Female Power Fantasy: Captain Marvel #14
Story by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by Scott Hepburn, Gerardo Sandoval, and Andy Troy
The Female Power Fantasy, in my experience, is a woman’s desire to be autonomous and in control of her life. This includes a choice to not be an object in the eyes of men, to be as strong and powerful as she wants, and to be treated as an individual. In comics, this phenomenon may not be as evident as women readers would like. In this column, I point out an instance where we see an example of the Female Power Fantasy.
We all have our heroes. Whether they are related to us, distant examples, or fictional characters, there are elements in others we value and respect. As we grow up, our heroes shift into people who are what we hope to become one day. The latest issue of Captain Marvel pays tribute to all of our heroes while reminding us why we pick them in the first place.
Without going into huge spoilers (because you NEED to read this series!), I want to stress to you the importance of Carol Danvers (aka Captain Marvel) in this issue. For several months, we’ve been learning of a brain lesion growing inside of her head. This lesion could rupture with the use of her powers, namely, her ability to fly. Due to Carol’s alien nature, doctors cannot operate on her with confidence. Carol’s been playing the wait-and-see game, testing her patience as she augments her inability to fully use her powers with gadgets and friends.
In issue #14 (which hit stands July 31st, 2013), Carol makes an ultimate sacrifice to save those around her. A young girl who happens to be Captain Marvel’s biggest fan is excited about the win, but doesn’t understand the consequences. Her mother says to a friend:
First, we tell her she’s right. That she chose her hero well…And then we tell her what that means…We tell her that heroes aren’t defined by their powers or their costumes…but by the content of their hearts.
It’s easy to see why people in comics and in the fandom look up to Carol, but DeConnick reminds us that heroes are all around us. Carol was recognized not for her super strength, looks, or even her military strategy. We all know that. That’s what drew readers to her in the first place. What kept us engaged with Carol was what her in-book fans say: her heart. Her joy in helping others, her willingness to do what it takes to protect, and her love for those who are around her.
The Captain Marvel series as a whole represents the Female Power Fantasy by presenting an autonomous female character that is strong, smart, and highly decorated. In this issue, we see how something even more important, our love for others, is an element we each can demonstrate in ourselves. We don’t need to have Kree powers, a life as an Avenger, or be a beautiful blonde to be a hero to someone. It’s who we are and our character that warrants the title of hero.