Kelly Sue DeConnick’s “Captain Marvel” #13 with art by Scott Hepburn, Gerardo Sandoval and colors by Jordie Bellaire puts Carol on the trail of her old enemy Yon-Rogg (now upgraded to “The Magnitron”) as he begins his larger plan, deploying sentries all over the world. He has been pushing Carol to the brink for several issues, but it’s clearly only the beginning as his master plan unfolds.
The star of “Captain Marvel” continues to be Kelly Sue DeConnick’s writing, and more specifically the fantastic voice she’s found for Carol as Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers had a lot of strikes against her in my mind, starting with my love of Monica Rambeau. As a die-hard Rogue fan, liking Danvers always seemed like a betrayal of Rogue, and it was an uphill battle for me with this character and book. If it is indeed a betrayal however, DeConnick has made it something I can’t resist. In DeConnick’s hands, Carol is smart and funny, heroic and flawed, and horribly wonderfully real.
The current storyline with Carol being unable to fly sometimes pushes on my suspension of disbelief (in this issue the explanation that flying causes the biggest strain on the Kree part of her third lobe was a bit eye rolling) but what the story has presented is easily worth that wavering suspension of disbelief. To see Carol pushed to the edge both physically and emotionally is so rewarding. Watching her come up with alternate and more creative ways to save the day within her new limitations has changed her, and watching her emotional journey as she tries to understand what’s happening to her and becomes frustrated by her limitations and her own ego is a great exploration of character — superhero or otherwise.
I’m torn by the art in this issue by Hepburn, as I generally liked it and thought it was easy to follow, but it felt inconsistent — to the point that some pages looked like they were by a different artist entirely. To add to the confusion, two pages were actually done by a different artist (Gerardo Sandoval), who has a drastically different and much more cartoonish style than Hepburn. Additionally, some of the character details don’t quite feel right — Carol’s hair (which has admittedly fluctuated since issue #1) is utterly bizarre (and unfortunately mullet-like), Wendy appears to have lost roughly 50 pound between issues and Bruce Banner doesn’t resemble any version of him I have ever seen. The character acting and storytelling are generally strong, but the end result of Hepburn and Sandoval on this issue is a book that might appeal to more people than Felipe Andrade’s work on the last few issues, but that, for me, was less captivating, kinetic, and with far less of a ballsy and specific style that helped the book stand out in the crowded superhero landscape.
While “Captain Marvel” has struggled a bit in finding the right artist and thus settling on a consistent visual identity, it has never struggled with Carol Danver’s identity, which has been stunningly handled and developed over the last year. I hope Marvel continues to support this book as DeConnick’s work with the character has been exceptional and the book, despite some hiccups, has been a solid superhero title overall, with flashes of genuine brilliance.