Published February 23, 2017

Making Captain Marvel Mighty

Margaret Stohl checks in on steering the story of Carol Danvers!

Image for Making Captain Marvel Mighty

By Josh Weiss

Following the events of Civil War II, the Marvel Universe continues to reel from the fallout. Beloved heroes died, close friendships have seemingly broken forever, and one of the conflict’s key players has become an international celebrity.

That’s right, Carol Danvers—aka Captain Marvel—has, for better or worse, become a household name after her squabble with Iron Man over the future-telling abilities of the Inhuman known as Ulysses. But it’s not all bliss for a somewhat broken Carol.

Writer Margaret Stohl, talented author of the young adult novels “Beautiful Creatures” and “Icons,” chronicles Carol’s post-war trauma and drama in MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL, issue #3 of which hits March 22. With her writing experience in both the world of video games and best-selling publishing, Stohl stood out as the obvious choice for the job. We caught up with Margaret despite her busy schedule to chat about taking on her first-ever comic book series and the perils Captain Marvel now faces. We’re now three issues deep with your take on Captain Marvel, so first off, congrats! What’s the experience been like so far?

Margaret Stohl: Empowering. Carol is my hero in a time when not that many things feel heroic. I’ve just sent [editor] Sana [Amanat]—#FearlessEditor—the last script for my first series arc— issues zero to four—and it’s hugely fulfilling. Of course, Sana will send it back to me a thousand times now, but that’s why I love her: she cares about Carol as much as I do. This is your first foray into writing comics. Is the process of making a comic book wildly different from that of writing novels? Do you prefer one over the other?

Margaret Stohl: They’re very different gigs. I write comics out of love. It never feels like a job, which is funny, because it’s basically the biggest time suck in the world. It’s also kind of like being an ER surgeon—you’re always working against the clock and the patient is always bleeding to death on the table right in front of you. The minute you catch your breath, another patient rolls in the door—sometimes two at once. That said, it’s exhilarating and the adrenaline is incredible. I got my start writing games, and to me, comics has that same frenetic high-energy production pace. The stakes are still high—if you mess up, the Marvel fans will call you on it, every time—but I love that. I feel constantly exposed, but I sort of love that too. You’ve written for Marvel before with your Black Widow novels. Do you think there are any salient similarities between Carol and Natasha? Did any of those qualities carry over to this series?

Margaret Stohl: Carol and Natasha are both strong, powerful women at the top of their game who would rather kick your butt than have a heart-to-heart talk with you. I can sometimes relate. What I’ve carried over from Black Widow to Captain Marvel would be a deep respect for the characters and a willingness to celebrate their human flaws as well as their heroic attributes—and the nature of their hearts.

Mighty Captain Marvel #3 cover by Elizabeth Torque

Mighty Captain Marvel #3 cover by Elizabeth Torque In your opinion, how is post-Civil War II Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel different from other versions of her we’ve seen in the past?

Margaret Stohl: She’s got a serious side, an edge. She’s a little more openly broken. She misses Tony’s and Kamala’s friendship, and Rhodey’s companionship. She feels terribly for Bruce. In general, Carol is processing a whole lot of fallout. She followed her conscience and stood up for what she thought was right, and now she knows she has to take the heat for it. And she will, because Carol’s Air Force, and she knows the thing about heat is, you take it. Now that she isn’t squaring off with Tony Stark over the fate of the future anymore, are you able to let slip what kind of enemies and villains Carol and Alpha Flight will be fighting?

Margaret Stohl: In this first arc, she’s been squaring off against a mysterious, shape-shifting alien bounty hunter. As we progress, her enemies will multiply and develop into more than she’s expecting. Before she gets through the next two arcs, she’ll be taking a hard look at her fundamental identity as a part Kree, part human hybrid. Are the threats all physical ones?

Margaret Stohl: Great question. No, I think part of being a super hero is always fighting your own bad self—self-doubt, responsibility, isolation, alienation—and Carol is certainly no different. Some of the central themes in your books deal with mysteries and the onus of being an outsider. Will Carol be experiencing either or both while she’s in your hands?

Margaret Stohl: Another great Q. All heroes are outsiders, just like all villains. Carol’s never accepted her family’s or the world’s definition of what she could be; as a girl, then a woman, then a soldier, then even as a hero. She’ll be working that out for the rest of her life—as we all are. Carol is now dealing with her newfound celebrity in this run and in the real world with the announcement of Brie Larson taking up the mantle for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What’s it like being at the center of all the Danvers buzz at the moment?

Margaret Stohl: I love it, and I love Brie. We’re lucky to have her. Strong, smart women for the win!

Soar to the stars on March 22 with MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL #3 by Margaret Stohl and Ramon Rosanas!