Monday, March 23, 2015

In Pursuit of Flight (and also some character history)

I was pretty excited to read Captain Marvel Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight because ... I don't know.  Reasons?  One of them being that Captain Marvel has a legitimate costume that is not a bikini and go-go boots, which seems to be the standard uniform for lady superheroes (unless you are Wonder Woman, and then you get a one-piece and go-go boots).  Plus, I love seeing ladies kick butt in comics, alien or human or whatever weird combo of the two you've got going on.


One of the main problems with In Pursuit of Flight is that Kelly Sue DeConnick just plunks you down in the middle of the storyline with pretty much zero background info.  What meager morsels are portioned out to the reader are cryptic at best.  My knowledge of Marvel superheroes is pretty limited, but I guess Captain Marvel was once Carol Danvers, a great pilot and person involved with the Avengers (???) who hung out with Mar-Vell, a Kree (do all Kree have names that sound like you're hiccuping in the middle?).  After another Kree tried to use a Big Bad Weapon on the universe. Mar-Vell's powers transferred to Carol because she wanted them to.  Mar-Vell died (skimming through the Wikipedia page on Mar-Vell, it seems like he died a lot, poor fellow), and Carol assumes the mantle of Captain Marvel.

There's a quick intro scene where Carol and Captain America are fighting this large ... thing, and after successfully defeating it/him/whatever, Cap persuades Carol to become Captain Marvel.  Jarringly, Cap is drawn to look just like Chris Evans, and Spidey looks just like Andrew Garfield.  I don't like that.  I don't want to look at a comic and recognize the actor who plays the superhero instead of just seeing the character.

Anyway, then the real fun (ha-ha!) begins.  I'm pretty unsure of what exactly happened in this comic but it involved a lot of time travel.  Carol's friend and mentor Helen Cobb has just died, and left her her plane.  Carol decides to fly the plane to see if she can reach her friend's altitude record.  As she does so, the plane ices over, she loses control and blammo!  Wakes up on an island off the coast of Peru that's teeming with Japanese soldiers.  Surprise!  It's 1943!  Carol is rescued by a band of extremely tough lady-soldiers, who tell her that they're fighting these Prowlers.  After a kind of pointless battle with these Prowlers (which are Kree tech), Carol sees her plane passing overhead and ... does something to travel in time again.

I know.  I mean, I don't know, but I'm right there with you in the "Whaaa?" department.

Now she ends up in the early 1960s, when her mentor Helen is bribing some dude at NASA to let ladies fly spacecraft.  Carol pops up in her Captain Marvel costume and Helen is like, "Hi, cool clothes, let's fly planes."

The plane (de plane!  De plane!) flies over again, zapping Carol and Helen to the point in time when Carol became Captain Marvel.  I guess all of this happened so that Helen could get Carol's powers for herself ... or something.  And then blah-blah-blah something-something about the shard of Kree tech disrupting the space-time continuum blah-blah-blah.

So how does this time loop thing work, anyway?  And why were there Japanese people on a Peruvian island working with alien tech?  That was never explained.  Does the time-travel figure into Carol and Helen's past relationship at all, because Carol would remember it too, then, right?  Argh!

In the end, all's well that ends well, and Carol ends up making it just in time to see her friend off into surgery for cancer.  I literally have no idea what that storyline is all about and I need to go look it up.

Aside from the issues with, well, pretty much everything, the art was confusing to me.  So, I guess Carol just thinks herself into wearing the Captain Marvel costume?  All right.  But: why does she sometimes have a helmet when she's fighting and sometimes not?  Like, every other panel "sometimes"?  Also, is she trying to rock a mullet or what?  Help!

This makes me sad, because we've finally got a female superhero with a functional costume and her story is gobbledygook.

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