Top critical review
Messy and confusing
on 8 June 2013
I've known about Captain Marvel and Carol Danvers for a while just through reading Avengers books, but I've never read a standalone piece featuring the character - and having read "In Pursuit of Flight" I'm in no hurry to pick up another!
Not knowing much about the character beyond her powers and name might have made reading this that much harder to get into as there are characters in this book that aren't introduced as the writer, Kelly Sue Deconnick, assumes you already know about them. Who's Tracy Burke, the old lady with cancer and what's her relation to Carol? Who's Helen Cobb, the dead lady Carol's fixated on and who the entire book revolves around? No idea.
Helen was apparently a hotshot pilot way back when who set some kind of aviation record which Carol wants to break. She hops into Helen's old plane and flies off but somehow the plane sends her back in time to 1943 to a small island off of Peru in the midst of a battle between the Japanese and Americans.
Time travel is really big with Marvel at the moment - their Marvel NOW! titles Fantastic Four and All-New X-Men both feature time travel heavily as does their Event, Age of Ultron, and now this book has time travel as a major plot device too. Come on, Marvel, think of something else!
So anyway Carol's sent back in time for some reason, meets up with an all-female commando squad called the Banshees, and fight some Japanese who've somehow wound up with Kree technology. Like the time travel, it's never explained just how Kree tech wound up here either. Or how they get from the Peruvian island to mainland America and we switch to Helen negotiating plane time for her gals with a piece of Kree tech (again, how...?).
The rest of the book is about Carol and Helen as they fly planes, they try to get the Kree tech back after their planes are taken from them, and for some reason they wind up meeting Carol in the past before she gets her powers.
This is such a confusing read because of all the jumping around. I thought I figured out why Helen means something to Carol because they had these adventures in the past but that just created a space/time paradox! Most of the time I just read it blankly, watching a group of characters I didn't know or care about do random things until the book ended. Sure it's an all female cast but watching women fire guns and be violent instead of men isn't riveting at all - I'd be just as bored if it were guys doing that stuff. It's just so mindlessly presented. Also I don't have any interest in pilots or planes or flying so all that stuff just passed me by.
Reading this book was a totally unaffecting experience because Kelly Sue Deconnick is simply not a very good writer. I don't know how the story fit together or why anything happened - I was so confused, I read the book thinking Helen and Tracy were the same person!
Dexter Soy's artwork is outstanding for the first 4 issues - he does action ridiculously well and I love his redesign of Captain Marvel's outfit. Soy's art is kinda like Lee Bermejo's but more colourful and no less powerful. Then Emma Rios takes over the art but while the artwork after Soy is never bad, it's not up to the same quality that he lends to the book.
Artwork aside, there's little here I'd recommend. I'd like to read a good Captain Marvel book but Deconnick's woefully inept take on the character has put me off of reading anything further on the character for now. "In Pursuit of Flight" is a good-looking mess, but a mess regardless.