Captain Marvel, one of the formidable heroines of the Marvel universe, will get a hero’s welcome in a new comic-book series that begins in January. The series, which will be written by Kelly Thompson and drawn by Carmen Carnero, returns Captain Marvel to New York City after a stint in space as the first line of defense against alien threats. The spotlight on the female superhero, and her alter ego Carol Danvers, precedes her debut on the big screen in Captain Marvel starring Brie Larson, which arrives in theaters in March.
“I think the character is incredibly important, maybe now more than ever,” Thompson said. Thompson and the rest of the comic’s creative team, which also includes the colorist Tamra Bonvillain and the editors Sarah Brunstad and Wil Moss, will be balancing the expectations of different audiences.
“You really want her to be accessible to new and younger audiences who are going to see the movie, fall in love and want to seek out other Captain Marvel stories,” Thompson said. “But you really want to respect the fans who have loved the character for decades. I think there’s a razor’s edge there.”
The series will reconnect Captain Marvel with allies like Iron Man and her best friend Spider-Woman, as well as offer new relationships. “There will definitely be some romance and it may be someone we all know and have seen before in Marvel Comics,” Thompson said.
Carol Danvers, like many comic-book characters who have been around for decades, has accumulated a complex backstory. She was introduced in 1967 as an Air Force officer who assisted an alien hero known as Captain Marvel, the male character who originally went by that name. Almost 10 years later, she received her own series as Ms. Marvel, sporting a variation of the hero’s costume (while his covered him from head to toe, hers showed off her midriff and legs). A story published in 1980, in which Ms. Marvel was abducted, mind controlled and impregnated, was criticized as a depiction of rape. She would eventually confront the Avengers about some of the events. Later, she temporarily lost her powers; in finding herself again, she became the heroine Binary and eventually Warbird, while also struggling with alcoholism.
“Carol, unlike a lot of other heroes, is incredibly human and flawed, which makes her relatable,” Thompson said. “She’s incredible but she struggles.” Through all the twists, she continued to persist, and by 2012 she had adopted the name Captain Marvel along with a new costume, designed by Jamie McKelvie, that drew on past versions of her uniform and also played up her military background.
“I’d like to see more consideration for what message a female character’s design is putting across,” McKelvie said in an interview at the time. “I think we, as an industry, are getting better at it though, which is heartening.” Captain Marvel’s stature as a feminist hero and her encouragement of other women is something Thompson will draw upon, and is one of the elements that unifies the Carol Corps, the character’s dedicated fan base.
“This first arc has some female guest stars in an unexpected way,” Thompson said. The first issue also includes some “costume weirdness,” she hinted: “It’s a little bit of a risk, but I think people are going to respond to it.”