Upending The Carol Danvers Canon With Life Of Captain Marvel #4

by Josh Davison

[*Spoilers Ahead!]

Captain Marvel learns the true story of her mother, Captain Mari-Ell, an elite soldier of the Kree Empire tasked with coming to Earth and scouting it on behalf of the empire. She also tells Carol of how young Marie met and fell in love with Joe Danvers. Meanwhile, the Kree Kleaner arrives at last and aims to kill Mari-Ell and anyone who stands with her.

The Life of Captain Marvel #4 cover by Julian Totino Tedesco
The Life of Captain Marvel #4 cover by Julian Totino Tedesco

So, needless to say, The Life of Captain Marvel #4 completely upends the established story of Carol Danvers and the origins of her powers. She is half-Kree by birth instead of by accident. The comic explains that her powers manifested through duress (like Marvel’s mutant) instead of the effects of the Psyche-Magnetron.

Is this a more fitting origin for Carol Danvers? I’d say so, yes. Though I adore the character, Carol’s backstory was always weird and convoluted. That backstory is still a part of her saga, but it’s not the reason she has her incredible powers.

Her family story does now resemble Aquaman’s origins, right down to the warrior princess falling in love with the bay man. The family name of “Ell” also resembles some other comics royalty, not helped by one particular member of that family being called Kara Danvers in everyday life.

That said, it’s hard to tell a new superhero story without cribbing something from established canon, for we are eternally responding to the work that surrounds us. What matters is that this is a good story competently told, and the reader can feel for Carol and her mom in the process of this revelation.

The Life of Captain Marvel #4 art by Erica D'Urso and Marcio Menyz
The Life of Captain Marvel #4 art by Erica D’Urso and Marcio Menyz

Carlos Pacheco is now joined by artist Erica D’Urso for the flashback scenes. Both artists this another gorgeous issue of The Life of Captain Marvel. D’Urso’s artwork is a little less textured and dreamlike than Marguerite Sauvage’s contributions to past issues, but it still looks great. Pachecho’s work in the present looks good, but it looks somewhat oily. This seems to be due to less extensive inking from Rafael Fonteriz in the detailing. That said, the book looks good on the whole, Fonteriz does some solid inkwork for much of the book, and Marcio Menyz gives soft and well-balanced coloring work to the comic.

The Life of Captain Marvel #4 is an ambitious redux of Carol Danvers’ story, and the gambit paid off. It’s a compelling read, feels iconically Carol Danvers, and is certainly memorable. The artwork is quite good too, and the comic is worth a read.

The Life of Captain Marvel #4 comes to us from writer Margaret Stohl, artists Carlos Pacheco and Erica D’Urso, inkers Rafael Fonteriz and Erica D’Urso, color artist Marcio Menyz, letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles, cover artist Julian Totino Tedesco, and variant cover artists Jen Bartel and Sujin Jo.

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