Captain Marvel #10
Kelly Sue DeConnick’s run on Captain Marvel has been an interesting, if a bit uneven, romp. Throughout her time on the book, it has seemed that everyone involved, Kelly Sue, Marvel, even the good Captain herself is struggling to figure out who Carol Danvers is and where she fits best. From the clearly-meant-to-be-a-limited-series opening arc (which was fantastic), a time-traveling tour around the history of Carol Danvers and Marvel Universe female aviation in general, to her most recent stint in space as Avenging Ambassador to the cosmos/Babysitter of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Carol has been trying on a lot of hats (I meant that as a metaphor but it occurs to me that there is one very literal hat that has gained so much popularity amongst the Carol Corps that it now exists in our universe as well). Carol seems to just now be finding her footing as a cosmic avenger but, with Captain Marvel #10, it’s time for Earth’s Mightiest Hero to make a quick trip back home.
Mere moments after Carol’s last adventure, she receives a set of letters from her friends back home. The letters tell the tale of an adventure that they’ve had in her absence, one that they only overcame because of her. The first letter is from Kit, the true star of Kelly Sue’s first 17 issues on Captain Marvel. Kelly Sue’s voice for this Carol Danvers fangirl is as strong and affectionate as ever it was, now casting Kit as a sort-of Young-Indiana-Jones-in-New-York-City type. It’s a role that she fills well and a pitch that should be considered a home-run by whatever branch of Marvel handles the kids’ comics, Kit: Friend of Captain Marvel written by Kelly Sue Deconnick. Seriously Marvel, let’s make this happen.
The second letter comes from Jessica Drew, more commonly known as Spider-Woman. If Kit’s relationship with Carol is the true star of this book, the relationship between Carol and Jessica is the second lead. In the earlier section of DeConnick’s run, the dynamic between the two powerful, hilariously grounded, middle-aged women was often at the center of the book. Here, Jessica is struggling to stand in her more traditionally heroic best friend’s shoes. We finish with a letter from recent romantic interest, Iron Patriot, and a letter from Team-Carol nerve center, Wendy (and Tracy!).
The art team on this oversized issue is extremely well matched. Lopez, Takara, and Braga have complimentary styles while still giving each section of the story its own flair. Colorists Lee Loughridge and Nick Filardi do a fantastic job of serving that greater purpose as well: unified but unique. Letterers get left of out of the mix all too often but, on this issue, VC’s Joe Caramagna’s contributions are impossible to ignore. His work with the narration from each of the letters sets the tone for each character and their relationship with Carol in a lovely, subtle way.
This issue marks Carol Danvers 100th issue leading a solo book but, to its credit, doesn’t make much of a fuss about that. What it does do is function as a look back at the best parts of Kelly Sue’s 27 issue run so far. At the end of the issue, Carol asks Lila Cheney to teleport her home for 24 hours. She knows she has time left on her commitment with the Guardians but needs to visit home for an unspecified errand. It’s a moment that leads us into the second half of this two-part story but it also feels like Kelly Sue acknowledging what this issue proves. This space stuff is fun and we’re not done with it yet but, Captain Marvel is Earth’s Mightiest Hero and the Earth needs her to come back home. It’s where she’s at her best.