Carol Danvers is one of Marvel’s oldest female heroes, and easily one of Marvel’s most recognizable heroines for over forty years, even more so than Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel and the hero her stories spun out from. Despite this, she has often been treated less-than-respectfully by some creators. There is a larger discussion there, the treatment of women and women characters in comics a long, horrible, and infuriating story, but for now, let’s just say Carol’s had a rough time of it.
Over the last decade or so however, she’s come back with a vengeance, leading her own book Ms Marvel, becoming one of the Avenger’s heaviest hitters, a focal point for their books, and forging one of the funniest and most endearing superhero friendships with Spider-Woman. With her popularity at an all time high after the mega-event Avengers vs X-Men, the time had come for a new series for Carol, but who would take that series and what would happen was up in the air.
During the Women of Marvel Podcast, Kelly Sue described how she got writing Carol, “...I wanted to pitch something to Marvel... asking around for what they might be interested in fielding pitches on...” She called Steven Wacker, an editor for Marvel, and ask if she could do a pitch for Carol Danvers. Wacker gave the go ahead, and Kelly pitched the idea of Carol coming back to her roots as a pilot, and not the law and order character that she had become since the events of Civil War, and in the process of that, give Carol “her swagger back”.
Wacker obviously liked this idea, as he took it to the higher ups at Marvel to get the go ahead. Kelly was nervous about this, often remarking in interviews, “I had no faith that it would go past six issues,” and was shocked when the book got a full order. Even more shocking, she described during a podcast that when she was called about the book she was told that, “...you’re not going to be writing Ms Marvel... you’re going to be writing CAPTAIN MARVEL!” Carol Danvers, one of Marvel’s biggest, most recognizable and popular female characters was getting a promotion, finally taking her rightful place as Mar-Vell’s successor. More than that, a costume redesign was ordered (complete with pants), and a new age for Carol, and Kelly Sue, had begun.
The book became an instant success, Kelly’s earnest writing of the cocky, flawed, badass and sometimes rather impulsive Carol Danvers wowing fans. Instead of just writing Carol as someone who punches stuff (though punching was still a primary solution to most of her problems), Kelly put Carol in situations where he couldn’t just punch her way out, and had to find new ways to overcome both her enemy’s and her own insecurities. The book’s success also sparked a movement among Carol’s legion of fans, known as the Carol Corps. This group of fans have held rallies in honour of Carol, Kelly Sue overwhelmed by how much this book has meant to people. The book also raised Carol’s stock considerably, Kelly’s depiction of her bringing her to the upper echelon of super-heroes, many mentioning he in the same breath as Wonder Woman, Wolverine, Batman, and the X-Men. In fact, this resurgence has lead Marvel Studios to launch a movie based on our favourite badass Colonel. Upon hearing the news, Kelly Sue had this to say, "I feel so proud of her, like Carol is this person who lives in my head, and 'look what you did, girl!'" and "It feels like a friend just got a promotion."If that isn’t validation for Kelly Sue’s work on the character, I don’t know what is.
Sadly ending soon, there is no denying that Kelly Sue’s run on Captain Marvel should be considered one of the best runs in recent comic book history. Under her pen, Carol regained her swagger, and punched a whole right in the sky to become the star that everyone always knew she could be. The same could be said for Kelly Sue, Captain Marvel earning her the notoriety and success that she rightfully deserves for such exceptional work. I hope she can return to writing Carol again someday, but until then, the work can and will speak for itself.