The Life of Captain Marvel – Margaret Stohl, Carlos Pacheco, Marguerite Sauvage & Erica D’Urso (Panini / Marvel) – Mass Movement

The Life of Captain Marvel – Margaret Stohl, Carlos Pacheco, Marguerite Sauvage & Erica D’Urso (Panini / Marvel)

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I used to have a love hate relationship with Carol
Danvers.  Forged by the heat of battle,
imbued with courage and conviction and a diamond hard devotion to loyalty and
honour, Captain Marvel commands, and thoroughly deserves, the respect of every
other hero who has fought alongside, and with, her.  Driven, determined and resourceful and wasn’t
reliant on a whole host of female clichés in order to cement her appeal to a
predominantly male audience, Carol was always just Carol and that was more than
enough. Then Civil War II happened
and a previously hidden side of Carol emerged, as fuelled by grief and
indecision she began the conflict that nearly tore the superhero community
apart. All of a sudden, Carol had become selfish and arrogant; she was
difficult and overbearing and became increasingly unlikable.  It was almost as if she was going through
some sort of internal conflict that was slowly consuming her, and with no
answers why her demeanour had changed looming on the horizon, I slowly began to
distance myself from, and almost stopped reading, Captain Marvel. And then
Margaret Stohl wrote The Life of Captain
and all my nagging issues and questions were answered, everything became
clear and I fell in love* with Captain Marvel all over again.

After losing control while taking down a duo of
super-villains, in The Life of Captain
Marvel ,
 Carol heads home to Maine**
for a long overdue break with her family. It’s here in the company of her
nearest and dearest, and in the bosom of Carol’s incredibly normal and dysfunctional
family dynamic, that Margaret Stohl reimagines and recreates Carol’s personal
history and back story, while retaining Captain Marvel’s origin. Told in series
of flashbacks following a familial tragedy, Carol suddenly becomes much more
human, beset by the same sort of insecurities that we all encounter, her
reasons for standing front and centre during the recent superhero war not only
become far more apparent, they also become almost understandable. Plagued by a
difficult and terse relationship with her father, and the self-doubt and desire
to prove herself that it instilled in her, her return to the place she spent
her formative years helps Carol, while reconnecting with old friends, battling
alien adversaries and discovering a shocking secret about her past and her life,
to see the bigger picture and understand that there are often multiple sides to
a story and that nothing is rarely as simple as it appears to be.

The Life of Captain
is a beautifully imagined, and realised thanks to stunning, detailed
art of Pacheco, Sauvage and D’Urso, intelligent and highly personal story that
adds depth and texture to the mythology and canon of Captain Marvel. Margaret
Stohl’s characterisation and plot are nearly flawless, transforming both Carol
and her life into something less than perfect that we can all understand and
relate to, because she’s just as flawed, damaged and worried about tomorrow as
the rest of us are. Underneath all of the bravado, the bluster and heroics,
Carol is just a sister, daughter and friend trying to make sense of, and
understand, the same things as everybody else and that, more than the numerous
times she’s saved Earth, the Universe and everything in between, is what ultimately
makes her a hero. Me and the Captain, we’re in a good place again. And that’s
all thanks to Margaret Stohl, Carlos Pacheco, Marguerite Sauvage, Erica D’Urso
and The Life of Captain Marvel.  Tim

*With the character and all that she represents, not y’know
the hearts and flowers variety.

**I know Carol’s from Boston, but her family now live in
Maine; which is why she heads there.

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