The Life of Captain Marvel #2 Review

by Charles Martin on August 22, 2018

The Life of Captain Marvel #2 Review
Writer: Margaret Stohl
Penciller: Carlos Pacheco
Inker: Rafael Fonteriz
Colourist: Marcio Menyz
Flashback Artist: Marguerite Sauvage
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

In this issue, Carol overlooks the Mysterious Alien Dingus she found in her dad's effects to obsess over the soap-opera ramifications of his love letters. This is a mistake on her part. The b-plot shows us that the Alien Baby Weirdness from the last issue has turned into a red-haired Kree glamazon who lands in Canada and starts Terminator-ing her way to Carol's family retreat in Maine.

That's a pretty fair summation of #2's plot developments. To add more, I could get spoilery, but it wouldn't amount to much: An extra sentence or two.

It's a bit slow.

The script continues to examine Carol's traumatic childhood with a fairly serious tone. While there are a few warm memories, particularly in her chat with Lou the Doughnut Dude, the focus remains on the never-healing wounds her father cut into the family.

Speaking of Lou the Doughnut Dude, he admits to a decades-old crush on Carol and all signs point to it still being active. He might as well have told us he was a week away from retirement. I'm virtually certain Lou is destined to brush death pretty closely - maybe fatally - once we hit the climax.

I have similar issues with the evolution of Carol's love-letter drama and her eventual confrontation with her mother over it. While the nuts and bolts details are handled with fine skill, the plot (i.e. Mom's response) shapes up according to the oldest and most predictable of soap opera clichés.

And of course, there's the Kree glamazon, running the Terminator playbook (with a pinch of Men In Black) so line-by-line that she's a quote or two away from copyright infringement. It's not just the ominous danger, it's the ambiguity of her intent. Is she going to land on Carol like a big blue kill-a-potamus or will there be a Clever Twist? 

The story is enhanced by quality visuals. The present-day scenes are still beautifully rendered, with ample helpings of both realistic detail and emotional impact. The colours are generally vibrant, with two important exceptions. Marguerite Sauvage's brief funeral flashback is painted strictly in shades of grey, and the glamazon's landing is smudged up with some interesting smoke/dust effects. 

The flashback is beautiful but still all too brief. My desire for an all-Sauvage Captain Marvel adventure will never be satisfied, alas.

The script earns some credit with me by offering up novel language even if the bones of the plot are over-familiar. If I say clichés are a problem, I don't mean that the dialogue features trite phrasing. Margaret Stohl obviously worked hard on the words, and Carol's inner monologue becomes positively poetic in the flashback.

This chapter of the LCM story is a lovingly-restored project car. It's polished to a high shine and it runs well, but it's built out of decades-old parts. Every plot development, every emotional reaction, every beat falls into place like a called shot. While the smoothness of the assembly is admirable, the total familiarity of the parts is not. 

Its safe, slow plot keeps this issue from being as great as its presentation suggests it should be. The Life of Captain Marvel #2 takes very pretty steps with poise and grace. They are small steps and there aren't a lot of them, though. This is clearly one chapter in a larger story, but it feels like an early frontrunner for this title's "least memorable issue" award.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
Poor Lou. I can practically see the scythe lurking behind him.