With Captain Marvel’s movie around the corner Marvel has decided to spotlight Carol Danvers’ origin story through The Life of Captain Marvel. This mini-series, written by long-term Captain Marvel writer Margaret Stohl, got off to a solid start last month. Stohl established that The Life of Captain Marvel will explore Carol’s history with her family, particularly her father, while staying in the present with our lead back in her hometown. While that set-up did give us more insight into who Carol is what was worrying was Stohl hinting that there is a greater unknown history that Carol doesn’t know about her father. How this major plot point is executed will make or break the story in The Life of Captain Marvel. Let’s see how things turn out with The Life of Captain Marvel #2.
Writer: Margaret Stohl
Artist: Carlos Pacheco and Marguerite Sauvage
Inker: Rafael Fonteriz
Colorist: Marcio Menyz
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Carol Danvers lays around her old room, unable to sleep, thinking how she shouldn’t of return and wonders what is going with her dad’s love letters. When Carol’s mom (Marie Danvers) calls to get some help with Joe Jr. Carol starts having a hard time breathing.
Carol starts thinking back to her father’s funeral service and how even then it was tough to not think about how things were never easy with her him. When asked to speak Carol could only say “My father…Pops…He was a worthy opponent.”
In the present Carol goes to help her mom but she has already done everything for Joe Jr and made coffee. She then offers to make some breakfast as Carol wonders if she should tell her mom about the letters she found.
Somewhere in Canada a Kree spaceship crashlands on a farm. Out of the Kree ship comes out a Kree soldier that was from the device Carol released in her dad’s stuff some time ago.
At Sugar’s Donut Carol talks with Louis Lee. Louis wonders if Carol told her mom about the letters. Carol sarcastically jokes that she has. Taking his break, Louis sits with Carol and tells her that even though her dad was a piece of work she should be honest with her mom and ask the questions she has for her. Carol knows Louis is right but wonders what if her mom doesn’t forgive her for what she found out.
Louis changes the subject a bit by mentioning he almost asked Carol out when they were fourteen. Carol says she remembers that and how she went on her first date that 4th of July with Wade the Brain. They then joke around a bit more before Louis is called back to work.
Somewhere in Canada the newly born Kree soldier walks up to a baffled farmer. The Kree soldier soldier punches the guy in the face and walks away from the scene.
Back at the Danvers summer home, Carol waters some plants with her mom. While doing so Carol says she wants to reveal what has been bothering her. Marie thinks that Carol wants to go back to her normal life as an Avenger. Carol says it is not and shows her mom the love letters her dad wrote to another woman.
As Marie sits in shock Carol thinks about how she and her mom were never much for having conversations.
Marie finally gets up walks to the nearby pier and Carol follows her. Marie admits that she knew about her husband cheating on her and was going to tell Carol even if she knew Carol wouldn’t understand what was going on. Carol is confused how her mom would stay with someone like her dad and even defend him when he didn’t deserve it. Marie says she asked herself those questions thousands of times when asking her husband to stop drinking.
She goes on to apologize to Carol and admits she doesn’t know if she can’t forgive herself. Marie then admits that because she loved her husband she couldn’t blame him for being unhappy in their marriage and wanting more.
Sometime later, as Captain Marvel, Carol is on the Moon and punches the ground in frustration over what she learned about about her parents marriage.
Elsewhere in Canada, the Kree soldier releases a device that begins to hunt for something. The next morning the device returns and gives the Kree soldier information what they are hunting.
The Kree soldier then steals a truck and decides to blow up a semi-truck that passed by with their energy beam.
Back at her family summer home, Carol returns home and tells her sleeping brother she loves him. Joe Jr suddenly wakes up and says “Love….You.” Carol is stunned that her brother woke up. She then rushes to wake up her mom and tells her Joe Jr. woke up.
At the Harpswell docks the Kree soldier speeds in on a boat, arriving at their destination. End of issue.
The Good: With the set-up of The Life of Captain Marvel out of the way Margaret Stohl is clearly much more comfortable moving forward with the story she wants to tell. Focusing on Carol Danvers family history has made Captain Marvel a more layered character. Unfortunately Stohl is unable to avoid having the Kree aspect of the story weigh down the story in The Life of Captain Marvel #2.
In exploring Carol’s family history, particularly that with her father, Stohl has gone a long way in explaining who Carol is. Since being elevated as a key player within the Marvel Universe over the last decade many writers have leaned into how much of a hardass Carol is as Captain Marvel. Unfortunately there have been times, specifically in Civil War II and Secret Empire, where Captain Marvel has come off as unlikable because of how she has taken more of a stance of her being right and anyone that doesn’t agree with her is wrong.
Now with The Life of Captain Marvel #2 in particular Stohl explores what makes Carol tick and why she has had such a harden personality. While her military background plays a part in who Carol is it is her history with the environment that she grew up in that was a major contributing factor. Through both the flashback and present day scenes Stohl is able to give even more insight into who Carol is. That is an important thing for The Life of Captain Marvel to do as Marvel wants this to an entry point comic for those who watch the upcoming Captain Marvel film.
What makes The Life of Captain Marvel engaging is the fact that Stohl is not hiding from how tough it is for Carol to deal with a past that was physically and emotionally abusive. Stohl presents this in a relatable way as there are readers know someone or have experienced who have gone through what Carol has gone through. It is not an easy thing to deal with no matter how old you may get. Even as Carol has become one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe it does not make this past easier to deal with.
Having her summer home and the letters bring these emotions back up made Carol come off as someone that you feel for. Her hyperventilating at the beginning of the issue showed how much what she discovered about her dad weighed on her. This new revelation made what Carol had to go through feel more complex for her as she was left in a state of complete confusion of what to do.
Carol’s own conflict made the revelation that her mom, Marie Danvers, knew about her husband cheating on her an even bigger moment. You could see how this felt like a major gut punch for Carol as her mom told her something she was not expecting. This added to her own confusion as she felt further disconnected from the drama with her family as she was left bewildered how her mom could stay with someone like her dad. That added to how understandably frustrated Carol was that as Captain Marvel she flew to the Moon in order to punch something.
It also gave us more context into who Marie is and why she has her own emotional issues. This is something Stohl hinted at in the first issue and it was good to see it develop in this way for the second issue. Because while Carol is left confused at how to even speak with her mother now Stohl has opened the door for an even deeper resolution as the series moves forward. This also opens the door for further flashbacks that could be from Marie or Joe Jr.’s perspective to give context into how Marie said things about the broken marriage was complicated.
With all of this going on Stohl did a good job making Carol’s friend Louis be the one that grounds Carol. Louis being real with Carol about her confronting her mother about the letters made him seem like a genuine friend as he wasn’t avoiding pushing Carol to do so. This made the way they joked around about their past come across much better. It was casual enough to be friendly while hinting at some romantic tension. Hopefully Stohl keeps Carol and Louis as friends rather than going down the typical romantic angle as Carol could use a strong friend as part of her unestablished supporting cast.
Carlos Pacheco and Marguerite Sauvage once again delivered solid artwork throughout The Life of Captain Marvel #2. Pacheco did a good job bringing out the emotional weight that Carol Danvers felt on her shoulders as she weighed her options of how to confront her mom. Similarly, Sauvage’s artwork for the flashback scene kept Pacheco’s style to maintain the consistency with the present-day scenes while still feeling like it was happening in the past.
The Bad: The Kree portion of The Life of Captain Marvel #2 continues to be the weakest part of this series. This storyline completely feels random addition to give Captain Marvel to punch someone in the middle of how emotionally heavy the story is. And since the unknown Kree soldier does not get anything to do other than broad and destroy things it is tough to get behind her being more than just the villain of the week for the series.
It also does not help that this Kree soldier is tied to the unknown history of Carol’s dad. It is still completely unnecessary to establish that Carol’s dad has a connection to the Kree in some way. We don’t need to give Carol a deeper connection the Kree, especially through her dad. It actually makes her dad’s sub-plot less interesting since now it is connected to her life as Captain Marvel. It would’ve been much more personal and relatable if it was kept Earth based rather than going into the unbelievable Kree connection route.
Overall: Margaret Stohl did a great job showing how Carol Danvers relationship with her family is much more complicated than she even knew throughout The Life of Captain Marvel #2. The weight added to what she learned created more interest in how Carol will interact with her family moving forward. Unfortunately the quality of The Life of Captain Marvel #2 was brought down by the Kree sub-plot that felt forced in to create a predictable superhero story. Hopefully this portion of the story is developed better as it could make or break The Life of Captain Marvel’s success.