Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #4
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Kelly Thompson
Art by Laura Braga with Paolo Pantalena
Colors by Lee Loughridge
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Published by Marvel Comics
Even if it’s a Secret Wars tie-in set in the Hala area of Battleworld, Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #4 captures the drive and determination that Kelly Sue DeConnick has imbued in her lead character since she began writing about Carol Danvers back in 2012. It’s an all action issue with Captain Marvel and the Banshee Squadron fighting Dr. Doom’s guard dogs, the almost invincible Thors, while they also continue to find out what’s beyond the Void even if it is against Doom’s rule. DeConnick and co-writer Kelly Thompson, who has become a comics star of her own on Jem and the Holograms and the recent Dark Horse graphic novel Heart in a Box, write their hearts out with a script that is funny, fierce, and a little emotional at the end.
Laura Braga, who once drew a Christmas issue of Captain Marvel and more recently depicted Mera and Wonder Woman in DC’s 1940s set Bombshells, handles the art duties with Paolo Pantalena (Red Hood/Arsenal) and uses rough hewn lines and large helpings of explosions and speed lines to give the aerial battle scenes both power and agility. She also uses the occasional inset panel to show the reactions of the pilots’ to the events around them, or just make room for a well-placed one-liner from DeConnick and Thompson, like when the Banshees make fun of the Thors “ye olde English” speaking pattern while firing away at them. Like the rug that really tied together the room in Big Lebowski, Lee Loughridge gives Carol Corps #4 a retrofuturist color palette that makes each page look like an old war comic even if it’s Captain Marvel fighting Thor variants. He uses faded browns and greens, like the uniforms of the Banshee squadron and the beach they fight on, but throws in just a splash of yellow/orange for scenes of inspiration, like when the Thor Kit (who Carol used to mentor) has a moment of clarity and uses her hammer for more worthy purposes.
Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #4 has the design sense (in the pilots’ uniforms) and dogfighting action of a war comic, and it even goes into some themes of self-sacrifice as Rhodey (who may go out with Carol in “another world”) and Helen Cobb are willing to give their lives to hold off the Thors so the Banshees can reach The Void and realize that there’s more to Battleworld than what Doom says. However, in plot and the sheer dose of quips that DeConnick and Thompson, it’s pure, dynamic superhero action. Braga gives the Thors’ hammer and Carol’s fists true weight behind them with her art and contrast their fighting styles as the Thors are powerhouses while Carol can move around a little bit. Her panel layouts are also eye-catching, and let the reader follow the fight with ease as Carol swoops in diagonal panels and dives and tackles in vertical ones. Loughridge again adds an exclamation point to her and Pantalena’s art with yellow machine gun fire, orange explosions, and the white crackle of Mjolnir(s) depending on the scene.
But the most important part of Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #4 is the last three pages as Captain Marvel and her team (After Baroness Cochran lets them fly off after evading the Thors.) fly towards the void. Through various characters, DeConnick and Thompson drop the name of the first storyline of Captain Marvel Volume 2, “Higher, faster, further, and more”, which has also been a key theme of this miniseries. Even in a universe where she is basically the top gun for God Emperor Doom, Carol Danvers still wants to reach her full potential, explore, and fight for what’s right. DeConnick and Thompson’s writing becomes downright poetic as they talk about the heroic nature and death defying fearlessness of a Banshee. It captures the passion and perseverance of Captain Marvel, who has truly gone through the wringer in Earth and space, during DeConnick’s run and could be applied to the book and fanbase too.
This is because Captain Marvel will be the first female superhero film produced by Marvel Studios and will show even more women and girls around the world that female superheroes don’t have to be eye candy, killed off to further a male character’s storyline, or relegated to the background. Although it was a book that always didn’t sell the greatest in the direct market, Captain Marvel attracted a passionate group of fans called the Carol Corps, who are still empowered by Carol Danvers’ tenacity and can-do attitude along with her leadership (She outranks Steve Rogers.) and friendships with characters ranging from the World War II pilot Helen Cobb in the initial arc of the series to her youngest fan Kit. Both these friendships play a major role in resolving the series plot of Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps, which is a victory lap for Kelly Sue DeConnick’s run on the title.
Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #4 will make readers feel truly victorious and want to “punch holes in the sky” (from DeConnick’s sign-off on the series) in a battle royale that combines both hard punching hand to hand combat and beautiful aerial maneuvers courtesy of Laura Braga, Paolo Pantalena, and Lee Loughridge. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Kelly Thompson also don’t neglect character relationships as Captain Marvel inspires the Banshee Squadron to fight gods while also helping her old friend Kit find thunderous redemption. Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #4 is a single issue party celebrating the power of Carol Danvers as one of Marvel Comics’ most inspirational icons and wraps up DeConnick’s work on the character in powerful and occasionally tearful way.