the everyday struggles of Carol Danvers possessing just as much emotional gravitas as Captain Marvel’s.
The issue opens up quietly but powerfully when a melancholic Danvers is confronted and consoled by Spider-Woman, one her close Avenger allies, and their ensuing three page conversation is a joy to read. It has humour, heart, and exhibits what makes DeConnick such a terrific talent; she writes women more naturally and successfully than anyone else in superhero comics currently, and in Danvers has developed a remarkably sympathetic and endearing person. She is strong, yet vulnerable, funny, yet serious, and feminist all the way. One would require a black soul to not be rooting for her during every turn of the page.
If all this talk of emotional weight and feminist writing causes some hesitation, please do not be misled; this is still very much a ‘superhero comic’ and one that would appeal to most fans of the genre. The second half of the issue delivers a steady stream of action once Danvers and Spider-Woman are attacked on the street by very unorthodox villains. The resulting battle is a little silly, but definitely fun, and is visually appealing with its consistent use of wide-screen panels to present a cinematic sequence of events. Scott Hepburn’s unique drawing style works best during these wide panel fight scenes. And one cannot forget to mention that this issue has dinosaurs in it (and yes, it is as awesome as it sounds).
The first issue ends with a string of questions and very few answers, as the story should be doing at this early stage, and the second part cannot come soon enough. Now, do not be confused;“The Enemy Within” kicks off the five-part story with a one-shot issue; this is not a five-issue miniseries. All following issues will overflow into the regular monthly titles, with Part 2 being told in “Avengers Assemble” #16, Part 3 in “Captain Marvel” #13, Part 4 in “Avengers Assemble” #17, and Part 5 in “Captain Marvel” #14. If you are a fan of comics and are still missing out on Kelly Sue DeConnick’s superb Captain Marvel run, there is no better time to jump on than the present. In an ideal world, DeConnick will be writing “Captain Marvel” for many more years to come. This particular issue is as good as the comic has been thus far, and hypes bigger and potentially better things to come.