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Captain Marvel

Take Flight with Captain Marvel Pt. 2

Go behind the scenes of the Enemy Within crossover and more with Kelly Sue DeConnick!

Try as hard as you can, you just can't keep Captain Marvel down.

This Wednesday marks Carol Danvers' big return in the all-new CAPTAIN MARVEL #1. Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick resumes her role as Carol's co-pilot, with new series artist David Lopez strapped in tight and ready for the hero's next out-of-this-world adventure. For everybody boarding the good ship Captain Marvel for the first time, we've conducted an extensive interview with Kelly Sue DeConnick about the previous volume of Carol's series.

Yesterday, we covered the first eight issues of the prior CAPTAIN MARVEL volume. Today we'll be running through CAPTAIN MARVEL (2012) #9-14, AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #16-17 and AVENGERS: THE ENEMY WITHIN #1. With a lesion impairing her ability to fly and ghosts from her past haunting her every move, Carol had to call on her mighty teammates to help save the day. In the end, Captain Marvel made the play that saved the day, and sacrificed her own memories in the process.

Marvel.com: CAPTAIN MARVEL #9 marked the debut of Filipe Andrade on the book, and, in a way, it was almost like another #1 issue. Was that your intention?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: It totally was because we got Marvel NOW! branding with issue #9. We never got a Marvel NOW! #1, so when people are asking, "Why a new #1?" it's because we didn't get a Marvel NOW! #1. We hadn't been out that long so we got a Marvel NOW! #9, which isn't quite the same bump, but it's definitely written like a new #1 issue. People talk about how every issue is somebody's first issue and you should try to make it [accessible] for anyone to follow or pick up, no matter what. I think that's true but I also think that there are some jumping on points that are better than others. Unless your book is a series of one-shots, there are going to be some jumping on points that are better than others.

I always think about "The X-Files" and how well structured [that show] was. It was the first time that I noticed structure in a TV show. There are these self-contained episodes and there are larger, mythology episodes. I liked it best when they would forward the story and the larger mythology in a self-contained [episode]. I think that's the ideal. I think the one I'm most familiar with who does this best is [writer Matt] Fraction, in particular with HAWKEYE. Every issue feels like a meal to unto itself. He does it masterfully. The larger story moves forward in every issue but every issue feels self-contained. That is the ideal, but it’s not a thing I’ve done well. Therefore I have issues that are better jumping on points than others. So in [the previous CAPTAIN MARVEL] volume, the best jumping on points are issues #1, #7, #9, and then you almost have to skip to #17, which would be weird, to jump on at the last issue. But you could.

Marvel.com: This arc, collected as "Down," plays a lot with aspects of Carol's history, like her old nemesis Deathbird. Were there any aspects of her past you didn't want to play with?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: While we're just laying stuff out here, when I started writing Carol's solo [series], I kept getting asked about AVENGERS #200. I was getting asked about it so often that it would infuriate me. It felt like this “gotcha!” thing that people brought up with glee as evidence of…I-don’t-know-what. That our female heroines have been misused in the past, I guess?  How very shocking! That Carol Strickland essay about AVENGERS #200 was written in 1980. 30 years ago.  And it was a great piece—an important piece—but just putting it on the table with nothing but “Here, this!” proves nothing but the fact that you’ve got access to Wikipedia and an inability to acknowledge anything in the 30 years of continuity that’s come since. It’s almost like re-victimizing Carol by continually defining her by that storyline and never allowing her to move on.

[Editor's note: In AVENGERS #200, Carol Danvers finds herself kidnapped, brainwashed, and impregnated by a being known as Marcus. Carol then gave birth to another version of Marcus, who rapidly aged into adulthood and took Carol back to his home dimension, with nary a protest from her Avengers teammates.]

As far as I'm concerned, AVENGERS #200 has been dealt with.

When Fraction and [Ed] Brubaker were researching their IMMORTAL IRON FIST run, they decided that there were parts of the early continuity that just didn't work, and rather than trying to retcon them out, they would just ignore them. They started calling those things “the broccoli people,” for reasons that would be obvious if you read a whole bunch of old Iron Fist comics. To me, AVENGERS #200 is even more broccoli people than broccoli people. It’s been asked and answered; [Chris] Claremont wrote Carol confronting the Avengers about it.  It’s done.

Marvel.com: Chris Claremont wrote that response story almost immediately, in AVENGERS ANNUAL #10.

Kelly Sue DeConnick: Yes, right.

Marvel.com: "Down" saw the introduction of two new supporting characters: Carol's assistant Wendy and the little girl next door named Kit. What inspired their involvement?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: Wendy was supposed to be [current Spider-Girl] Anya Corazon. I wanted to have this be intergenerational. I wanted a teenage girl and at the time I asked for Anya, [she] wasn't available so had an opportunity to create a character. I was looking for a chance to do something with the Banshees again, but because it's a time travel thing that would be difficult.

So I had this notion that I would just plant some seeds and maybe we would be able to see more of their adventures in flashback or something, and so then it was born this idea of Carol having an assistant who was an academic working on a book about the Banshees. [It evolved into]—and I don't remember if it was me or [editor] Sana [Amanat] who came up with the idea—that she would be related to them. Wendy is the granddaughter of Daisy Diddle and Bijou Kawasaki's brother. Wendy Kawasaki. I love Wendy. I was bummed that Anya wasn't available, but I ended up getting to write Anya later in AVENGERS ASSEMBLE. It kinda worked out for the best for me because I wouldn't trade Wendy for anything in the world.

Marvel.com: Where does Kit come from? Is she named after Kit Cox of the Carol Corps?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: [CAPTAIN MARVEL co-writer] Chris Sebela named Kit. I wanted to have a little girl that lived in her building, so I brought that to the table and Chris named her. So I would assume she's probably named after Kit Cox, but I'm not one hundred percent sure.

Marvel.com: CAPTAIN MARVEL's crossover with AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, titled "Enemy Within," has a real movie-worthy third act and possessed stakes the likes of which we hadn't previously seen in the volume. The entirety of New York City was going to be crushed by a resurrected Kree city. How did you concoct those stakes?

Avengers Assemble/Captain Marvel: The Enemy Within (2013) #1

Kelly Sue DeConnick: I talked to [editor Tom] Brevoort about it. He was incredible. I've only had two or three conversations with Tom directly. Most of the time [editors] Sana Amanat and Lauren Sankovitch worked really closely with me on "Enemy Within." Both of them sat with me on the phone—on the weekend one time!—while I had panic attacks working out the second to last issue. They've been incredible, but Tom has been at this as long as he has because he's incredibly gifted. The couple times that I have been on the phone with him, he has made me a better writer, which sounds so corny but it's completely true.

There was a moment in the “Science Bros" arc of AVENGERS ASSEMBLE when I had written myself into a corner where I didn't have the room I needed for my fight scene. I called Tom trying to figure out what to give up. I didn’t want to rush my ending. I couldn’t get rid of anything in the set-up. I had already written the ending and I had basically left myself this middle to fill and I just didn't have enough pages for a proper fight. I didn't know how to do it without it feeling like the fight was too easy. I called Tom and Tom was like, "Well, we know who's going to win. No offense, but I don't think we go to you for epic battles. I don't think that that's what your readership is looking for. Make sure everybody's got their big battle moment and then cut to the end!" And it was just the wisest bit of advice.

Basically what he told me was play to your strengths. Would it have been ideal if I had the space to do all of it? Yes. Absolutely, it would have been much better if I had been able to have a big epic fight scene and get my wrap-up, but I did not have the space for it. I am, quite frankly, still working on my pacing. I have gotten better at it, but I still don't think I'm as good at it as I'd like to be. Tom talked me through it in a really simple [way]. That was, I think, literally word for word what he said. "No offense, but we don't go to you for epic fight scenes." Oh, okay. [Laughs]

Marvel.com: At the end of "Enemy Within," Captain Marvel pushes her powers past their limit, to the detriment of her health. And the final page of the story, illustrated by Scott Hepburn, where Carol is floating in space with tears coming out of her eyes, is amazing. How did you settle on that particular sacrifice for the character?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: The idea was that this has to be her choice. She knows that this is the only way to save them and she figures if you're gonna go, this moment is for you. It's my favorite thing in the world, not a bad way to go. That was definitely in the plans and Hepburn nailed it. The tear is absolutely beautiful. And then we go to #17 and the idea is we haven't retconned anything.

Everything that happened still happened. But Carol has, in an act of heroism, made a sacrifice that defines who she is. And now she has to rebuild her history and she's going to do it through the eyes of an eight-year-old girl who thinks that she hung the moon. So Carol learns who she is from the perspective that sees her at her finest.

For the further adventures of Carol Danvers, pick up CAPTAIN MARVEL #1, on sale this Wednesday! And be back tomorrow for more with Kelly Sue!

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