With the newest Marvel blockbuster rapidly approaching, it’s the perfect time to read the comics that inspired the movie. In addition, many of these volumes are on sale on Comixology now!
Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel
Kelly Sue DeConnick (Bitch Planet, Avengers Assemble) is the person responsible for Carol Danvers even having a movie. Prior to KSD’s series, Carol Danvers had kinda been in a slump. Then known as Ms. Marvel, her solo series had been over for a year and she was regulated to supporting character in the Avengers.
Kelly Sue launched a new series at the behest of editor Steven Wacker, and formally gave her the title of Captain Marvel. Her reinvention of the character along with Jamie McKelvie’s redesign sparked a whole movement of fans known as the Carol Corps.
During the run, Carol takes charge for her own origin, faces medical problems, and joins the Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s an incredibly fun series with deft emotional writing. Artists including Dexter Soy, Marcio Takara, and David Lopez bring DeConnick’s stories to life. Writer Kelly Thompson (Rogue and Gambit, West Coast Avengers) cowrites KSD’s farewell story. Thompson is writing the current Captain Marvel ongoing series, available digitally and at your local comic shop.
Life of Captain Marvel
Written by Margret Stohl (the Beautiful Creatures novel series, Black Widow: Red Vengeance), this Carlos Pacheco (Avengers Forever, X-Men) illustrated series digs into Carol’s past. It reinvents her origin for the modern age, updating the story that’s been told before, but adding new elements to make it a worthwhile read. Available digitally and in paperback.
All-New All-Different Marvel
In 2015, Marvel relaunched their entire line, including Captain Marvel. With the showrunners of Marvel’s Agent Carter TV Series, Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas, Carol is given a new status quo. She’s now the commander of Alpha Flight, Earth’s first defense against alien threats. Kris Anka (Uncanny X-Men, Runaways) gorgeously renders the stories. With a new job and supporting cast, the series rocketed off with a new start.
The series was derailed a bit by the Captain Marvel-centric Civil War II by Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez. In that, a new Inhuman named Ulysses has the ability to predict the future and after one of her best friends ends up in a coma and her boyfriend dies. Carol decides to use the boy’s powers to preemptively arrest potential threats, bringing her into direct conflict with Iron Man.
Mighty Captain Marvel
Margret Stohl took over writing after Civil War II. She picks up the pieces of Carol’s life (as well as the quality after the creative team shift). A lot of the series was damage control as Carol, although well-intentioned, came off as the villain of Civil War II. The Mighty Captain Marvel series directly addresses this with Carol dealing with the ramifications of her actions as well as the guilt she feels.
In the second volume, Carol and Alpha Flight deal with the events of Secret Empire, while in Volume 3, Carol ends up in a mirror universe in a race with their universe’s evil Guardians of the Galaxy to obtain an Infinity Gem.
Classic Epic Collections
If you want to read some of Carol’s earliest adventures, look no further than the Epic Collection series. These volumes collect the original Ms. Marvel series, featuring writing by comics legend Chris Claremont.
The Ms. Marvel Years
Also of note is the (awkwardly titled) Captain Marvel: Carol Danvers: The Ms. Marvel Years, Brian Reed’s multiyear run of Ms. Marvel. It did a lot for Carol’s character, boosting her profile and developing her character further. It’s Carol’s longest lasting series, but it is very of its time and ties in heavily to then-current Marvel events. If you can deal with that, then there’s plenty of good stuff in here.
Other Captains Marvel
Carol isn’t the first Captain Marvel. For the best stories of her inspiration, Mar-Vell read Captain Marvel by Jim Starlin. For the adventures of Carol’s friend Monica Rambeau (Alias Photon) read Captain Marvel Monica Rambeau; available digitally and in paperback at your local comic shop. (Okay, it is on Amazon, but it was meant to be a comic shop exclusive so the price is super jacked up.)