After three years of transcendent success on the refurbishing of the Carol Danver’s character as Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick, the title and it’s character have a new writing team. While they manage to provide a story with some interesting idea’s and potential, the loss of it’s former writer is still felt in the voice and spirit of the series.
Tara Butters & Michelle Fazekas have a thankless job here, DeConnick’s run on Captain Marvel is undeniably iconic for it’s influence & fan support. This has been forgotten somewhat, but Captain Marvel was a book that helped completely shift Marvel & DC’s approach to female led comics to where they were actually conscious of female readers. Without DeConnick’s Captain Marvel, it’s hard to see the success of Ms. Marvel, Jane Foster Thor, Gotham Academy, Spider-Gwen, DC Bombshells, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl or any number of successful superhero comics that have treated their female readership with the same respect as their male counterparts. Moreover, the success of Captain Marvel completely elevated DeConnick’s profile; it was her first hit book and surely had a hand in her getting her own Image series while creating a large fan base for the writer in the form of the Carol Corps. That’s because DeConnick’s voice and style felt so distinctive to the title, it was on Captain Marvel that her writing strengths in humor and heart really shined though. Because of that, Captain Marvel feel’s much closer to a Kelly Sue DeConnick creation then a legacy character. Considering all that; Butters & Fazekas are in an impossible spot.
Replacing DeConnick with another comics writer would have been difficult enough, Butters & Fazekas had never written a comic in their life prior to this. Butter’s & Fazeka’s are TV lifers who’d found success writing for Marvel’s Agent Carter television show. Coming on to script Captain Marvel, there is no way they couldn’t attempt to keep the voice & tone of the series that DeConnick established but how do they do that for someone that is as singular as DeConnick? In the first issue they can’t pull it off and it ends up being the comics weak point. There are attempts at humor and personal moments here, but it lacks the insight & warmth of the previous series. The dialogue fails to capture the vibrancy and rhythm that DeConnick was so natural at and while what Butters & Fazeka is doing is not outright bad per say, it’s not measuring up to it’s predecessor either. That said, Butter & Fazeka do manage to build an interesting plot by introducing he character to a new environment that still feels consistent with the books mytho’s. There is a twist on the books conclusion that will make Carol Corp fan’s want to read the following issue. Artist Kris Anka is good enough here albeit a little flat in some moments, but his visual narration feel’s like some of his best in that regard. Colorist Matt Wilson continues to be among the elite in his profession for how he contrasts the brights with different blue hue’s.
There is enough going for this comic to be good enough but it’s also lacking in what made the original title feel special. Captain Marvel was so unique and singular, and most of what made it unique and singular was the vision of writer Kelly Sue DeConnick. Without her, it feels very much like another superhero comic and while that’s fine in the abstract, the whole reason that Captain Marvel stood out in the first place was how it surpassed that. DeConnick’s Captain Marvel was a book that legitimately inspired it’s readers, it created movements online, shifted the direction of it’s publisher and made a star out of it’s writer. This new era of Captain Marvel is doing a lot of things right, but it’s first issue is not doing any of that and if it’s not, what’s the point?