So I saw Captain Marvel the movie after reading Captain Marvel the comic a few weeks back, and I had similar impressions of both. I thought they were fun, I thought they had charm, but neither really answered all of my Captain Marvel questions. I think they both settled in for B grades, good enough to enjoy but not so great that I would actively pursue more.
I wasn’t sure if I’d go back to the book, or even if I would rewatch the movie, for that matter. But even though it wasn’t my favorite, the movie did its job in peaking my interest about Captain Marvel stories. I never made it to the flerken reveal in the comics so I wanted to see how that played out. I managed to pull myself away from Tetris long enough to read the second volume series: Stay Fly. This time, Kelly Sue Deconnick (did you catch her cameo in the movie?) and David Lopez (did he have a cameo in the movie? I legit don’t know for sure) are joined by Marcio Takara and Laura Braga on art chores. In volume one, they did a great job with Carol’s personality and making her a likable yet quirky character. In volume two, they go all out to just plain have fun with the book.
Captain Marvel: Stay Fly contains issues 7-11 from the 2014 series, although the trade dress has the description of the first six issues instead. Whoops! We all make mistakes, Marvel. Last time out, I thought this series came out in 2015 instead of 2014 and 2015! Whoops!
Issues 7-8 deal with the flerken/cat drama that the movie had so much fun with. Tic from the last volume and Rocket are along for the ride as space goo (not Venom symbiote I don’t think, but close enough) tries to take over Carol’s ship to kidnap her flerken.
I almost said catnap, but that has a way different connotation than kidnap. Shouldn’t that word be kidnab with a b? I guess it’s because kids don’t nap. Cats nap. Kids just keep going and going and going and going. The English language doesn’t make any sense and now I’m rambling parent rambles. Sorry. Speaking of parent issues, did I mention the flerken has laid eggs at this point and there are over a hundred flerken-kittens floating around the ship while this is taking place? Few things are as cute and ridiculous as alien space cats!
Speaking of ridiculous, the next issue is probably my favorite from the whole series, as Lila Cheney hops onboard and ends up taking Carol to a planet where everyone speaks in rhyme. All the time. The prince with Ziggy Stardust eyes and the king an Elvis-like maven, their planet seems modernized and a rock and roll haven. Their customs, while strange, require a wedding to be arranged. The gender roles and norms are seemingly reversed, with a prince needing a bride before he can claim his kingly purse.
Lila’s hand in marriage is promised to the handsome prince, although that thought makes Lila wince. She brings Carol to try some diplomacy because she doesn’t want to marry this prince, you see? Someone else does, but she’s horrifically cruel. So Carol engages in a fight to the death you might call a duel. The fight only lasts so long and there’s no death to be had, as the prince convinces the king their customs are bad. Still, Tic ends up volunteering to step in as wife, agreeing that she doesn’t have to stay but she cannot remarry for the rest of her life. It was worth it to save her friends and avoid the stryfe. Plus, she thinks the prince is hot. This story was my favorite that this collection has got. The cheesy rhyme schemes are surely a gimmick, albeit one I wouldn’t mind seeing other books that take themselves too seriously mimic. They harken back to a sillier, more fun time, when alien planets in comics might do weird stuff like speak in rhyme. Some might take this issue and condescend it; me, I can’t help but recommend it.
Issue 10 is an anniversary of Carol’s 100th issue focusing on the supporting cast, from Lt. Trouble to Spider-Woman to Iron Patriot and how they’re inspired by Carol. Then, the next issue, Carol takes down the baddie that was causing her friends fits by teaming up with a certain holiday icon, all just in time to visit the bedside of an elderly friend. I will freely admit that while the last two issues were solid comic bookery, I did have that feeling that there’s a lot about Captain Marvel I don’t know. That’s not unreasonable, considering there are 90 other issues out there that I haven’t read. Her supporting cast, much like her actual powerset and how her helmet thing works all remain a mystery to me. The fun of this series far outweighs any of the qualms I may have. Deconnick’s writing feels more and more like a throwback to when I grew up loving comic books. I may have damned her with faint praise last time by saying she’s not writing towards some epic collection, but issue by issue her stories are solid. Sometimes they’re cute, sometimes they’re deep character studies, sometimes they’re just plain fun and silly, but they’re consistently good. I think volume 2 finally brought me around to the idea that I should celebrate that, not knock it down in my rankings. I’m happy to readily embrace kookie-cat-looking-egg-laying aliens and rhyming issues.
Deconnick and Lopez are now both names I’ve added to my mental list to keep an eye out for whenever I’m looking for something worthwhile. Captain Marvel’s history and powerset both remain a mystery to me after three trades (two by Deconnick and one by Margaret Stohl) and a movie, but I feel like I have a solid handle on who the character is personality-wise. Lopez’s art remains stellar, and the title didn’t miss a beat when Marcio Takara took the reigns. If you’re looking for a fun, character-driven series, this run is definitely worth your while. Final Grade: A.
Until next time, I’ll be adding that image of the flerken with her eggs as yet another reason why I don’t want a cat in my house. You can never be too careful!