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Captain Marvel

Take Flight with Captain Marvel Pt. 3

See how Kelly Sue DeConnick planned the final issues of Carol Danvers' last series, including a lost story arc!

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.

We’ve discussed the start of CAPTAIN MARVEL as well as the “Enemy Within” crossover already; today we'll be running through CAPTAIN MARVEL (2012) #15-17, which covers Carol's fiery foray into last summer's INFINITY event and her status quo defining final issue.

Marvel.com: You followed up "Enemy Within" with a couple of INFINITY crossover issues. What was it like creating stories that existed in between the cracks of this larger storyline?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: Super stressful! [Co-writer] Jen Van Meter worked with me on those. We actually sat down at her dining room table. I put together a couple of binders, one for me and one for her, that had all of [writer Jonathan] Hickman's scripts for what was going on in the main AVENGERS series and in INFINITY. She and I had read through those and we had legal pads. I had already pitched and gotten approved this idea that I wanted to do this one moment between these raindrops that would be in the AVENGERS ASSEMBLE book from [Spider-Woman] Jessica [Drew]'s point of view, and in the CAPTAIN MARVEL book from Carol's point of view. We had to figure out exactly what the chronology was that happened so that we could then—while I was describing it to Jen, I kept making this gesture where it was like a camera in "bullet time." I kept moving my hands all the way around in circles trying to explain [how we're] going to see this one sequence of events from everybody's angle, everybody's perspective. So if you read just those two books, [or if you] just read AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, you get a full story. And if you read just CAPTAIN MARVEL, you get a full story. If you read all four, you see everything that happens, you see that same moment happen again in this other book from somebody else's point of view and you get new information about it. It can't just be a new camera angle. We have to know something about that that we didn't know before. It was tricky but I think we did manage to pull it off.

Marvel.com: You also had a really good pair at the center of it. This is one of the few times we've seen Carol and Jess together. They are close friends, and that friendship has taken on a different tone following "Enemy Within," now that Carol knows she should be feeling emotions that she no longer has access to.

Kelly Sue DeConnick: I found out we would be going into the INFINITY tie-in before I was done writing "Enemy Within." I knew it was going to feel like a really abrupt shift and I had a decision to make, whether I would change my ending to "Enemy Within" to make the transition [smoother] or if I was going to stick with my plan and have this really abrupt shift. I was talking to [editor] Sana [Amanat] about it and I decided I was super married to my ending and I was willing to have the shift feel abrupt and then try to correct it with #17. And Sana had my back; [she said] “if that's what you wanna do, that is how we will do it.” I loved my ending so much; I was just like, "No! I'm not changing it!"

Marvel.com: “It's mine!”

Kelly Sue DeConnick: Exactly. And again, female friendships have been very much a part of the through-line of CAPTAIN MARVEL. Getting a chance to explode out that moment and look at in bullet time was the intent behind Carol and Jess being the pairing.

Marvel.com: You also got play a little bit with Carol's Binary persona.

Kelly Sue DeConnick: Yeah, but I cannot take credit for that. That was [Hickman's] call. And in fact, I had like nine million questions for him about it. I had been, frankly, kind of afraid of Carol's Binary powers because it felt like when it starts to get too powerful, it's hard to write her being in danger. I had shied away from that specifically and I called Hickman about it and he was like, "Yeah, but it's so cool!" 

Marvel.com: She's got fire hair, it's so cool!

Kelly Sue DeConnick: "Yeah, but it looks so cool! You gotta use it!" And I'm like, "All right, all right." 

Marvel.com: You rounded out the volume with issue #17, which as you said was another jumping on point even though it was the last issue of the volume. What was your mindset going into issue #17? I'm assuming you were aware it was the last issue?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: Yeah. So I had a couple of things that I wanted to do with #17. I wanted everyone to get the exhale, the transition that they hadn't gotten coming out of #14.

Marvel.com: Would this have been issue #15 if the INFINITY tie-ins hadn't happened?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: No. We would've seen Carol's hospital recovery. There was a point at which there was a whole other arc going to happen. I wanted to do a story where Carol was missing. Where the last anyone saw her was when she was going into space and they didn't know where she was.

It was a whole thing where the Avengers didn't know where she was, and they were trying to find her and she had fallen somehow into Latveria and had come to with amnesia. No idea who she was or what her powers were or anything else. And so, it would be a story about Carol trying to find out who she was and find her way home, and Doom would be involved. Had the book not been ending and everything happening when it was, there would have been another arc where it was Carol dealing with her memory loss. There would have been a whole arc between #14 and #17.

Marvel.com: But instead, we got issue #17, which is an amazing issue. It feels like a season finale in a way.

Kelly Sue DeConnick: I'm super happy with #17. In #17, I wanted to start planting the seeds for a new villain, which we did.

Marvel.com: Grace Valentine.

Kelly Sue DeConnick: Grace Valentine, yes. Who I believe has the least villainous name of any villain ever. I wanted to do that. We began with a letter and I wanted to end with a letter. We're dealing with this idea of legacy, and so we have the letter from [Carol's mentor] Helen [Cobb] which starts the volume in issue #1, and we have the comic book which is a letter from Kit that ends the volume in issue #17; the previous generation and next generation.

Marvel.com: You also have next generation in another one, the very last page with Kamala Khan, who we've now met in MS. MARVEL #1.

Kelly Sue DeConnick: Yes! And you know Kamala is present in—she witnesses Carol in an “Enemy Within” issue, she witnesses Carol getting civilians to safety. In the script, she's also in the "I am Captain Marvel" crowd in Times Square in issue #17.

Marvel.com: Was she already a character? When you were writing that issue of "Enemy Within," did you put that in there knowing it was going to be Kamala Khan?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: Oh yeah. I think at that point I had already had conversations with [MS. MARVEL writer] G. Willow Wilson. That was a conscious plan. Everybody's sporting Captain Marvel colors in the background in the "I am Spartacus" moment. She's supposed to be the one that had a lightning bolt instead. It didn't make it to print. I don't know what happened. We dropped the ball there somewhere, but if you ever see the script, she's written in the script.

Marvel.com: I did not know that. That's super cool.

Kelly Sue DeConnick: DVD extras! Right there!

Marvel.com: The cover for CAPTAIN MARVEL #17 is also incredibly special because it has so many of the creators who have worked on CAPTAIN MARVEL on there. You're on there, Joe Quinones, the cover artist, is on there. Colorist Jordie Bellaire is on there too, right next to Joe.

Kelly Sue DeConnick: Jordie, Sana, Joe Quinones, Filipe Andrade, Dexter Soy, Steve Wacker, yeah. It's pretty neat. It's a whole [slew] of people on there. It's neat enough that I bought it.

Marvel.com: You bought the original?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: I bought the original, yeah.

Marvel.com: Was that your original idea for the cover or was that Joe's idea?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: No, that was totally Joe. That was Joe trying to figure out how he could get me to buy that cover!

Marvel.com: I assume that every single piece of artwork you get back for a comic you write is special but when you see something like this where you are actually on the cover with Captain Marvel, what was it like to see this cover for the first time?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: Yeah. It's hard to talk about in terms that are not embarrassing. It feels like, "You can't erase me. I'm here." We come back to conversations about representation and feminism and I can sound like a broken record—and I don't mean to, but this is my life. And I am a white woman. I am a straight, white woman, so I come to this with mountains of privilege.

Captain Marvel (2014) #1

Members of under-represented classes are often made invisible. History wipes us out. It takes away our contributions. It either assigns them to someone else or just makes them go poof. You have to walk this fine line too; I don't want to exaggerate my own importance or anything but look; I did my part. I carried the baton for a little while. How well I did it is up for someone else to decide, but I did it and it counts. I'm on the cover to a Marvel comic. No one ever gets to take that away from. Literally, they can't take it away from me—I own it.

For the further adventures of Carol Danvers, pick up CAPTAIN MARVEL #1, on sale today!

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