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Exclusive excerpt: Carol rescues an Inhuman in Titan's Captain Marvel: Liberation Run original novel
To tempt you into the charismatic character's adventurous galactic wanderings, Titan Books and Marvel Comics have joined forces to publish an all-new Captain Marvel tie-in novel to set the stage for her highly-anticipated Hollywood feature debut. SYFY WIRE is blasting into this cosmic corner of the Marvel universe with an exclusive chapter excerpt from the companion book which arrives on Feb. 26.
Written by Tess Sharpe and titled Captain Marvel: Liberation Run, the storyline to this 288-page original novel starts when a strange starship streaks into our atmosphere and nearly crash lands on Earth before Captain Marvel intervenes and saves it from obliteration.
Inside the alien spacecraft lies the shocked pilot, a young Inhuman woman named Rhi who was a member of a group who rejected the Inhumans' caste system and abandoned that strict society for the stars in search of a new home. What they didn't expect was imprisonment on a hostile planet where Inhumans are valued as luxury items and treated like currency, and the simple possession of an Inhuman girl brings great prestige and political influence.
Carol Danvers mounts an offensive to accompany her back to the slave planet and gathers a team of superheroes, including Ant-Man, Mantis, and Amadeus Cho, to make a return trip to free Rhi's family, her people, and an entire subjugated world.
SYFY WIRE spoke with Sharpe on her early associations with the Captain Marvel character, reading comics, and how she got involved with this high-flying project.
"I met Carol Danvers sitting on the cement floor of a cavernous used bookshop when I was 10," she tells SYFY WIRE. "I used to bag and price comics for store credit to buy rare books. I don’t remember the issue or the storyline, maybe something from the '80s, but I remember her: Powerful. Wise-Cracking. Maybe a little impulsive at times. Absolutely an adrenaline addict. And ready to punch anyone who got in her way.
"She and other heroines — from novels, from history, from TV and film, from comics — would carry me through a rather rough adolescence. They were inspirations, guides, and occasionally dire warnings. When a flood destroyed most of my comic collection in my early '20s, it was like losing specific friends. But when I entered my '30s, as if by some kismet happenstance, I found Carol again: not in the destroyed comics that I lost, but in an opportunity given. Would you be interested in writing a Captain Marvel novel? The ten-year-old girl inside me shrieked. And then the thirty-one-year-old woman I am got to work. Carol would kick my butt if I didn’t write a book worthy of her."
Enjoy an exclusive excerpt from Captain Marvel: Liberation Run © 2019 MARVEL
“So tell me what’s new with you,” Jess said.
“Still lone-wolfing it?”
“I’m not,” Carol protested, and then she was saved by the waiter coming to take their order. But Jess was like a dog with a bone, waiting impatiently for her to elaborate. “Technically I’m on leave.”
Jess snorted. “Like leave’s a thing you’ve ever taken seriously. I read online that you fixed the dam break in Northern California. Did you just happen to be in the neighborhood?”
“Kind of,” Carol said. “There are some very nice volcanic formations up there. And I like jumping off Burney Falls when the park’s asleep. Teddy Roosevelt called it the eighth wonder of the world, you know.”
“Teddy Roosevelt also wanted to breed hippos domestically for meat.”
“The man had questionable ability to determine the dangers of hippos, but good taste in waterfalls.”
“You’re not going to distract me with trivia!” Jess shook her finger at Carol. “You’ve been Earthside for two weeks and you’ve spent the whole time zipping around the country doing the equivalent of super hero odd-jobs.”
“Everybody needs a hobby,” Carol shrugged.
“Somebody needs to take a spa day. And by somebody, I mean you.”
Their bread basket arrived, and Carol grabbed one of the warm, crusty rolls. There was glitter swirled into the deep-blue glass tabletop, and she felt like a little kid, tempted to trace its whorls with her finger, so she could ignore Jess’s point.
“I don’t think a spa day’s gonna help,” she said finally.
Jess straightened in her seat, more alert than ever. “Well, what would?”
“I don’t know. I just feel… unsettled, I guess. Itchy.”
“It’s like… I want to get back into the game. But every time I think about logistics and planning, and, God, the paperwork, Jess…” She took a savage bite out of her roll and sighed. Yeasty heaven. Bless Nebula’s pastry chef.
“Have some chive butter.” Jess pushed a ramekin across the table.
“Sometimes I miss being out there, beholden to nothing but my shipmates.”
“Like back in your space pirate days?”
“I was hardly a space pirate,” Carol scoffed.
“Didn’t you run with a crew that broke a bunch of people out of a prison world? The Starjammers? I’ve read your bio, you know. The authorized and unauthorized versions.”
Carol rolled her eyes. “I will never forgive my mother for giving that biographer a copy of my seventh-grade school picture. I thought I’d trashed them all.”
“Apparently not. The velvet scrunchie was truly epic.”
Carol groaned, but their crab cakes arrived in time to distract her from more regrettable middle-school fashion choices. She was pretty sure she had taken a picture in a dress with puffed sleeves the size of her head. She really should pay a visit to her mom while she was Earthside. Maybe burn a few picture albums.
But no matter how tempting the thought, she knew she couldn’t. Her mom had lost a lot of family pictures and other precious things in a flood years back, so what she still had, she treasured. Carol would just have to suffer the indignity of knowing those puffed-sleeve pics were out there—and reassure herself that she made better fashion choices these days.
The food was delicious, and once Jess decided to stop bugging Carol about how she was spending her leave and the apparently deep motivations behind it, the conversation was just as good. Even—or maybe especially—when she was being too nosy, Jess was one of the best people to have on your side. Partly because she’d get you thinking about stuff you’d been avoiding.
Which is what Carol found herself doing after dinner. She loaded Jess into a taxi and saw her off, and then began to make her own way home on foot. She liked walking through the city streets, the hum and frenetic energy of too many people and too many buildings crammed into too small a space feeding into her bones. Sometimes, she ran into trouble.
Sometimes she went looking for it.
Being Earthside these days made her wish for the skies. For the good kind of trouble.
She’d spent her life dreaming of the stars. Of shuttle controls in her hands, the smell of rocket fuel in her hair, and nothing but endless space and discovery ahead of her. When she was young, she thought she’d reach those goals through college, but her father had no plans on ever investing any money in his daughter’s future when he had sons.
But that was the thing about Carol: Once she was told she wasn’t good enough, she’d go to the ends of the earth—or the universe itself—to prove you wrong.
Her pursuit of the stars had changed her in ways she’d never imagined. The Kree Captain Mar-Vell had changed her; well, technically, it was the Psyche-Magnitron’s doing, but falling into that defective alien machine that turned imagination to reality during a battle would never have happened if her and Mar-Vell’s paths hadn’t crossed.
She had wanted to be strong. She had wanted to survive. She had just never expected to become what—and who—she had.
She used to think about her life in strict befores and afters. Sometimes she still did.
And then, sometimes, something happened that forced you into the here and now.
A sound—like the rending of a sheet down the middle, magnified ten thousand times—broke through the air. Carol’s head whipped up, her entire body tensing as she searched the sky.
There. Something was forming a few blocks away, high in the air above the skyscrapers. A sparkling hole ripped out of the horizon, lit up like thousands of fireflies in the night. The whirlwind of light and sparks wavered, wobbling in on itself before spitting out a spinning, smoking sphere—a ship. The twirling light behind it narrowed to a pinpoint and disappeared, but the ship remained, stuttering in the sky, dual rings circling around the base as it coughed up black fumes with every sluggish lurch, right toward the buildings.
Carol’s coat fell to the ground, and her red scarf whipped from her neck to her waist in a smooth, practiced movement, the Hala Star pin anchoring the fabric around her hips. She ran toward the ship, veering around pedestrians, her boots pounding the pavement as screams and smartphone flashes filled the night.
One step. Two. Three.