This week brought a day I’ve been dreading slightly since June. I mean, I’ve had time to cope and prepare, but it doesn’t mean it still doesn’t feel like the end of an adventure when it does happen.
Wednesday saw the release of Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #4 by Kelly Sue Deconnick, Kelly Thompson, Laura Braga, Paolo Pantalena, and Lee Loughridge. Along with being the last issue of this specific mini-series, it’s also the last issue of Deconnick’s iconic three year run on Captain Marvel. One that saw the rise of Carol Danvers’ profile as a hero, birthed one of the strongest and loudest groups in comics fandom, and helped usher the way for a new group of comic fans and a new group of comic heroes.It also saved my life and opened new doors for me that I could have never imagined. I’ve written about it before. I’ve even written about it in a more personal piece in a fan book that was given to Deconnick at Dragon Con, but I think I’ll let that one only be seen by the organizers and Deconnick herself. Basically though, when my heart was battered and broken and depression had me weighed down, Carol flew into my life, drug me out, and gave me what I needed to pick up the pieces.
Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #4 was not a part of the continuity that Deconnick worked in for a better part of three years, but I couldn’t think of a more perfect finale to a book that was about pushing higher in order to find yourself and cultivating a community that supports you for doing so. In the final issue, Carol faces off with Kit, the girl once known as Lieutenant Trouble who became a Thor on Battleworld, and then flies off into the void with her team to discover what Doom has been hiding from them. We never see what Carol does in the last panel, but that’s not what the comic was about. It was never about what Carol and the Banshees found. It was about finding that next big adventure. It was about what Captain Marvel #15 called “finding the next right thing.”
This issue might be the hardest I’ve cried at anything media wise this year. More than Captain Marvel #15. More than Kamala finally meeting Carol and that final goodbye Carol gives Kamala in Ms. Marvel #18 that felt like G. Willow Wilson saying goodbye to Deconnick as well. More than Bayley finally winning the NXT Women’s Championship. More than the end of Parks and Recreation. More than hearing Butch Walker sing ‘Father’s Day’ in complete darkness in Atlanta. It wasn’t just the end of a story, it was the end of something that lead me to here.I sat in my car, reading the issue and just let myself sob. Sob about the past two years of my life that Carol has guided me through. About the friendships I’ve made because of the Corps. About how she and Deconnick have helped me learn to be more fearless. About how it all made me learn to trust myself and the stories I want to tell. I sobbed about a lot of things.
It’s the end of a run. An end to one adventure. One where I came out stronger on the other side.
For a book that always came back to letters to Carol from others, it felt appropriate that the last bit of narration was from Carol herself and the last piece of backmatter was a thank you letter from Deconnick. However, I felt like the last bit of narration wasn’t just Carol. When she said that last line of “Hell yes, it was worth it. Every breath was worth it,” I could hear Kelly Sue as much as I could hear Carol in that moment. If I hadn’t been crying hysterically, I would have been grinning furiously at that perfect final line. The feeling is mutual, Colonel.
While this may be the end of this run, I know that the door is still open for Deconnick to return if she so chooses. I know that I’ll follow her other projects with enthusiasm, as the non-compliant tattoo on the top of my left wrist indicates. I know that Carol and the Corps will treat Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters and Kris Anka well.
For now though, I’ll see you on the other side, ladies. Higher, Further, Faster… More.