Review: Captain Marvel #5 — Power Struggles
Captain Marvel packs a strong punch
Captain Marvel #5 continues the story arc “Higher, Further, Faster, More,” and the plot comes together as Captain Marvel and her ragtag team make a discovery that upsets the balance of power among planet Torfa’s factions. Meanwhile, J’Son, ruler of the Spartax Empire, solidifies his reputation as a villain readers love to hate. Captain Marvel stands up to the Spartax in a show of courage and power that will have you on the edge of your seat waiting anxiously until the next issue. Captain Marvel #5 keeps the story’s momentum going strong and lives up to its potential as a sweeping space opera with fast-paced action.
The best part about this issue is Kelly Sue DeConnick’s solid work on characterization. Captain Marvel has a strong moral center, and is willing to do the right thing even if it means going against orders. J’Son is arrogant and ruthless. What’s most important, though, is that the newer, less-familiar characters have personalities that stand out and draw the reader into the story—from Tic’s recklessness and inquisitiveness to Madame Eleanides’s sternness and quiet dignity. These characters enrich the world that Captain Marvel has pledged to defend and make the reader invested in the story’s outcome.
The trouble with a story full of alien societies scheming and plotting against each other, though, is that it’s hard to keep track of who’s who and what’s going on from one month to the next. There’s enough contextual information in the issue to jog your memory if you’ve forgotten, say, who the Haffensye or the Sentimault are, but I felt like I understood and enjoyed this issue a lot more after going back and re-reading the previous issues. The issue works more as part of a larger whole than as something that stands on its own.
In this issue, the art continues to contribute to the cosmic scope of the series. It’s obvious that artist David Lopez put a lot of care in designing the characters—for example, Bee and Cepul are both Sentimault, but you’d never confuse the two. And the way he draws Captain Marvel, clenched fists radiating energy, you believe that she can take on a fleet of ships by her lonesome. Lee Loughridge’s colors give each scene its own distinct look and feel, from the steely gray inside the Haffensye ship, to the cobalt blue of space, to the sand-blasted desolation of Torfa. Finally, letterer Joe Caramagna’s use of alien-looking fonts completes the cosmic effect.
Overall, this issue proved that Captain Marvel can succeed in a cosmic setting. The story is beginning to gel, Captain Marvel’s team is coming together, and the issue’s cliffhanger shows that the action is about to ramp up significantly. I’m excited about the direction this story arc’s going in, and I can’t wait to see how taking on the Spartax Empire is going to add complications to Captain Marvel’s life. Definitely pick up this issue if you’re excited to see a strong-willed heroine kicking ass on the edge of space.