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Oh, and one heck of a spoilery cover...

Oh, and one heck of a spoilery cover…

Captain Marvel #15

Kelly Sue DeConnick and Jen Van Meter – Writers

Patrick Olliffe – Penciler

Drew Geraci – Inker

Andy Troy – Color Artist

Review by Joey Braccino

After the emotional and action-packed finale to the “Enemy Within” crossover with Avengers Assemble, Kelly Sue DeConnick’s acclaimed Captain Marvel series barrels right into the latest Marvel event, “Infinity,” with a stellar tie-in issue. And for those unfamiliar with “Infinity,” that “stellar” is totally intended to be a pun. Because the entire universe is involved in the high-stakes interstellar dogfight in Captain Marvel #15.

Fortunately, DeConnick manages to weave the very real repercussions of the “Enemy Within” storyline into this “Infinity” tie-in. At the end of the last issue (::spoilers for “Enemy Within”::), our eponymous heroine sacrificed a portion of her own brain to defeat the supervillain. As a result, she’s lost some memories and some bits of her identity. DeConnick makes the bold choice of holding on to this new status quo for this issue rather than pulling any “These Events Take Place Before…” shenanigans with the tie-in. The result is an excellent reflection on Carol Danvers as a broken person/natural warrior that produces high-octane drama to balance the high-octane action set-pieces.

DeConnick is joined on scripting duties by Hopeless Savages and Black Cats Jen Van Meter, and the two perfectly balance the abundance of explosions-in-space (the vast 95% of the issue) with strong characterization and fantastically numb narration from Captain Marvel herself. The story focuses on the Battle of the Corridor, which is a massive space dogfight featuring a team-up of the Avengers, the Skrulls, the Spartax, and the Shi’Ar taking on the entire fleet of Builders. And that’s about it. The entirety of the issue reads like the last act of Star Wars or Independence Day: non-stop interstellar explosions and teeth-gritting spacecraft maneuvering. The perfect setting for Captain Marvel elicits some perfect characterization for our eponymous heroine. Despite her loss of herself, Carol’s instincts and muscle memory kicks in and she is a complete and utter bad@$$ behind the stick in the Avengers quinjet. Her handling of the high conflict demonstrates her merits as a hero and warrior, and the narration provides the emotional grounding that makes Captain Marvel #15 more than just a sci-fi action tie-in.

Patrick Olliffe pencils are exquisite. To handle the dynamic space battle staging as well as the necessary character beats is a daunting task, but Olliffe is more than up to the challenge. For every explosion and impending black hole, Olliffe includes a wonderful inset featuring a smirking Clint Barton, a leery Spider-Woman, or a steely Carol Danvers. Drew Geraci’s inks follow Olliffe’s pencils perfectly, maintaining a high level of detail and dynamism. Andy Troy’s vibrant colors accentuate the firey reds and oranges against the deep blues and purples of space. It’s a lovely issue to look at.

Verdict

Buy. Even if you haven’t been reading Captain Marvel or Infinity, Captain Marvel #15 is an excellent sci-fi adventure in its own right. It’s a perfect jumping-on point for new readers to the main series as well as the perfect follow-up to the “Enemy Within” crossover that ended last issue. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Jen Van Meter and the art team deliver an interstellar dogfight that has high stakes, deep emotional resonance, and an incredible degree of heroism.

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