PopCultHQ received an advance review copy of LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #1 from Marvel Comics. Available July 18th, 2018, the creative team for this series features writing from Margaret Stohl, art from Carlos Pacheco & Marguerite Sauvage (flashbacks), inks by Rafael Fonteriz, colors by Marcio Menyz, and lettering from VC’s Clayton Cowles.
Here’s PopCultHQ’s review of…
The Life Of Captain Marvel (2018) #1 (of 5)
Being someone who reads comics and turns around and writes reviews or gives commentary sometimes has to be objective. The Carol Danvers Captain Marvel has never been a favorite of mine. I have always loved Carol when she was Ms. Marvel, her time as Binary in the X-Men books, and even Warbird in the Kurt Busiek Avengers era. While I can appreciate her ‘promotion’ to Captain from her simple ‘Ms.’ beginnings, at first it was a fresh change for such a classic, yet stagnant, character. But I haven’t liked Carol since some of her more recent choices in the comics. But we’re going to look beyond that here.
The Life of Captain Marvel is a miniseries written by Margaret Stohl, who is no stranger to Marvel Comics or even Captain Marvel. Having written a few arcs for Mighty Captain Marvel, her career and relationship with Marvel Comics started with novels and game tie-ins; her most notable being Black Widow: Forever Red and Black Widow: Red Vengeance, both novels which have held their own.
What Stohl is doing is finally giving Carol Danvers history and depth. This series isn’t so much about Captain Marvel, but more about Carol and where she comes from. After the events of Civil War II, Carol has been keeping her head low and staying out of trouble at best. She most recently has become a member of the current Avengers team. However, what we see in the beginning of The Life of Captain Marvel is Carol Danvers at a crossroads in her life. We see this crossroads come to a head in the very beginning of this issue.
We open with Carol reflecting on her time as a child with her family, vacationing in Harpswell Sound, Maine. She is having flashbacks during a battle with Tanalth and Moonstone. During the battle, Carol begins to suffer PTSD regarding her childhood. She starts taking it out on the villains, and even the Avengers find it hard to calm her down.
During her visions, she remembers her mother and her younger brother, how they had fun together but her father had other ideas as he found it hard to repress his anger, as he would abuse Carol and her brother Joe. It appears when Carol left home for the Air Force that she forgot most of these memories or, even worse, repressed most of her emotions. With a bit of advice from Tony Stark, Carol returns to her family’s summer retreat in Harpswell Sound, Maine.
To her surprise when she arrives, the town is actually trading on the catch phrase, ‘The Summer Home of Captain Marvel.’ Even her favorite bakery Sugar’s Donuts has a sign claiming, ‘Sugar’s Donuts Official Donut of Captain Marvel.’ Her homecoming is a bit pyric in the fact that her mother and brother put on a face for her. As she sits in on dinner, Carol and Joe have a fight and Joe runs off.
Carol finds him at the cemetery at their father’s grave where Joe runs off yet again, but this time drunk. Carol destroys her father’s headstone in a fury of rage. This is when an explosion catches Carol’s eye. As she flies off, she finds her brother has crashed his car, ironically into the Home of Captain Marvel sign.
Carol and her mother learn that Joe has brain damage but is also in a coma. Nine months pass as Carol stays with her mother and by her brother’s bedisde. During this time, Tony tries to get Carol to come back to the Avengers, which Carol declines as she feels and knows that her place is with her family.
As Carol and her brother finally bring Joe home, Carol finds a box of items belonging to her father. She reads a letter which her father wrote to another woman long ago showing that her father had an affair. Also in the box is an odd device much like a thumbdrive. She tries to open it but fails. As she is called by her mother to help with her brother, the device then takes off into space.
In the void of space, the device begins to activate and it begins a form of inception, as a child is formed, and then the device (now a huge traveling womb) begins to head back towards Earth. The child is being instructed on combat and all things Kree by a program called Mother Kree.
Carlos Pacheco has ALWAYS been a favorite of mine! His art is always, for the most part, evolving as he tackles different books and characters. He first came to my attention with Avengers Forever in 1998, although he has been working in the comic industry since the mid-90s. His first work was for Marvel Comics in ’93 with the book Motormouth & Killpower. He has worked for DC on such books as Flash, Justice League of America, and Green Lantern to name a few, as well as such DC events like Final Crisis. For Marvel he has touched everything from Avengers, Captain America, X-Men and even the Fantastic Four. His real claim to fame was his stint on X-Men v2 during the years of 1997 and 1998 with issues 62-67, -1, 69-72 & 74. Even though he has finished most of the miniseries he begins, he has never stayed on a single title for longer than a year. Here’s to hoping he can see The Life of Captain Marvel to the end.
His work is rather dynamic. His action sequences are always on-point. When Carol punches Moonstone, harder than she ever has ever hit her before, so hard in fact that Moonstone actually comments on it. You can feel that anger in the art. Carlos takes Stohl’s words and really brings them to life, giving them form, life, and most of all feeling!
PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:
As much as I haven’t enjoyed Carol Danvers since her assuming the mantle of Captain Marvel, this book was really enjoyable. It’s nice to read true origin stories for established characters. Sure, we know Captain Marvel’s origin, but do we truly know Carol’s origin? What makes Carol tick? I feel through this I may be able to understand Carol Danvers a lot better and perhaps understand these choices she has made in the last couple of years through a different set of eyes. Sure, these characters are fictional, but when you spend your entire life reading their adventures, you can’t help but think of them as old friends and it’s fun learning new things about old friends. Margaret Stohl is crafting a story about emotional pain, regret, baggage, and most of all a story about family. These are all concepts we can relate to. Heavy concepts which Stohl grounds within the fictional comic book world. Certainly a great combination of real life concepts and comic book action.
4 out of 5 Stars
Usually I find first issues boring. A lot of time they want to drag out a story or set the scene for what is to come. The thing is, this works in novels and television but in comics we need to be kept entertained issue to issue. What this issue does is give us some slight comic book action coupled with some real melodrama which serves a purpose of defining the main character and making what appear to be natural and organic changes to the history of Captain Marvel. Well worth your time and coin this week!
THE LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #1 can be purchased on ComiXology and available
at your local comic shop and online retailers on Wednesday, July 18th!
Publisher – Marvel Comics