REVIEW: The Mighty Captain Marvel #4 – “Smashing Through the Glass Ceiling”

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Writer: Margaret Stohl
Pencillers: Ted Brandt, Brent Schoonover
Colorist: Michael Garland
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release Date: 4/26/17
Price: $3.99

In the conclusion of “Alien Nation,” Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel must again rescue Bean and prevent the construction of the superweapon that could end them all.

The Mighty Captain Marvel #4

Plot: After “hulking” out due to the effect of the HLA on her DNA, Carol’s destruction and chaos allows MIM to kidnap Bean again. However thanks to help from some of her friends, Carol is able to escape confinement to track down Bean and in the process discovers the truth about the superweapon threatening them all.

Story: The Mighty Captain Marvel #4 wraps up the first arc of writer Margaret Stohl’s Captain Marvel run, but in a circuitous and at times plain-boring way. The issue focuses heavily on Carol’s DNA reaction to the HLA and the troubles it causes. However, the copious amount of panels dedicated to her talking about it does little to move the plot forward.

By devoting so much time to her internal monologues, the character development this issue provides actually feels redundant and cliche. It’s obvious Carol Danvers cares deeply about Bean, but instead of pulling at the reader’s heartstrings this issue falls flat with slow pacing and repetitive dialogue.

As far as the actual conclusion of the MIM story arc, very little time is spent explaining the superweapon Carol has to stop or the motivations of the person behind it. We get an extremely one-dimensional villain who seems to have no real motivation for taking over the world or taking control of Carol. The actual climax is resolved so quickly I’m left to wonder the point of this arc at all.

The highlights of the story for me actually involved seeing Carol interact with other heroes, whether it was escaping the hospital or seeing her reaction to AI Tony Stark’s typical snark.

The Mighty Captain Marvel #4

Art: The art in this issue proved stronger than the actual story.  Ted Brandt and Brent Schoonover do a great job of capturing Carol’s tumultuous emotions throughout the issue. Not only is she dealing with the loss of Bean, but also coping with the loss of control over her own body. As someone who is used to being in charge, this causes a range of emotions from fear to anger.

The action scene where Captain Marvel fights a MIM-version of herself also shows off the skills of the pencillers. The two Captain Marvels look enough alike to confuse the readers at first, but subtle differences in hair and facial expressions tip you off as to who the evil twin is as they go round and round.

Michael Garland accentuates the control the HLA has over Carol through his vivid blue coloring that starkly contrasts with the otherwise muted color palette of the issue, making the HLA and the Helix weapon glow off of the page.

The Mighty Captain Marvel #4

Verdict: Overall, this issue did not provide the most satisfying conclusion to the story arc. While it ends on an emotional note and lessons learned for Captain Marvel, it also leaves a lot of unanswered questions about Dr. Eve and whether we’ve seen the last of her. Stohl seems to confuse an excess of internal

Stohl seems to confuse an excess of internal monologues with character development, something that will hopefully be corrected down the line.  Captain Marvel’s greatest assets are her friendships and ability to lead, two things that have been underutilized so far. The first arc of The Mighty Captain Marvel has done little to keep readers interested, but the promise of a team up in the “Band of Sisters” coming up next might inspire readers to stick with the title.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

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