Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel has been an erratic book since it began. The first story arc involved some rather rocky, and perhaps ill-considered, time travel shenanigans. The follow-up two issue story guest starring Monica Rambeau — one of several Marvel heroes to use the moniker — was pretty good. After that we were given a story about Carol Danvers suffering from a brain tumour which was shoehorned into a crossover half-way through with the also DeConnick written Avengers Assembled. Issues 15 and 16 were tie-ins to the larger Infinity event. Which brings us to Captain Marvel #17, the series finale. At least until the title relaunches next March with DeConnick still at the helm, taking the book in a new cosmic direction.
Issue 17 is a mixed bag at best. Filipe Andrade’s art is a joy to look at and Jordie Bellaire’s bright colours make everything pop off the page. There is side plot focusing on Captain Marvel’s relationship with her young “sidekick” that has a few genuinely touching moments. The primary storyline, though…
Captain Marvel opens in the offices of a New York magazine where a new character, Grace Valentine, is being told that she won’t be featured in the upcoming issue, contrary to what she’d been previously told. Apparently the magazine’s demographic is more interested in reading about hopeful, inspiring figures, like Captain Marvel, as opposed to cold, wealth, app designing objectivists, such as Valentine. And therein lays a significant amount of the problems with this story.
While I’m not about to claim any sort of expertise regarding objectivism, it’s very clear as we watch this character quickly descend into cartoonish villainy that DeConnick is only paying lip service to the philosophy. Despite repeatedly bringing it up, Grace Valentine is an objectivist in the same way that Dr. Doom is a scientist. Buffonishly and in service to the larger story. She’s so upset that the public chooses to venerate Captain Marvel over herself — despite the fact that her app has over a million downloads! — that it drives her to ridiculous lengths in order to exact revenge.
Again, the impetus for this revenge scheme against a woman whom she’s never met is that a style magazine bumped an article about her.
Even worse, there’s no resolution. Improbably as it seems, Valentine is obviously being set-up as an antagonist for the relaunch, and she escapes justice. Which is fine, except for the fact that while attacking Captain Marvel in the issue’s big feel good conflict resolution, Valentine revealed via Jumbotron that she had assaulted and was holding captive her business partner who discovered that her app was nefariously collecting users’ private information. No one in the issue, not even the eponymous hero, even considers that they might want to save the guy.
It’s a frustrating issue which does not inspire much confidence for the future of Captain Marvel.
Though, speaking of the future, we are treated to a quick teaser for the upcoming February relaunch of Ms. Marvel as well.