tl;dr summary: 2012 reboot of Captain Marvel, I really wanted Captain Marvel to be my superhero. Sadly, the convoluted and confusing story lines, dropped plot points, and inconsistent art (within a single artist) turned this hero into a has been.
Review: Captain Marvel is not my superhero.
But I wanted her to be.
After working at a book store for a number of years and then becoming a librarian, superhero graphic novels are the one comic that has always eluded me. The reasons are fairly simple: Derivative storylines, change of artists/writers, inconsistent plots and arcs, layered and cross over stories, and ALL OF THOSE GODDAMN VARIANTS drove me insane when purchasing graphic novels for the bookstore. A few years later when I took up the graphic novel collection at GRCC, I made the concrete decision to not stock superhero for the very same reasons.
Perhaps it is easier buying the trades as opposed to the weeklies, but when there doesn’t seem to be a thread holding some of the storylines together, it still seemed more aggravating than not.
Marvel jumped on the bandwagon when DC announced it was rebooting its entire universe back in 2012. This was the perfect opportunity for those like me frustrated with the previous systems to start getting our feet wet with superhero books. I picked up on Captain Marvel because she’s supposedly a bad ass female, which is totally up my alley. At the beginning of In Pursuit of Flight, She’s tussling after a big baddie with Captain America who tells her,
You have led the Avengers. You have saved the world. Quit being an adjunct.
After the tussling, we find out Captain Marvel is having an identity crisis. The whole send up of In Pursuit of Flight is Captain Marvel finding herself and forging ahead her future. This sound well and good but then time travel is thrown in, possible evil plot, and some tear jerking moment with one her mentors. The storyline felt uneven and confused. Too much was being thrown against the wall with the hope it would stick while under the guise of sorting out Carol Danver’s new backstory.
Dexter Soy drew the first four chapters while Emma Rios drew the last two. Soy’s version of Captain Marvel (and really any of the other characters) as hyper sexualized. In my notes I mark the roundness and plumpness of Captain Marvel’s ass and then a bit of marginalia that Soy treated Captain America in the same way. The coloring was just oozing with dark, rich royal colors. It made the scenes atmospheric, as if it needed to make up for what was being lost by the words.
Once you get to Emma Rios’ books, the characters that were so overly lush in books 1-4 now look emaciated and overly angular, you almost don’t want to meet any of the characters on the street for fear of being killed by a sharp elbow. But the mood of Rios’ work seems more inline with the story and fits it much better.
At the end of the book there is a four page, tightly written and set back story of Carol Danvers from her origin until this book. And that seemed wholly unnecessary (and often contradictory) to what had happened earlier in this sequence or in the book itself.
That should give you some idea of how much of a hot mess the first reboot was.