Pick of the Week

Pick of the Week – 04.17.2013 – Captain Marvel #12

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229
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Avg Rating: 4.0
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 0.5%
 
Users who pulled this comic:
Story by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Christopher Sebela
Art by Filipe Andrade
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Cover by Joe Quinones

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

 

“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward; for there you have been, and there you long to return.”

— Leonardo Da Vinci

Before her miraculous accident, before she broke tether from solid ground and assumed an alien talent for bodily flight, Carol Danvers signed up to become a pilot. Carol achieved license to soar both despite and thanks to her humanity. Her head tilted skyward long before she even knew the word Kree.

To now be asked to refrain from flight once she’s tasted stratosphere? That’s like golden eagles at the zoo; a measure toward safety, but shackles all the same. Unfortunately, the mysterious lesion ravaging the central lobe of Carol’s brain, a uniquely Kree addition to her physiology, hinders her ability — but not her desire — to fly. She can still put David Blaine and Ivan Ukhov’s verticality to shame, but when she has given in to the temptation, she ends up sneezing concrete for the next few days. Thus, she’s grounded. Doctor’s orders. But when she really does need to take to the skies, and even a spritely F/A-18 Hornet is a bit too cumbersome for foiling baddies, she’s got a trusty, if completely embarrassing flying Jet Ski thing. Which, in Carol’s mind, is a little like showing up to a gun fight with a knife in a brown paper bag, tagged with a note from mom.

And yet. Carol’s dizzying aerial confrontation with a winged assassin claiming to be her old (reportedly comatose) nemesis Deathbird made for the most exhilarating set piece this week. Even if she was riding a totally lame flying Jet Ski. Maybe even because of it. I honestly don’t think she’s giving Wendy nearly enough credit for that thing.

This week, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Christopher Sebela and Filipe “Where Have You Been All My Life” Andrade’s Captain Marvel #12 was the wind beneath my wings. Though the series’ takeoff proved a bit turbulent, this current arc registers as a revelation. It might be for Captain Marvel what Palmiotti, Grey, and Conner’s run was for Power Girl, both character defining and hugely entertaining. In stripping the character of her metahuman ability, DeConnick puts the Right Stuff on display, grounding Carol in more ways than one, all the while forcing her to run emotional and physical gauntlets. It’s no surprise then that character comes through clear and vibrant, but not at the expense of some spectacular chase sequences rife with the best banter since Bryan Q. Miller’s Batgirl.

Like Hawkguy, Captain Marvel has surrounded herself with a wonderful extended cast that suggests community in a way few comic book ensembles even attempt. Carol has neighbors, and not just when they’re being kidnapped by mole people or turn out to be A.I.M. agents in disguise. Though Carol’s instinct as a hero (both innate and through her vocation) is protective, they’re not meat-filled socks waiting to play tragic roles in her life. Though absent from this issue, Carol frequently interacts with a precocious, deeply impressionable young girl. Very present, Rose sits at the opposite end of the generational spectrum. Though, admittedly, Rose may actually be in peril this month. The spot typically reserved for Carol, next to her on the park bench, is now occupied by a particularly sinister figure from Captain Marvels past. Nope, I did not forget an apostrophe just then. Anyway, there’s something of an Amy Sherman Palladino vibe to the bonds in this series, a congenial Stars Hollow warmth to these people that we simply don’t find all too often in the superhero sector outside of Spider-Man’s friendly neighborhood, which more often isn’t very.

Again though, it’s not sleepy Riverdale. Thanks to Filipe Andrades’ stunning visuals and storytelling ability, Captain Marvel’s world is both elegant and energetic. In another example of Marvel’s laudable efforts to sample and evangelize a wildly atypical style, this book simply looks like it originated on a different planet than mainstream titles. Andrade achieves the kind of beauty only attainable by artists willing to repulse nearly as many readers as they charm. It occurs to me now that I first became aware of him with a project that demanded a similar attention to human anatomy in flight, also by Marvel. In John Carter: A Princess of Mars, he captured the grace and accompanying unpleasantness of musculature exceeding design (for want of a better word). John Carter doesn’t fly, exactly. He bounds with a dubious, turn of the 20th century comprehension of gravity and relative mass. And it looks suitably bizarre. Humans evolved toward walking and all sorts of activities, but never flight. Not without apparatus, anyway. So the act of flight, and especially aerial combat, sounds and would, to an extent, look pretty cool. But it’d also look really odd, even off-putting. Like those dogs than can kind of say, “Mama.” It’s that Aeon Flux thing. An usual aesthetic that certainly isn’t for everybody, but feels so, inarguably alive and evocative. I love the gestural quality, the litheness that reminds me of the necessarily elongated forms of a fashion designer’s sketch. It’s also presented with lush color and stray pencils intact. When Captain Marvel pops Birdbrain in the kisser, the blood trails like a gymnast’s ribbon.

Particular to this issue, the plot ping-pongs at just the right clip between Carol’s thrilling air battle and a consultation between two doctors. Carol’s personal physician Dr. Nayar has never met Dr. Ryland, a composed old gentleman who lost a patient to a neural anomaly similar to Carol’s. United through clinical circumstance, the two strangers immediately establish a professional rapport. This dynamic was so well realized, it never overstayed its welcome. In fact, I was rapt by the writing and by Andrade’s elegant storytelling. You know that animator, Sylvain Chomet? The guy who did Triplets of Belleville and The Illusionist? Mostly silent stuff? It was like that in its nuance. The way Ryland paused, frail arm hovering over his half-eaten slice of pie, they captured a moment of hesitation. Who stops for that kind of thing? Who paints a moment with that kind of grace?

This arc of Captain Marvel shouldn’t slip under the radar. It’s too sublime a metaphor. I laughed. I even gasped a little, taken with the angles and the gravity. And as with the best of stories about flight, it changed, however briefly, the way I looked at clouds.

 

 

Paul Montgomery
Always appreciated the notes his mom put on his lunch bag.
paul@ifanboy.com

 


 

 

 

Comments

  1. A very unexpected pick, cool.

    I’m still trying to decide between The Black Beetle and Vibe for my PotW. I know, it was a weird week of books:)

  2. Good pick. SInce Hickman took over Avengers, Captain Marvel has been a big bright spot on the roster. I want to try this series out because I heard of how good it was But the initial artist kinda dashed that because it was just hideous to look at. When this arc comes out in trade I’ll definitely give it a shot.

    One of the hardest choices ever to make since joining this site wound up being Daredevil #25 being my pick. It was either that or Chew #33 but Daredevil won out for some amazing work by Samnee and Rodriguez.

  3. Cool pick, hopefully this series will get some more attention from the iFanbase because of the pick.

  4. This book has been so great since Andrade hopped on board. DeConick is doing some of the best work in Super Hero comics right now. So happy to she her get some rightfully deserved attention for that.

  5. Who is “Hawkguy?”

  6. “The way Ryland paused, frail arm hovering over his half-eaten slice of pie, they captured a moment of hesitation. Who stops for that kind of thing? Who paints a moment with that kind of grace?”

    I love that kind of stuff! The comparisons to Chomet and Aeon Flux are exactly what I had in mind when I saw some of Andrade’s work and that definitely floats my boat so I look forward to eventually checking this out. I really like the idea of linking a characters powerset to their everyday lives and careers/hobbies/passions. Your review evokes this feeling really nicely Paul.

  7. Really glad this got a spotlight here. This is the only superhero book I’m tempted to pick up – both in curiosity for Deconnick’s current work & a love of Andrade’s (& before that, Rios’). Can’t wait for “Pretty Deadly” to hit, btw.

    • If you are going to read one Super Hero book this is a good one to go with as long as it includes Andrade on art

    • Cool. I do really like the premise of superhero/aviator. They both seem to tap into the same sense of wonder, though from opposite sides of the spectrum.

    • DeConick really manages to capture that sense of wonder that you talk about while still managing to make Ms Marvel a full realized human flaws and all much like Fraction has done with Hawkeye

  8. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    According to Andrade’s blog, he’s coming back for another arc. Very good news.

    • That’s great news. I came on board Captain Marvel with #9 because of Andrade’s art. There is simply nothing else on the stands that looks like this book. That expression might be cliche by now, and can be applied to a number of artists, but in the case of Filipe Andrade there is really no other book that looks like this.

      I am a huge Marvel fan, but I also really enjoy DC comics-or have in the past. This book is a good example though of the current differences between the two companies. Marvel is taking chances with the artists they are putting on some of their books, while DC books (especially since the New 52) have been moving closer and closer to a house style where so many of them all look very samey. Most of the Marvel Now books look nothing like each other, and Captain Marvel is another great example of that trend.

      Anyway great pick Paul, and a nice review. I also wanted to add here that your East of Eden review was one of the best I’ve ever read on iFanboy.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Merci.

    • East of West I meant to say.

  9. OMG, I’m so glad you picked this! Go Captain Marvel! This book totally deserves your pick.

  10. filippod filippod (@filippodee) says:

    Just a note to join the celebration for this book. I’ve been loving it since #1 and it’s always one of my first reads when I open my monthly comics parcel.

  11. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    It’s like we have a nice little club forming here.

    • Great Pick Paul. I jumped on the series when I heard Andrade was on it. I met him in NY and always loved his art in John Carter. I believe it was your recommendation that got me to pick up his John Carter.

  12. Super pleased with this pick. I was actually shocked to see it as the pick though because I would have sworn I was the only one in deep love with it. Kelly-Sue, is writing a fun, engaging character that kicks so much ass. Everything I hear people demanding in comics Captain Marvel is bringing and it feels like I’m out here in the wilderness all by my lonesome.

    I’m especially super excited for the upcoming mini-event that KSD will be working between Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble (another overlooked gem). I feel a rant coming on.

    I see complaints, here and elsewhere, about Hickman’s run on Avengers and New Avengers along the line of, “slow”, “no action”, “do something!” etc. No idea who folks thought they were reading. It’s Hickman. He just did this in Fantastic Four. It’s his MO.

    You want the Avengers going off and doing awesome missions and kicking butt? Avengers Assemble. Kelly-Sue is rocking her titles and all I see is, “I heard good things and I was thinking of picking this up maybe.. I dunno… waffle waffle.”

    You want Avengers doing their avenging thing and not just sitting around a table discussing potentially doing something somewhat Aveng-y?

    Kelly-Sue, Captain Marvel, Avengers Assemble.

    Apologies for the crazy comic book dude rant. Just going bonkers every month seeing “heard this was good was thinking of…” Just do it. We’re not trying to trick you.

    • Her Avengers Assemble book is so good. Especially the first arc. I really people start picking it up. I’m fearing that one could be looking at getting canceled.

  13. I’m glad I didn’t drop this. I really struggled with the first arc, but the iFanboy interview w/ DeConnick (and my love for the character) kept me onboard. And while the art has not been “for me”, I do appreciate the risks being taken, and am onboard for as long as Marvel wants to put out this book. I was really glad to see it showcased here, and the parrallels to Power-Girl are something I’ve been thinking of too!

  14. Huh?