In the first issue of Captain Marvel not written or co-written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, writers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters (Agent Carter writers/producers), artist Kris Anka, and colorist Matthew Wilson acquit themselves in a manner worthy of Earth’s mightiest hero and already put their own special mark on Carol Danvers by giving her a new job, supporting cast, and status quo. Captain Marvel #1 has Carol taking a break from terrestrial superheroics or interplanetary adventures because she is the commander of the Alpha Flight Space Station, or Earth’s first line of defense from alien invaders. She is joined by everyone’s favorite Canadian superhero team, Alpha Flight as well as Abigail Brand, former commander of SWORD, who thinks that Carol’s punch first, ask questions later method of doing things won’t work in delicate situations, like
Captain Marvel #1 has a “pilot episode” feel and spends a decent amount of time, introducing Carol’s new supporting cast, her reasons for taking the job with Alpha Flight, and showing how she acclimates to her new duties. However, Fazekas and Butters also give readers plenty of action against a gorgeous cosmic canvas colored by Wilson as Carol decides to duck out of a meeting with the aliens, who handle waste management on the space station, and shoot up asteroids with Alpha Flight. There is also an eerie final page, which throws a wrench into what looks like a Captain Marvel vs. aliens of the month storyline. Along the way, Fazekas and Butters check on old relationships like a sweet, banter heavy chat between her and her boyfriend James Rhodes aka War Machine where he is surprised that she is taking a more administrative position. He’s not being sexist, but wonders how Carol will adjust from making quick decisions in the heat of battle or behind the cockpit of a plane to the more methodical work of running a space station and its long term consequences.
Fazekas and Butters also develop new relationships, like with Puck and Abigail Brand. Carol and Brand really don’t get along, and Anka shows this through her art with Brand having a permanent scowl on her goggle wearing face when Carol makes sarcastic jokes about some of the space station amenities or zones out during a meeting with the Eridani, who are the earlier mentioned aliens responsible for trash disposal on the space station. Even though she’s under Carol, Brand is already second guessing her decisions while providing a voice of reason and experience. This creates an underlying layer of conflict that makes seemingly straight forward shoot ’em battles a little more complicated. On a more fun note, there is Puck. Fazekas and Butters write him as a huge fanboy of Captain Marvel asking for her autograph when she gets on the ship. He’s also the jokester on Alpha Flight, but also has an insomnia problem and shares a late night chat with Carol about Brand telling her that even though her manner is distant that she is a great leader and fighter.
This talk in the exercise room also showcases Kris Anka’s skill at drawing different body types for men and women. He gives Puck actual body hair instead of making him a mini me of Hugh Jackman to go along with his stout lumberjack type build. Anka makes Carol Danvers look like a female professional athlete with well-defined shoulders, arms, and a six pack. (Puck has great abs too.) Unlike some artists who use supermodels as reference for female superheroes, Anka is smarter and understands that to do complex aerial maneuvers that Carol has to basically be an Olympic level athlete and draws her accordingly along with her strong, bulky arms because she definitely lifts heavy. (She deadlifts a nuke that Rocket Raccoon is trying to make off with while the Guardians of the GAlaxy ship refuels.) However, his realism when it comes to drawing character’s bodies doesn’t come at the cost of different facial expressions, and some of Carol’s reactions to Brand, like a look of relief on her face basically negate the need for internal monologue or dialogue with their timeliness Along with his figures, Anka makes space battles exciting with plenty of quick cuts between panels and plenty of energy bursts and discharges. Matthew Wilson liberally uses the red, gold, and blues of Carol’s costume in the outside the space station scenes to show the beauty of space as well as the tension when Carol is trying to lift an asteroid.
Captain Marvel #1 is a far from boring introductory chapter as writers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters build relationships both friendly and fractured between Carol Danvers and the members of the Alpha Flight Space Station and sprinkle their script with just the right amount of sass along with a creeptastic cliffhanger. Artist Kris Anka is a master of matching a character’s look and expressions with who they are and excels at body diversity, dog fights, and showing the glory of space and the cool tech onboard the the Alpha Flight Space Station. Colorist Matthew Wilson makes everything just a little more cosmic with beautiful red and blue backdrops to offset the yellow blasts from Carol and her team’s ships.
Captain Marvel #1 is an enjoyable story of a character having to adapt to a new situation in space with Canadian superheroes.