Captain Marvel #17 (2004)

Since the release of Marvel Studios‘ first trailer for their Captain Marvel film, I’ve been thinking about the history of the character quite a bit. Even excluding the history of the first hero to bear the mantle (SHAZAM!), Captain Mar-Vell and his successors have had a notable legacy. Perhaps most notable is how interesting the eight characters who have held the mantle are, and how diversity is a continuing trait with Marvel’s Marvel Family.

I love sentences like that.

While Carol Danvers is arguably the most popular version of the character to date, this issue highlights my personal favorite era.

Lauded super-hero guru Peter David really did some stunning work with the title in the early millennium.  He would even end up creating a new Captain Marvel in a most extraordinary way. After Genis-Vell, son of Mar-Vell, loses his mind from his god-like cosmic awareness, he sort of ends up destroying all of reality and re-making it.

See, I told you this run was cool.

Phyla-Vell by Paul Azaceta

Anyway, one of the side effects of that shift in existence was the creation of his sister, Phyla-Vell. After a brief debut in the previous issue, here we find Phyla on her crusade to strip her brother of their father’s title. Her mother has already proclaimed her “The New Captain Marvel”, and she’s not one to back down. Oh, and in her attempt to do so, she totally does something that looks enough like the cover for me to say it happens. As typical in this run, David moves through the story at lightning pace. Luckily, the art team of Paul Azaceta and Chris Sotomayor are more than up to the task. There is a unique look to this book as well, as there are no inks on the pencils, just color. This issue is also part 3 of the “Crazy Like a Fox” arc, which served to set the title in the direction it moved until its conclusion. I have to recommend this entire volume of the book (vol. 5 for the record), but this issue is especially notable for its introduction of Phyla and how expertly the action is presented. The creative team were ahead of their time with this run, as it fits perfectly with the Annihilation style cosmic storytelling that brought us the modern Guardians of the Galaxy.

Captain Marvel 17 by Paul Azaceta

Oh, family.

Captain Marvel (Vol.5) #17 regularly sells for $5-$10, but you may not want to wait to read this. After the film, who knows who’ll show up and what issues will grow in value.