EP0056: Captain Marvel: The Rise of Alpha Flight (Review)

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Captain Marvel gets a new haircut and takes command of a team of Candian Superheroes…IN SPACE!


Graham: Captain Marvel gets a haircut and a new look and also takes command of a space station. We’ll talk about it ahead as we take a look at Captain Marvel: The Rise of Alpha Flight.

Announcer: Welcome to the Classic Comics podcast where we search for the best comics in the universe. From Boise Idaho here is your host Adam Graham.

Graham: After a critically acclaimed, if not always commercially successful, run on Captain Marvel, Kelly Deconnick left the book and the series was taken over by Tara Butters who wrote the Agent Carter series. So, we’ll take a look at what she did in this book Captain Marvel: The Rise of Alpha Flight which covers issues one through five of the relaunch Captain Marvel series.

Captain Marvel is Carol Danvers who began her career as Miss Marvel back in the 1970s. We reviewed Essential Miss Marvel Volume 1 talking about that series while she was a lot of identities became Miss Marvel again and then in 2012, she became Captain Marvel deciding that it had apparently been long enough since the death of Marvell for her to go ahead and claim that banner and she’s been Captain Marvel ever since 2012.
However, it’s been a bit of a rough road. She has dad a total of 5 different series. She had 2 series by Kelly Deconnick and then this series and then this was followed by The Mighty Captain Marvel, which was followed by another Captain Marvel series, though continuing on with numbering as if they were starting from scratch and she is due this summer and might actually be released by the time this episode is out, to have her own mini-series The Life of Captain Marvel, which is a relaunch and definitive origin story ahead of the Captain Marvel movie due out next year.

Alright, well that out of the way, let’s take a look at this book The Rise of Alpha Flight. Well Carol has gotten a job as commanding a space station which is the galaxy’s first line of defense and she leaves her erstwhile love interest Rhodey aka War Machine behind so that she can go up into space and actually this is the second straight volume that started her doing that. The second Kelly Deconnick volume had her leaving so that she could explore the universe in an Avenger starship and in many ways Deconnick was giving her much the same role as Captain Kirk. Here she is taking on command of a space station and it can be compared to Babylon 5 or it can be call compared to Deep Space Nine, if you want to stay strictly Trek-based.
She points to or new haircut, which is short as opposed to the traditional Carol Danvers style which tends to be on the long side and she tends to be skilled at putting it up if necessary but here they opted for shorter hair, which amounts to most over in new look and as far as that goes, it looks fine. It’s a haircut that many women realistically wear and I can kind of see why she would go with it.

So, she arrives on the space station, which is staffed by the Canadian Superhero Team Alpha Flight. On the space station she runs into her biggest challenge which is her first officer Lieutenant Commander Abigail Brand, who is doubting her fitness and whether she’s up for the job, particularly with the heavy diplomacy but thankfully for Captain Marvel, instead they encounter a ghostship that happens to have the Hala star on it, the symbol that she wears on her chest and she starts having visions of the original Marvell of the Kree.
Well, overall I felt the best character in this book was Abigail Brand. There were at least a couple different sides to her personality and she tended to be the most interesting and unpredictable character in the book with a lot of twists. Some people said her general style towards Carol is passive aggressive. I don’t really see it that way. I think she has doubts and she wants to assert her own independence but ultimately she never lets that get in the way of doing a good job. So, I thought she was, again, the highlight of the book character-wise. The art throughout is decent and I think the story is not bad either. It’s kind of like an average episode of Deep Space Nine and maybe a slightly below average episode of Babylon 5. The biggest challenge with this book are the characters other than Brand and I do include Carol Danvers in that regard. It’s really hard to get a feel for who they are, particularly our ongoing cast members. It doesn’t seem that the writer really can have a sense of when to do character moments to help our audience really appreciate the characters this is true if like me who never read Alpha Flight.
Now you might get more out of this book if you were a fan of this Canadian superhero team but it’s not particularly assessable to expect the comic to go like that. With multiple characters around you can’t develop everybody but you could have done more than was done and particularly with the main heroine. It’s really hard to get a grasp of who Carol is other than someone who, as her natural preference, would prefer action to diplomacy.

Overall this isn’t a bad book but it’s not really good either. The plot isn’t enough to elevate the fact that the characters are ill defined. If you’re a fan of Alpha Flight you may enjoy this particularly well. If you are the type of person who enjoyed Star Trek Deep Space Nine or Babylon 5, then this might be your cup of coffee for a bit of nostalgia but for me I’ll give the book a rating of not classy.

All right that’s all for today. If you do have a comment send it to me classycomicsguy@gmail.com. Follow us on Twitter at classycomicsguy and be sure and rate the show on iTunes. From Boise, Idaho, this is your host Adam Graham signing off.

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