The wait is finally over people. Yes, it took Kevin Feige eleven long years to deliver, but the MCU’s first solo female hero film is finally here! Well, almost here. “Captain Marvel” doesn’t technically open in theaters until this Friday. Or is that Thursday night? It’s so hard to keep up these days.
Anyways, before Brie Larson and a young Samuel L. Jackson take the box office by storm, I thought this would be a good time to tell you about some underrated Captain Marvel Comics. I should clarify though that since there are a bunch of heroes named Captain Marvel, my list will focus on comics starring Carol Danvers. Also, my list of underrated comics includes some of her appearances before she took the mantle of Captain.
One last thing you should know: these comics are by no means necessary to enjoy “Captain Marvel” on the big screen. Nor are they in any particular order. These are just good comic stories you might enjoy before or after seeing Brie Larson kick some Skrull ass this weekend. Got it? good, and away we go:
Wolverine #133 (January 1999)
Written by Erik Larsen, with art by Jeff Matsuda, and inks by Jonathan Sibal; Wolverine #133 starts with Wolverine and Carol enjoying a night out drinking and shooting pool. Logan knows something is wrong with Carol, but she hasn’t yet admitted she has a drinking problem. Logan wants to help his friend, but before he can do anything, they learn that a mutant named Powerhouse is attacking the U.N.; Wolverine tries to battle the mutant menace but Carol, who is drunk, keeps fouling things up.
Wolverine #133 saw Carol Danvers during her battle with the bottle, arguably the worst time in her life. Not counting that time she gave birth to her own boyfriend of course. The point is that a drinking problem was a complicated issue that made its way through several Marvel series at the time, and it was nice to see alcoholism treated like a serious issue in a Marvel Comics.
I chose Wolverine #133 for this list in part, because it was the first time that I found out Carol Danvers and Wolverine were friends. Before Wolverine #133 I don’t even remember them interacting too much, but this issue made me think they had been more than friends at one point. Whether that’s been exploring since I don’t know, but it was enjoyable watching these two as friends.
Iron Man Vol.3 #7 (August 1998)
Written by Kurt Busiek, with art by Sean Chen, Eric Cannon, and Sean Parsons. Tony confronts his teammate, Carol Danvers, about her drinking problem. Meanwhile, a small cadre of Kree warriors have resurrected the Kree Supreme Intelligence and plan to exact revenge on those responsible for his passing, the Avengers and the planet Earth.
If you haven’t read the early Kurt Busiek/Sean Chen issues of Iron Man, you’re missing out. Not only is this one of my favorite Iron Man runs, but it’s the only time (that I can remember) where Tony Stark went toe to toe with Carol Danvers. Iron Man #7 had action, drama, and most of all, friendship. After all, who else but Tony could know what Carol is going through?
Uncanny X-Men #269 (October 1990)
“Rogue Redux!” Story by Chris Claremont. Art by Jim Lee and Art Thibert. In Uncanny X-Men #269, Rogue battles the original Ms. Marvel for the right to be. And no matter which one of them wins…Magneto wins! Meanwhile on the far side of the universe, celestial scale teleporter Lila Cheney comes face-to-face with ultimate evil.
Okay, maybe I’m reaching with this one because it’s not exactly a Carol Danvers adventure. This is an X-Men story plain and simple. Thing is, I love this cover by Jim Lee and Rogue had yet to answer for absorbing Ms. Marvel’s powers all those years ago. Uncanny #269 is peak X-Men goodness. The story is solid, the art is freaking amazing, what else do you need?
Mighty Captain Marvel #0 (February 2017)
The most recent book on my list was written by Margaret Stohl, with art by Ramon Rosanas and Emilio Laiso. In this issue, Captain Marvel returns to her helm as Alpha Flight commander with the world cheering her on. She’s the biggest hero in the world – but has Captain Marvel become someone Carol Danvers no longer recognizes?
Mighty Captain Marvel #0 came on the heels of the highly unpopular Civil War II event. That series saw a very different take on Carol Danvers, one that fans did not enjoy or accept. It was then up to her next monthly book, Mighty Captain Marvel, to set things right. And this series eventually fixed many of the problems fans had with how she was portrayed before.
However, Mighty Captain Marvel #0 didn’t try to rationalize her actions. Instead, the creative team of Stohl, Laiso, Rosanas, and Rosenberg focused on the toll the Civil War took on Carol. This issue even seems Captain Marvel going to mandatory counseling, where we discover some of her actions still haunt her, as do the loved ones she’s alienated, and the partnerships she’s lost.
Civil War: Initiative #1 (April 2007)
Written by Brian Micheal Bendis & Warren Ellis, with art and cover by Marc Silvestri. This comic is where the post-war Marvel Universe began, with the debuts of the all-new Iron Man, Omega Flight, Mighty Avengers, New Avengers, and the Thunderbolts. Civil War: Initiative #1 is also important because it’s the first time that Carol wonders if she was on the right side of things. Especially when she notices how Tony is acting now that he’s director of SHIELD.
More importantly, it features Carol Danvers catching up with her best friend Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman). The scenes between the two heroes are great. Yes, they were on opposite sides during the original Civil War, but that’s over, and Carol wants to patch things up with her BFF.
I’m not sure asking Jessica to join her new team was the best opening line, and I definitely wouldn’t have mentioned that Tony Stark always had a thing for Spider-Woman was the way to do it, but that’s just me. At least the two are talking again. And can I just say, Marc Silvestri might draw my favorite versions on Carol Danvers and Jessica Drew?