After fighting in Infinity and serving on the frontlines as a leading member of the Avengers, Captain Marvel has a new mission. On March 17, an all-new Captain Marvel series begins which will see the Air Force vet and Avengers alum leaving Earth behind in favor of a new battleground: space.
For this new volume, artist David Lopez joins writer Kelly Sue DeConnick as they take Marvel’s namesake hero out amongst the stars, both on her own and joining with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Although she’s best known for her time spent on Earth, Carol Danvers – as both Captain Marvel and as Binary – has a long history with outer space, but things have changed quite a bit since she called space home. So in this new Captain Marvel series she’ll learn first-hand the new changes, the new players, and the new threats… and as DeConnick tells us, some new love perhaps.
Newsarama: Kelly Sue, how would you describe this new Captain Marvel series compared to the previous volume?
Kelly Sue DeConnick: Well, the big difference is we were grounded in New York City for the previous volume; at least in the latter part of it. With the new Captain Marvel #1 we start in NYC but after that we’re letting her go cosmic. Carol will be spending time off planet.
Nrama: We saw that somewhat with the Infinity tie-in issues, but what’s behind the decision to take her to the stars long-term?
DeConnick: So much of my concept of Carol about her identity as a pilot. For the previous volume, my pitch was "Carol as Chuck Yeager”: incredibly driven, bit arrogant, bit of a swagger. When I was doing research before the launch of the previous Captain Marvel volume, I read Martha Ackmann’s The Mercury 13: The True Story of Thirteen Women and the Dream of Space Flight. At the beginning of the second chapter, the author describes a pilot named Jerrie Cobb. Cobb is an extraordinary woman, and while personality-wise she’s not much like Carol (I get the impression she was more quiet, maybe even shy), Jerrie and Carol share something in their DNA — something to do with determination, persistence. Here’s an excerpt:
It’s no wonder Jerrie Cobb became a pilot. Spend even an hour in Oklahoma, and you see that everything takes flight. Consider, for example, Highway 35, running north-south between Oklahoma City and Ponca City, where Cobb’s parents lived: highway signs shudder back and forth on their metal poles, candy bar wrappers dropped from pickup trucks race along the breakdown lane, and hawks, so still they seem to be paintings, float overhead on oceans of air. Eventually anything in Oklahoma that is not tacked down is lifted up and hurled into the immense western sky.
That thing with the highway sign really struck me, and I kept thinking about Carol and how everything about her is pointed up upward. I think about Carol and Jess [Jessica Drew, aka Spider-Woman] in contrast to one another: Carol is up, Jess is down. Carol is head up and heart up, Jess leads with her chin down. Jess is tucked in, defensive, but everything about Carol is bright and looking for the sky.
So the idea was Carol as this signpost trembling with the urge to shoot off into the sky…. what happens if we let her go?
Nrama: Carol has quite a history up in the stars, from the Kree blood flowing through her but also her years as Binary and part of the Starjammers. Will you be touching on that time any when you take her out to space in this new Captain Marvel series?
DeConnick: I've had some talks with people working on other Marvel cosmic books, and if it makes sense we’ll get to it. But I don’t want to hamstring readers with the need to know 20 or 30 years of continuity to understand the story. Carol is working with a clean slate, so I want readers to have that as well.
I also don’t want to be in a position where the recap page at the beginning of each issue is five paragraphs long. [laughs]
Nrama: Definitely. David, let’s bring you in here. You’re coming to Captain Marvel after working on the various X-titles for the past year or so. What’s it’s like switching up to this new character for you, and relaunching the series with a new #1?
David Lopez: It's fine, it's fine, I'm a Mutants guy, that's like your soccer team, you can't change it, but Carol is one of those characters that you don't say no to, she's got all that I want as an artist and the story that Kelly Sue wants to tell is… is going to be awesome… plus, lots of friends of mine told me that I had to work with Kelly Sue, that she's really nice and that we're perfect fit… they were right, it feels like home.
Working on a book from issue one is always a chance, you can make that book your own, and that's what I'm going to try, to make my vision of a character as charismatic as Carol is.
Nrama: Let’s dig deeper; being a “mutants guy,” what made Captain Marvel something you wanted to do? In your career you’ve worked on major characters like Batman, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Hawkeye, the X-Men, and others.
Lopez: She's a major character too, you know… she's an Avenger and she's been having her own books for quite some time. What I liked of her is that she transmits the sense of wonder of high adventure, she's got what all those heroes we love have, she's Han Solo, she's Lara Croft, she's John McClane… she's the hero you can count on.
Nrama: All those heroes pride themselves on good adversaries. Who will Carol be up against here in the new year and this new series?
DeConnick: If you read Jonathan Hickman’s Infinity event, you saw the moment that will be at the core of Carol’s face-off with her enemy in our first storyline when we finally get to see who’s behind her recent troubles.
Nrama: In Captain Marvel #17 we saw Carol re-learning who she was after previous events which damaged her memory. That twist – and showing her rebuilding from that implied some lasting ramifications. With this new #1, she’s not all better is she?
DeConnick: She’s a functional, normal person — and she’s Carol, her personality is intact — but no, all of her memories didn’t come flooding back. I want that sacrifice she made to mean something, so it’s got to have been a price she paid.
In her current status quo, she knows what’s happened in her past, but she’s learned it rather than remembered it. It’s an important subtlety.
It was important for her to make that choice and to give up that part of her in a heroic gesture to – SPOILERS! – save her city and the people she cared about. She risked death; she didn’t know what would happen, and she can’t change what’s happened. Those are implications intended to be long-lasting. If we take that back, I think we’re like: “This is going to have long-lasting implications… PSYCH!” We have to commit, I think.
That said, I just did another interview where I talked too much about this and it became the headline. My point being that we’re NOT going to dwell on the memory loss. I don’t expressly mention it very often, but it’s important subtext.
Nrama: David, what do you like about the Captain Marvel character herself?
Lopez: This latest redesign she's had is awesome, I remember I saw it a couple of years ago and I thought that it was perfect, it's air force, it's Kree, it's something logical for the character, I like it very much, but again, what's I'm more into is the character, she's always meant pure adventure and action for me, I'm very much into that lately.
Nrama: When this new series was announced, you mentioned in interviews there would be a time jump between the two volumes. How much time has elapsed between series?
DeConnick: Time in the Marvel Universe is timey wimey, but it’s months not years; months, not weeks.
Nrama: In the previous volume Carol assembled quite a supporting cast, both Carol Corps and otherwise. Will we be seeing any of them in this new series?
DeConnick: I love them too much to abandon them. I spent so much time and energy establishing and building them up; I’ll be damned if I can just walk away from them. I love Wendy Kawasaki and I love Tracy Burke, and I don’t want to just let them fall off the radar and not come back. Kit Renner in particular, and Tracy, are sort of the Alpha and Omega of wanting to portray intergenerational female friendships. Helen is another version of that.
And there’s also Kamala Khan; that notion of legacy and one hero inspiring another. (Kamala’s not under my purview; she’s G. Willow Wilson’s, and she’s doing extraordinary with Ms. Marvel. If people aren’t reading that yet, I urge them to go out and get that first issue now.)
But my point is that I can’t just leave them. So we will see them in Captain Marvel #1, then Carol goes off into space and we’ll meet new people there and hopefully come to care about them the way we have the ground crew. Life will continue on Earth, and when we do come back life we’ll learn what has transpired in her absence.
Nrama: Captain Marvel #1 comes out next month – can you point out some specific things readers can look forward to in the issue? Sights, sounds, people, places,…?
Lopez: Hmmm… there are a lot of exciting panels and pages there, but there's an argument between Carol and Rocket Raccoon that is gonna to be legend-… wait for it…
DeConnick: I kind of hate myself for putting this out there as a teaser, but probably the most surprising thing is that Carol has a love interest. In the previous volume I actively avoided all except for top-level flirting, but Carol has a love interest in Captain Marvel #1.