Captain Marvel Reminds Us of The Fun of Superhero Hangout Comics

In Captain Marvel #34, Carol Danvers takes a much needed break from heroics, opting instead to simply hang out with one of her fellow Marvel heroes.

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Captain Marvel #37, available now from Marvel Comics.

In the majority of superhero comics, the battles between heroes and villains are treated as the main attraction. However, this imagery only makes up a portion of a comic book’s content and Marvel Comics has earned a well-deserved reputation for the sometimes humorous, sometimes profound, and always memorable dialogue that flows between its heroes and villains.

Thanks to the uniquely sociable nature of its superhero community, the heroes of Marvel can often be found hanging out with one another in their rare moments of downtime, and these interactions have often proven to be some of the most memorable moments in the publisher’s eighty- year history. Although heroes like Spider-Man are much more likely to find themselves engaging in one-sided wars of wits with their many rogues, Captain Marvel #37 (by Kelly Thompson, Julius Ohta, Ruth Redmond, and VC’s Clayton Cowles) proves that the friendlier, smaller-scale interactions between heroes can be just as entertaining as high-stakes battles between the forces of good and evil.

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During her battle against the villainous Vox Supreme, Carol Danvers accidentally created a sentient duplicate of herself made of pure photonic energy that she dubbed Binary. Feeling a sense of responsibility for the entity she inadvertently brought to life, Carol took it upon herself to help Binary learn more about herself and the many responsibilities that come with being a hero. To that end, Carol and her long-time friend Monica Rambeau walked Binary through a normal day of life on Earth, taking her out to breakfast at a roadside diner and later out to a nightclub, where they are joined by Carol’s half-sister Lauri -She and fellow heroes She-Hulk, Spider-Woman, and Hazmat. Although their attempt to lay low and have an uneventful day is hampered by repeated attacks by an alien villain obsessed with getting revenge on Carol, their time together consists almost entirely of casual and fun interactions with one another, with Binary developing a love for simple pleasures like pancakes and dancing.

Carol’s day out with Binary serves as a pleasant reminder of the perks of being a member of Marvel’s superhero community. Due to the constant threat of supervillains, supernatural forces, and cosmic calamities, the heroes of the Marvel Universe are rarely given a moment to relax and enjoy everyday pleasures like going to the movies or sitting down for a coffee with friends. For some heroes, the constant act of balancing their personal lives with their heroic duties has been a recipe for disaster that ultimately forces them to choose one or the other, but many of them have found a supportive community in their fellow heroes. This interesting dynamic has led to several memorable and character-defining interactions between Marvel’s heroes over the years.

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Free from the life-or-death stakes that come with battling superheroes, many of Marvel’s heroes are at their most genuine when they’re just hanging out with friends, allowing readers to see a side of their favorite heroes that can’t be explored in other, more “traditional” superhero scenarios. Despite his reputation as a crude bruiser, the poker nights that Thing regularly holds with his fellow heroes prove that he can be a cunning strategist and compassionate friend, and the friendly sports that the X-Men enjoy with one another serve as a welcome break from the angst-ridden interactions that usually define the team’s dynamic. Even the villains of the Marvel Universe have displayed a softer side of themselves within the confines of the Bar with No Name, sharing stories of their greatest triumphs and defeats with close colleagues and forming unexpected friendships that foreshadow later partnerships.

Although superheroes are often remembered for their costumes, powers, or gadgets, these elements are rarely connected to who they are as people, and the personalities of these heroes can become lost in stories that only focus on the “heroic” aspects of their lives. Part of the appeal of popular Marvel heroes is their struggles with everyday issues that readers can relate to, like maintaining a romantic relationship or having a job. As a result, down-to-earth, “hangout” stories like the one portrayed in Captain Marvel #37 are an excellent way to give the dynamic and entertaining personalities of the various heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe a chance to shine.

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