Review: 'Life of Captain Marvel' #1 Builds a Better Hero From the Past

Captain Marvel's origin is getting a refresh in Margaret Stohl's The Life Of Captain Marvel #1, but does the issue manage to soar or does it fail to stick the landing?

Light spoilers incoming for The Life of Captain Marvel #1, so if you want to go in completely in the dark, you've been warned.

When you think of Carol Danvers, you often think of the hero that soars above the clouds as Captain Marvel, but you also think of the very human and at times brash former Air Force pilot that has a knack for overcoming any obstacle set in front of her. While she's deftly skilled at pushing through, that doesn't mean she actually deals with the scars those obstacles leave, and that long overdue introspection session is at the heart of Stohl's story.

The Life of Captain Marvel seeks to not retell Carol Danvers' origin necessarily, but rather to enrich it while streamlining certain other aspects of it along the way. Fans of the character know that some of the most poignant and interesting elements of Carol's past involve her family, and in turn how she handles family conflict and baggage. Stohl uses that as a bedrock here, learning more about the hero we know and love by peeling back painful layers she's put to the side too long.

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(Photo: Marvel Comics)

Sure Carol can fly and punch mountains, but lo and behold her return home for a family dinner is just as painfully awkward and tense as anyone else's, and you can't punch silence and buried emotions. That's part of the issue's charm actually, as most will find something they can identify with.

Returning to a place you once called home can be a very surreal and time-warpish experience, and it's just as difficult to navigate for Carol. Stohl really captures what it's like to return to a place that seems so familiar and yet so foreign all at once, and while the issue deals with heavier themes, she still finds spots to inject some much-needed humor to keep things from bogging down.

Most of that comes from Carol's banter with Tony Stark, which is simply delightful. Thing is, we're not really sure where this falls as far as timeline, as over in Avengers the two aren't nearly as chummy just yet. Honestly, I prefer this characterization of their relationship, but it did admittedly feel a bit off at first.

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(Photo: Marvel Comics)

While this is an origin story, it isn't the typical kind, as most of this is actually set in the present. We see glimpses from her past through flashbacks, but they never overwhelm the current time narrative and also happen to be simply gorgeous thanks to artist Marguerite Sauvage. Her visual style gives a lovely juxtaposition to the current era visuals, which feature Carlos Pacheco on his A-Game. Take a glance at page 12 for all the evidence of that you'll ever need.

Issue #1 is mostly grounded on Earth, but it does open up a bit to present an intriguing mystery. The imagery and dialogue involved are interesting on their own, but it's the relation to Carol's history and family that are the most engaging parts of the mystery.

Perhaps the issue's biggest achievement is just how new-reader friendly it is. Whether it was as Ms. Marvel, Binary, Warbird, Captain Marvel, or just Carol Danvers, the character has had quite the complicated history. So far though Life of Captain Marvel is turning a more personal eye to Carol's life and origins, and this approach allows for any fan, longtime or new, to pick it up with ease.

It remains to be seen if Life of Captain Marvel will deliver on its potential, but the book is certainly off to an amazing start. The Life of Captain Marvel #1 embraces what Captain Marvel has become, both as a character and as a hero in fans' eyes, and it's a story you don't want to miss.

Published by Marvel Comics

On July 18, 2018

Written by Margaret Stohl

Art by Carlos Pacheco and Marguerite Sauvage

Colors by Marcio Menyz

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Inks by Rafael Fonteriz

Lettering by VC's Clayton Cowles