Comic book relationships have always been kind of cheesy, charming throwbacks to the good old days when people married their high school sweethearts or had random meet-cutes, like, on the subway. While those things do still happen, dating in the 21st century means that you’re probably on an app, and the same is now true in comics, too.
It was only a matter of time before the medium caught up to the social mores of the real world and acknowledged that all of those hot, single super powered people at the peak of their physical perfection are probably checking each other out and thinking to themselves, “Hmm... wonder if I’ve got a shot.” In this week’s The Mighty Captain Marvel #9 (written by Margaret Stohl, with illustrations by Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, and Erick Arciniega), Captain Marvel, Jessica Jones, and Spider Woman resolve to have a girls’ night to unwind and decompress after the events of Secret Empire. But when Carol’s depression begins to get the best of her and put a damper on their fun, her friends decide that the best way to cheer her up is to find her a hot date to swipe right on.
Carol’s been having a rough go of things lately.
The stance she took during Civil War II—that the world’s heroes should use the Inhuman Ulysses’ ability to see into the future to apprehend villains for crimes they hadn’t committed yet—inadvertently led to She-Hulk being left in a coma, Bruce Banner killed by Hawkeye, and her then-boyfriend War Machine being murdered by Thanos. More recently, she was forced to watch the events of Secret Empire unfold from space where she, the Ultimates, and Alpha Flight were blocked from touching down on the earth’s surface by a planetary shield designed to keep them away from the action.
As The Mighty Captain Marvel #9 opens, the ghosts of Carol’s past weigh heavy on her mind and though she’s dealing with them, the funk they leave her in is something that her friends can’t ignore.
Jessica Jones and Jessica drew try their best to lift Carol’s spirits with a night of sightseeing, kickboxing, poker, and pizza, but when none of those works, Jones comes up with the excellent idea of getting Carol onto Cloak & Dater, the world’s premiere, exclusive dating app for capes. According to the Cloak & Dater’s loading screen, it’s less Tinder and more like Raya, the dating app that’s exclusive to proper celebrities.
Carol, unsurprisingly, doesn’t have a C&D profile, but the Jessicas quickly fix that and whip her up a lovely one complete with the requisite “I have no desire whatsoever to do this” face. Within moments, Carol’s back on the market and the ladies quickly take stock of who all’s looking for a little late night companionship. First there’s Tony Stark’s sentient AI. Handsome enough, sure, but who wants to date a hologram even if he is a hard light projection? Black Panther’s certainly an eligible bachelor, but everybody knows he’s still obsessed with Storm. The artist formerly known as Thor is also single, but there’s no bigger red flag than a man who describes himself as an “Asgardian love god.” Don’t swipe left. Block.
Carol poo-poos the idea of meeting up with any of the available guys and the girls decide that a change of scenery is in order, so they migrate to a nearby bowling alley. While Carol isn’t paying attention to her phone, the Jessicas decide to give Cloak & Dater one last shot and manage to arrange a date for Carol right then and there.
When Carol finds out what her friends have done, she’s absolutely mortified, but it isn’t until her date actually shows up that she’s quite literally driven to fly off into space. The man who shows up isn’t Odinson, or Tony, or T’Challa, but rather... the actor who plays Hero Man, the fictional love interest on Cap’n Marvel, the network TV drama about her life. He’s a fanboy and he shows up with puppets.
The problems Carol’s dealing with are the sorts of things that a date could ever really fix but, as unsuccessful as her first foray into the world of dating apps was, she came out largely unscathed and with a story that she’ll probably look back on one day fondly.
See? Superheroes are all emotional messes who get hit on weirdoes just like you and me.