Captain Marvel #5
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by Emma Rios
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Review by Joey Braccino
Carol Danvers and Helen Cobb fly planes and fight security guards in 1961! Trust me, it’s a lot more engrossing than it sounds. Kelly Sue DeConnick continues her breakthrough Captain Marvel series with another chapter in her fascinating opening time-travel story-arc. Missing from issue #5 is regular artist, Dexter Soy, whose heavy inks and digitally painted style have heretofore created a heavy, thick visual tenor for the series. Artist Emma Rios, however, steps in for this issue, and though her fine pencils/inks are quite different than Soy’s style, this comic book is stunningly beautiful to look at.
Last issue ended with a cliffhanger ending: Carol Danvers had been thrust forward in time (leaving my beloved Banshee Squad back in WWII) to 1961, where she meets her mentor and role-model, Helen Cobb, just as a Women’s Jet Pilot program was launching! This issue picks up with a gorgeous aerial sequence featuring Danvers and Cobb flying jets through the firmament. We then move to the local bar, where DeConnick and Rios construct an intense, intimate stand-off between a leery Helen Cobb and a bewildered Carol Danvers. The emotional escalation in this issue is fantastic, and DeConnick plays with elements of gender bias, chauvinism, and female empowerment. A wonderful sequence plays out with Carol Danvers deciding between riding with Helen toward potential danger or telling another female pilot that her dreams were just too big. Guess which one she picks? Great sequence, and one that repeats later in the book with a slight variation. The book ends with another cliffhanger, this time tipping the reader as to one of DeConnick’s intentions with this storyarc: reintroducing and reinterpreting Carol Danvers’ origin story.
Emma Rios is one phenomenal artist. She’s currently working on Marvel’s Season One graphic novel featuring Doctor Strange and previously teamed up with Kelly Sue DeConnick for the acclaimed Osborn mini-series a few years back. Rios’ delicate linework perfectly captures the simply beautiful skyscapes of the early sequences as well as the subtle variations in Helen Cobb’s sly grin. The paneling also plays with insets and compression, allowing Rios to portray even more variations in movement of the characters’ eyes or mouth during the interactions. It’s gorgeous. Jordie Bellaire rounds out this All-Lady creative team with her flawless colors. The book jumps from bright blues and whites to shadowy blacks and greys, but Bellaire is up to the challenge. Her washes do not overwhelm Rios’ fine pencils/inking; instead, they imbue the book with a certain vibrancy completely unlike Dexter Soy’s heavy digital paints.
Buy it. The story is excellent. The art is stunning. This is one of the best books on the stands right now, and this is one of the best issues so far.