With Carol Danvers set to make her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut, we’re providing five essential comics to read to get you up to speed on the character.
With a rich history spanning years and years of Marvel content, we’ve picked out some of the best-of-the-best stories to introduce — or re-introduce — you to Carol, and make you a fully-fledged member of the #CarolCorps.
‘Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Captain Marvel’
This recently released, 300-page history of Captain Marvel covers some of Carol’s essential stories across her 50 years on the page. The focus, however, isn’t just on Carol herself, but also on the other characters who have carried the Captain Marvel mantle over the years.
So, if you’re looking for something that jumps all the way back to where it all began with Mar-Vell, as well as a series of events that put into motion Carol stepping up as his successor, this is the collection for you.
‘Captain Marvel Vol 1: In Pursuit Of Flight’
In many ways, Kelly Sue DeConnick’s In Pursuit of Flight ushered in a new era of Captain Marvel comics. Not only with defining Carol Danvers’ now signature look — as designed by Jamie McKelvie — but also solidifying her as a major player on the Marvel stage.
Essentially a reboot, In Pursuit of Flight is a fantastic jumping in point for anyone wanting to get more of a taste of who Carol Danvers and her superhero counterpart is and just what she is capable of.
And, as always, DeConnick’s writing is slick, witty, and provides an incredible study of the character, placing her in fantastical situations that pushed the boundaries of what Carol was capable of, in ways we’d never seen before.
‘Captain Marvel Vol 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More’
If those words sound familiar to you, it’s because they echo throughout all of the marketing for Captain Marvel, and for good reason. DeConnick returned for this relaunch, featuring a more established Carol Danvers and Captain Marvel, and taking her beyond the more Earth-bound adventures of the previous titles on this list.
As part of Captain Marvel will be set in space, this is the perfect place to become acquainted with Carol’s universe-spanning adventures, as well as some of the characters she teams up with.
(Plus, the adoption of the tagline in the trailers should be an endorsement in and of itself.)
‘The Mighty Captain Marvel’
Another relaunch of the Carol Danver’s story — this time under the deft pen of Margaret Stohl — The Mighty Captain Marvel pushes the character to her emotional limits. Set shortly after the Civil War II arc, where Carol made some dubious choices, this collection follows her as she finds herself once again, and attempts to balance her role as a TV superstar alongside her position as the Commander of Alpha Flight.
The highlight of this arc is when Carol comes face-to-face with a shapeshifter taking her form and having to fight herself in a physical manifestation of all of her recent internal struggles. Yes, The Mighty Captain Marvel edges into slightly darker territory, mostly due to the fallout of Civil War II, but it’s well worth it to see her reckoning with the consequences of her actions.
‘The Life Of Captain Marvel’
We’re not going to lie and pretend that Carol Danvers’ backstory isn’t complicated. After several iterations, reboots, and soft-relaunches, there are so many versions of it that it’s hard to keep them all straight and figure out which one is the true backstory.
If you only read one comic on this list, make it this one. Written by Margaret Stohl, The Life of Captain Marvel is a five-part series, which concluded in December 2018, and it seeks to update and simplify the character’s backstory in a way that it has desperately been in need of, to provide the best jumping in point for new fans.
It documents Carol’s childhood, through to her receiving her Kree powers, and her very real struggles as she becomes the hero we all know and love. Plus, it makes that complicated backstory far less complicated. What more could you ask for?