Captain Marvel’s name has skyrocketed this last week after the trailer for the movie starring Brie Larson was finally released to the public. Now with that momentum behind the character it is time for The Life of Captain Marvel to pick up the momentum. Though Margaret Stohl’s mini-series exploring Carol Danvers life before she became Captain Marvel has been solid it has yet to reach that next level. The best part of the first two issues has been how Stohl has used Carol’s reunion to explore who she is. On the other side of the story, Stohl has yet to create interest in the mysterious Kree soldier that has appeared near Carol Danvers hometown. Let’s see if the two sides of this series finally collide to improve the weakness of the story with The Life of Captain Marvel #3.
Writer: Margaret Stohl
Artist: Carlos Pacheco and Marguerite Sauvage
Inker: Rafael Fonteriz
Colorist: Marcio Menyz
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The Kree soldier rapidly approaches the pier at Harpswell Sound, Maine, speeding through some boats on the way.
In another part of the city while going out on a run Carol starts thinking about how she woke up in a panic and decided to take her mom’s advice by running to feel better. While she runs she flashes back to when she was running as a kid and somehow caught up to Louis’ family truck that was driving off.
In the present Louis calls out to Carol, who started flying without knowing. Carol apologizes for not hearing him earlier as she was distracted.
Carol and Louis walk to a a nearby lake to talk about if Carol found anything else about her family. Carol tells Louis that her mom admitted everything to her and is still trying to think how she missed all the clues back then. Carol asks Louis if she was ever normal as a kid. Louis grabs Carol’s hand and says she was tough to miss even back in the day.
Years ago Carol’s mom and dad take Louis along on a boat ride with Carol’s dad letting Carol steer the boat. Carol and Louis are shown having a fun time with Carol acting as the captain of the boat.
Back in the present while a beeping sound goes off Louis admits to still have feelings for Carol. As they lean in to kiss Carol can’t stop hearing the beeping sound that is getting louder. Carol decides to check out the noise but promises that there is something happening between her and Louis.
Back at her family’s home Carol finds her mom in the garage after finding the Kree drone she found in her dad’s mysterious box. Marie Danvers tells her daughter she doesn’t understand why Carol’s father kept the device that belonged to his mysterious lover. Carol tells her mom to calm down. She then takes the device and quickly throws it into the ocean nearby.
Marie decides to go inside and angrily cleans the dishes.
Joe Jr. wonders what set off their mom. Carol admits she found a remote in a box. Joe reveals he knows about it and the letters from their father though he never knew how to break it to Carol back in the day.
As Carol wonders how she missed the clues Joe talks about a day back when they were kids when they went out into the ocean with their uncle. When they returned to shore Joe spotted there dad floating in the air with a woman that was not their mother.
Back in the present Carol is shocked that she must have buried that memory.
Back downtown a Kree drone is analyzing the city residents until it finally finds its target.
Back at the Danvers’ home Carol asks if her mom is okay. Carol and Marie walk to the nearby pier. There Marie admits that a lot happened between her and Joe Sr., admitting that their meeting was an accident but was the best thing that happened to her. She goes on to say her and Joe Sr. chose to live a life they wanted for better or worse with their family together. Marie goes on to mention there was a time she felt as strong as Carol.
Carol suddenly starts feeling weird and passes out for a second, falling into the water. As Carol sinks like a stone Marie jumps into the water and saves her daughter.
Back downtown the Kree drone is destroying various businesses. Louis tries to distract the device and it works as it starts attack the area around Joe.
Carol suddenly shows up and quickly destroys the Kree drone. As she does that even more similar Kree drones show up and fly to Carol’s family home.
Carol changes into her Captain Marvel costume and forces the Kree drones to chase her up into the sky. Once she is a safe distance from her home Captain Marvel destroys all the Kree drones.
The mysterious Kree soldier suddenly appears at the Danvers home. Captain Marvel confronts the Kree soldier. Marie comes out of the home and says the Kree soldier is actually there for her.
Marie then takes off her necklace and suddenly transforms into a form with Kree-like armor. End of issue.
The Good: There were many directions that Margaret Stohl could’ve taken when it came to exploring Carol Danvers backstory in The Life of Captain Marvel. The direction involved the Carol’s family history was the strength of this series. That is something that was largely continued by The Life of Captain Marvel #3 until the hook ending.Unfortunately its that same hook ending that ends up taking the story down a predictable route.
Before getting into that, when it comes to the strength of this series Stohl has done a good job highlighting what makes Carol Danvers an engaging character. Carol is someone that isn’t defined by one or two experiences. Carol’s personality was one that was shaped over the course of her entire life experiences. From her family life that was sometimes fun and other times rough to the accident that led her to becoming Miss Marvel, Carol has gone through a lot. That is something that Stohl does a good job writing when the focus is on Carol’s inner monologue and one-on-one interactions with other characters.
The best example of all that is Carol’s conversation with her brother Joe Jr. In this scene, which takes place after their mother’s freakout, was the perfect way to open Carol’s eyes to how she buried a lot of memories from her childhood. It is in this scene that we finally see that Carol’s view on her childhood finally open up. This development creates interest around how Carol will finally react when she learns all the facts about her family’s history.
This also made Joe Jr.’s own revelation that he already knew about their dad’s cheating even stronger. Taking a look at Carol’s own reaction at about how her father openly cheated on their mom showed that Carol wasn’t ready as a child to learn that information. Joe Jr. knew that and it is why he decided to let Carol try to live as happy of a childhood as possible even if when she would finally find out it would be painful.
The artwork from Carlos Pacheco and Marguerite Sauvage continues to be the strongest part of The Life of Captain Marvel. That was no different in this third issue. In a talking heads heavy issue Pacheco makes each scene more dramatic with how the character facial reactions match the dialogue. And with there finally being action involving Captain Marvel we get to see an example of how explosive he can make such sequences when given the opportunity to let loose.
Similarly, Sauvage does a very good job giving a grainy film-esque look to the flashback scenes. Everything about the design helps it stand out from the present day scenes. It almost looks as though Carol is watching a VHS tapes of her childhood, adding a unique character on its own to these flashback scenes.
The Bad: There was absolutely zero surprise with Stohl revealing that Carol Danvers family is closely tied to the Kree. Rather than be a surprise it was just another typical superhero comic book twist. This is something we’ve actually seen happen to a lot of characters, such as Tony Stark and Peter Quill in recent years. And like those previously unknown family histories, Marie Danvers being connected to Kree does not add anything to Carol’s backstory.
What makes this revelation even more disappointing is that it takes Carol’s history from being grounded to something that is deeply rooted in the Kree. In doing this Stohl takes away the interest in Carol’s childhood and brings up unnecessary questions about her bloodline. That includes questioning why Carol’s brothers don’t have Kree-like powers and why Marie Danvers would even come to Earth. Those question are much less interesting than if we continued to learn about what Carol was blind to and keeping that separate from her superhero life as Captain Marvel.
What makes it worse is that this didn’t need to be done as The Life of Captain Marvel was already going in strong direction by analyzing how Carol was blind to so much of her family’s life. It would’ve been much better if the Danvers family drama was all Earth based as it was something many people could relate to as a broken family home is not uncommon. Having that be what is the spotlight for this series would’ve made Carol a stronger character outside her Captain Marvel adventures.
Now we don’t have that as everything about Carol is based around her Captain Marvel life since now she is directly tied to the Kree. That direct relation to the Kree made Marie Danvers an even less interesting character as now we are to expect her drama with Joe Sr. is based around that. The politics around that just comes off as unnecessary since the person Joe Sr. was cheating on Marie with was also another Kree. This all makes the impact of everything that is revealed less interesting since we continue to march towards everything about Carol being connected to her Captain Marvel identity.
The unknown Kree soldier that is looking to kill or at least capture Marie Danvers does not help the story at all. So far this Kree soldier lacks any sort of personality. All she is so far is just a nameless killing machine that is completely one-note. Not having the character talk at all makes the portrayal of the Kree soldier even worse as we don’t even get to see her develop an actual personality. If The Life of Captain Marvel has any hope of improving the Kree soldier will need to be given additional layers in order to be interest in the conflict with the Kree that Captain Marvel finds herself in the middle of.
Stohl hotshotting the romance between Carol and Louis does not help the story in The Life of Captain Marvel at all. There hasn’t been enough development in the friendship between the two to make this pairing something that fans can get behind. Instead this development just makes Louis be seen as the typical love interest for the story that won’t be seen beyond this series. And since Captain Marvel does not have a recognizable supporting cast this is a big disappointment as Louis could’ve helped fill part of that hole in the franchise. Now all Louis turns out to be will just be seen as a one-and-done love interest and nothing more.
Overall: The Life of Captain Marvel #3 is a strong example of how an hook ending can derail an entire story that was starting to get stronger. The big revelation of the issue completely falls flat as Margaret Stohl goes with the all to obvious comic book twist character backstory. It’s a major disappointment since there was a lot of interest being built around the developments with the Danvers family before what was revealed at the end of The Life of Captain Marvel #3.