Comic Book Review: Captain Marvel #15
Captain Marvel #15 is a powerful issue, and one hell of an emotional rollercoaster. After journeying through the galaxy, Carol Danvers returns home to Earth, only to find that her friend and mentor Tracy has passed away. With the support of her friends, Carol is able to reflect upon her memories and come to terms with her loss, and her friends help her understand that there are moments of joy even in sadness. In this issue, Kelly Sue DeConnick, David Lopez, and Lee Loughridge do some of their best work yet, and their love for the characters really comes through. While Secret Wars is going to shake up the Marvel universe as we know it, this issue gives the current volume of Captain Marvel a sense of closure, so I feel ready for whatever is in store for Carol next.
This issue is an interesting contrast to other issues of Captain Marvel in its sense of scale. The story is much smaller in scale than an interstellar war or superhuman conflict—it’s more intimate, more personal. We see the core of who Captain Marvel is—her compassion, her perseverance, her empathy. We see the humanity that superheroes like her fight to protect, and the love and friendship that make that fighting worthwhile. Carol isn’t alone in dealing with her grief—she has Rhodey, Jess, and Steve by her side—and we see them support Carol like she once supported Tracy, as friends rather than as Avengers. I love this issue because, as much as I love comics that are epic and cosmic and weird, it’s nice to read something that speaks to you on a human level.
I also cannot overstate just how stellar the art is in this issue. The emotion conveyed in the characters’ expressions and gestures is so evocative, like when we see Carol make a 180-degree turn from elated to grief-stricken. David Lopez also makes good use of repeating panels to convey the passage of time, especially when coupled with Lee Loughridge’s use of light and shadow. Loughridge’s coloring in this issue is crucial in setting the emotional tenor for the book, in sepia-toned memories and golden sunsets. The art deserves close attention—see how much Carol resembles Tracy’s partner Teddy when Teddy was younger, and how the photograph of Tracy and Teddy in Tracy’s apartment becomes a focal point for Tracy’s grief after Teddy’s death. The power of these scenes reinforces this story’s emphasis on finding closure after loss, and even in sadness there are moments of beauty.
Captain Marvel #15 will leave you gutted, like you just lost someone close to you, but you’re also left feeling uplifted. In Carol and Tracy’s friendship, both women built each other up and supported each other, and even with though Tracy is gone her memory will lend Carol strength. We see Carol’s valor and compassion through the lives she touches, and in these small, human moments she is as heroic as ever. A comic this touching and real doesn’t come out every day, so this is definitely an issue to be cherished.