Carol Danvers has been at the center of a lot of Marvel Universe drama. She’s fought Tony Stark in Civil War II for the right to implement predictive justice. She’s been exiled by Hydra Cap. She’s currently in possession of the Reality Stone, and she’s getting an origin story update in Margaret Stohl’s The Life of Captain Marvel. This issue is an emotional freefall for Carol. She’s adrift in her past and things just get heavier and heavier at every turn. The pacing starts at a frantic pace, switching between flashbacks of a troubled childhood to a violent anxiety attack. These first few pages establish tone and atmosphere very well as Carol’s past causes anxiety issues that sideline her from active hero duty.
Stohl has a monumental task of updating the origin of one of Marvel’s strongest and most popular female characters, and if this first issue is any indication, the trip is going to be bumpy. While the issue starts out well, it quickly becomes hazy where in the timeline this story actually sits. There are several key aspects of the story that creates timeline confusion. Carol is fighting alongside Tony Stark and they seem to get along as well as they did prior to Civil War II. There’s no connection to the events that ended Stohl’s run on The Mighty Captain Marvel or the events within Infinity Countdown. This story is well written, but it’s just a bit sloppy not having a clear idea of where this story sits in the timeline of the Marvel Universe.
The combination of Pacheco and Sauvage on the artwork is stellar. Sauvage brings a soft, vintage visualization to the flashback sequences, while Pacheco brings sharp, vibrancy to the present sequences. Their combined skills really make the frantic back-and-forth time-switch at the start pop with emotion. Once this sequence is done, Pacheco handles the majority of the art and he shines at representing the emotions Carol experiences as her life unravels.
This is a bit of a rough start to the five-issue mini-series. Stohl, however, keeps things intriguing enough to make it worth continuing with the series. Even if the sloppy start turns some readers off, the combined artistic talents within the issue are well worth the price of admission. Stohl has proven she can write Carol Danvers well in the past, so I’m willing to give the series more time to develop.