I can’t decide whether I’m lucky or unlucky to review The Life of Captain Marvel #5. I went in with high expectations for the conclusion to Margaret Stohl’s incredible run on the series. But, simply put, I don’t know if I—or any reviewer, for that matter—can really do it justice. This book is simply amazing.
The issue focuses on Carol and her mother’s climactic showdown against the Kree Kleaner. More than that, it delves into the depths of who Carol is as a character, providing a truly touching finale.
Margaret Stohl is a true master storyteller. Setting out with the goal of reinventing an established character’s origin is ambitious on its own. However, to do so in such an emotionally powerful and satisfying way is nothing short of brilliance.
Over the course of the series Stohl demonstrates the value of strength in vulnerability. Carol faced the anxieties that first drew her back home, bringing her on a voyage through a lot of painful emotional baggage toward self-discovery over these last four issues. Throughout the series, we’ve seen the narrative split intermittently with flashbacks to Carol’s past (the literal “life of Captain Marvel”). These flashbacks gradually merge into the present, and with The Life of Captain Marvel #5, we see the culmination.
At the crux of this issue, though, is Carol’s relationship with her mother. It’s tough to talk about without getting into spoiler territory. However, suffice to say that Mari-Ell and Carol’s moments together here are heart-wrenching, yet ultimately affirming.
Even once the main conflict is resolved, the epilogue of The Life of Captain Marvel #5 retains a true poetic sensibility. It’s equal parts tragic and hopeful, and brilliantly set the stage for Captain Marvel’s next adventure. My only concern: how can they possibly top it?
The artwork is handled by Carlos Pacheco and Rafael Fonteriz in the present-day sequences, with colors by Marcio Menyz and Federico Blee. Marguerite Sauvage handles all art duties for the flashbacks. While clearly different, a sense of minimalism permeates both time streams. We get intricate and gorgeously-detailed character designs set against sparse backgrounds. This helps the artwork to flow seamlessly from page to page, eventually merging triumphantly at the book’s halfway point.
I really enjoy the softer, more muted look employed by Sauvage in the flashbacks. They have a unique, timeless look, helping sell the images as flashbacks throughout The Life of Captain Marvel #5.
Of course, that doesn’t undercut the work of the present-day crew. Images are sharp, dynamic, and dominated by warm, fiery colors to underscore the intensity of the battle.
Why are you still reading a review? Get out there and buy The Life of Captain Marvel #5 now.