The Life Of Captain Marvel #3 Review

by Charles Martin on September 19, 2018

The Life Of Captain Marvel #3 Review
Writer: Margaret Stohl
Penciller: Carlos Pacheco
Inker: Rafael Fonteriz
Colourist: Marcio Menyz
Flashback Artist: Marguerite Sauvage
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Everybody pumped after seeing the first Captain Marvel trailer? Feel like re-upping your Carol Corps membership? Let's check in on what the Danvers family is doing in the comics pages.

Carol continues to unravel her parents' mysteries while unexplained Kree nastiness stalks ever closer. The nastiness does arrive by the end of the issue, promising a major shift in tone. What promises a much bigger upset is the thermonuclear surprise ending the last page springs on us. 

Sometimes the constraints of the reviewer's job are a real godsend. The surprise ending prompts a million and one questions that I couldn't possibly answer, so I'm glad I can avoid raising them and then claim I'm doing you a favour by not spoiling the ending.

What I'm saying is, read this issue, pick your jaw up off the floor, and then sign onto your preferred comics forum for a doozy of a "Whaddaya reckon this means?" discussion.

This issue exposes the real heart of the story, and it's something we never could have guessed. What's truly impressive is that the previous two issues worked perfectly well without even hinting at this twist. 

This is not a change of theme. The core question of LCM remains, "Why was Carol's dad such a jerk?" It's just that the answer to that question turns out to be something from deep left field. The sheer novelty and weirdness of it have me supremely hopeful; I really want to see it nailed down into a coherent, compelling conclusion.

This issue features more beautiful flashbacks thanks to Marguerite Sauvage. These glimpses of Carol's past focus heavily on her relationship with her mother; this is the opposite of accidental. They're also connected tightly to the present story; this issue navigates quickly and confidently between timeframes.

The relationship with Lou the Doughnut Dude moves forward as well. Not only is he a significant part of the flashbacks, he's also pushing hard for a romantic connection in the present. It's stymied by the first stirrings of the upcoming confrontation with the red-haired Kree Glamazon.

This issue does get an action scene thanks to the little scout drones that precede the Glamazon. And this is, unfortunately, the book's big weakness. For some reason, a zappy aerial fight between Carol and a bunch of metal softballs becomes an artistic Waterloo. Panels full of generic explosions do very little to convey the story, and I was forced to scrabble for context clues in the dialogue to piece together what's happening.

Some of that dialogue is less than perfect, too. A creeping over-clever clumsiness intrudes on the key romantic scene between Carol and Louis. There's an unwelcome level of artifice, like we're watching actors read lines. The cleverness of the words amplifies how unnatural they are instead of compensating for it.

That clumsiness stands out all the more because it's isolated; the rest of the words are solid. Carol's inner monologue takes us through a mother-daughter crisis in incredibly moving style.

Some of my disappointment with the action scene may stem from the way it replaces the comic's otherwise-brilliant settings with generic fire and smoke. The vistas shown in the rest of the book are gorgeously drawn and significantly amplified by vibrant colour work. 

A few transient storytelling flaws aren't enough to bring down this excellent turning point in the Life of Captain Marvel. Events come to a head in both keenly-anticipated and wholly-surprising ways. If your interest in the Danvers family saga was starting to flag, this issue is a perfect prescription for changing the game and recapturing your interest.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
I'm tempted to say this story is best read as one trade-sized block, but: 
1) This issue's twist ending is a flawless exploitation of the month-to-month format
2) It's Just Wrong to suggest for any reason that you shouldn't buy issues with JT Tedesco covers.