Captain Marvel #25 Review

by Charles Martin on January 27, 2021

Captain Marvel #25 Review
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Lee Garbett
Flashback Artist: Belén Ortega
Colourist: Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Up until the final pages, Captain Marvel spends this issue pinioned in magic shackles, fielding a lot of exposition from Ove and especially from Amora the Enchantress. Her allies are more proactive, breaking out early and eventually freeing Carol.

So, villains gushing backstory at a temporarily-tied-up hero. Unless you live under a rock, you've seen this set-up a zillion times before. My personal touchstone for this scenario is James Bond, but it crops up in pretty much every medium -- novels, movies, TV, and of course comic books.

But treading a well-worn narrative path is not a mortal sin; what matters is how the storytellers move. And Kelly Thompson, Lee Garbett, and Belén Ortega are dancing a lively jig here, making their plot developments interesting and tying them firmly to the characters.

The show-piece of the issue is Amora's tale of falling in almost-but-not-quite love with Namor and raising a son with him. Ms. Thompson's narration paints a compelling picture of a strong woman who's regretful but not ashamed about her choices.

Belén Ortega's flashback art is outstanding, aligning closely with Lee Garbett's contemporary style but delivering a little extra emotion with its softer, rounder faces. Ms. Ortega also successfully carries a lot of narrative weight, laying out a complementary story that goes beyond the author's words and demands extra attention.

Although it is compelling, the flashback does have some storytelling faults. Amora's formal Asgardian tone bleeds into the other characters' dialogue -- Carol sounds unusually stiff when she reacts to the story.

And there are larger problems with the characters, too. Despite getting a lot of origin details in his mother's flashback, Ove remains, as far as I'm concerned, just "Namor, but with a beard."

There's still plenty to love in this issue. Carol's allies shine in their cutaway scenes. Emma Frost, in particular, is a diamond treasure. Kelly Thompson perfectly encapsulates how Emma should be written by putting the phrase "gallows humour" into her mouth.

Lee Garbett's art lives up to the strength of the flashback, carrying the contemporary story along in fine style. I love pretty much every panel he draws of the formidable Brigid.

(Between Brigid and Lauri-Ell, maybe hooking Captain Marvel up with a super-swole female sidekick is the signature move of the Thompson era?)

Antonio Fabela puts the cherry on top of the visual sundae with fine colouring work. He uses the same palette for the flashback and the contemporary panels, working to meld the artists together. Characters and backgrounds are somewhat subdued, fitting the dungeon-y setting, but super-powered zaps and lightning blaze out with high intensity.

Carol spends this issue trapped in a familiar narrative prison -- held captive while her antagonists monologue at her. But sharp writing and attractive art do a good job of making Captain Marvel's ordeal palatable to the reader; this is a fully-satisfying continuation of the ongoing arc.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
Dang it Marvel, why isn't Kelly Thompson writing an Emma Frost solo series right now?!