Apparently I haven’t touched this thing in a month. Based on the date of the last entry, I think I know exactly why.
I’ve been back into comics in a horrible/awesome way lately, and I’ve been reading Kelly Sue Deconnick’s Captain Marvel (the seventh volume to hold that title with Marvel!) at the behest of a friend who was curious about my opinion of the book. Commenting on some elements seems like a minefield, of course¹, but mostly the book is on the stronger end of comics I’ve read. Then again, maybe that’s because the other one I’ve been reading is Fingeroth’s original Darkhawk run, which has the clumsy, exposition-heavy writing of the mid-period mainstream book: it’s for kids, but not, but is, but not. There’s a reach for plain good writing, with a lot of concessions to trying to draw in new readers or slow readers. I kinda like this phase, though it’s clunky as all hell. I think it’s bolstered largely by the art, which is straightforward (my favourite kind!) and not flashy, but very much does what it should. The first 25-ish issues are by Mike Manley, whose name does not jump out immediately.
The artists associated with Captain Marvel, on the other hand, are the revolving door of weirdness that marks a lot of modern books. Quirky, emphatically stylistic art really came to the fore in the late 90s from what I’ve seen (in D.C./Marvel books) with the increasingly rubbery Madureira and Chris Bachalo (who eventually started to draw practically chibi Generation X, I’ve discovered–enough that I thought the first cover I saw was a variant or something, not the intended “core” art…). Emma Rios draws one issue of CM and her style is not entirely dissimilar from later semi-regular Filipe Andrade. Both are weird, somewhere in the realms of Æon Flux-type distortion of the human form, which has the inevitable warring on the mail page. Now, I love Sam Kieth and I hate Humberto Ramos, so I don’t actually have a firm stance on “nearly abstract” comic art. And I think Rios and Andrade kinda embody that straddling. The inking and colouring push them more toward the wildly arty Kieth end of things (where Ramos’s work, in my experience, is inked and coloured as if his shitty proportions are normal comic book art–I think this, particularly, is a terrible idea) so they tend to work. But it feels like a weird (and bad) decision for a fledgling superhero book. Though maybe I’m projecting–Danvers had her intersection with the X-Men, but has largely been an Avengers-end character so far as I’ve ever known (I guess. We have the Rogue thing, but also the whole Binary thing that happened in X-Men–which I actually read–and I guess [I just checked, I was wrong] Warbird is X-Men…?²
Anyway, it’s distracting is my point, I guess. It feels like a modern Image book (how weird that those are kind of like the Vertigo of comics now, considering how they started…), which isn’t bad, but does seem…inappropriate. I dunno.
I’m going to go finish up v7 (reset for Marvel Now! Of course!), particularly the Enemy Within crossover that I discovered part way through reading all of it (to get the whole story, you need Avengers: The Enemy Within #1, and Avengers Assemble #16 and #17). Then go sort more of the rest of it.
¹Put simply, it’s disorienting how completely (that’s not literal, but it’s a very high percentage) female the cast is. Which I guess, blah, blah, “Now you know how it feels,” but that seems less…useful. But this goes in about fifty different directions at once after that (the alternative is a plain balanced cast, which might not stand out as much; why should Deconnick or a male writer aiming this way be the one to be balanced [ie, take the full-on high ground, a lonely, difficult place, mostly because it’s not obvious thanks to its not-so-polemic nature]; maybe this is more indicative of the gender balance of a woman, which I’m not so this seems weird to me and normal to women [rather than emphatically, disproportionately female]). I do just mean that, largely, it seems if a bit player is introduced, or most “actual” team-ups or whatever–another female. But then, we’re talking friends/associates of a female superhero. Maybe they would be more female. Basically, all of this is rumination and should be taken in no way as criticism or what have you. Just commenting on the visceral response. I don’t want to “unpack” or whatever.
²I’m going to assign credit for this faux pas to Deathbird, who is a villain in this very volume/comic. Shi’ar and all that. And apparently there are Shi’ar Warbirds, so fuck this.