Captain Marvel #15
Writer – Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art – David Lopez
Color Art – Lee Loughridge
Letterer – VC’s Joe Caramagna
Review by Joey Braccino
Captain Marvel #15 is unabashedly, unapologetically personal in terms of content, context, and character. This entire series has essentially been a passion project for its breakthrough writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick, and this issue in particular showcases all the pain, pathos, and catharsis that such projects typically inhabit. The moving, heartwrenching letter at the end of the book just further cements the claim that Carol Danvers and Kelly Sue DeConnick are one.
After nearly a year of issues set in the farthest reaches of space, Captain Marvel #15 finally returns our eponymous heroine to Earth, but no homecoming is complete without a devastating emotional tragedy. I won’t get into specifics here, but (mild spoilers in the next sentence) Carol loses someone very, very close to her, and the rest of the issue essentially reads as a last will/retrospective for said character.
DeConnick’s strength on this book and with Carol Danvers isn’t necessarily linked to her punchiness or energy-blastiness or flightiness (though DeConnick works all three magically); her true strength with Captain Marvel has been her ability to sculpt distinct, sympathetic, real characters out of Danvers and her supporting cast. When tragic things occur, they only matter if we feel as though the characters matter. DeConnick gets these characters to matter, and in turn she gets us to care in spades. She does so through humor and through truth, and Captain Marvel #15 strikes the perfect balance between joy and sorrow and pain and celebration.
I think much of DeConnick’s success in capturing the trauma of this issue can be traced back to her own personal experience, which again she explains eloquently in the back-material here. I got a little verklempt reading the book itself, and then I got a lotta verklempt reading her short letter. The writer’s passion is just so wonderful, and it really reads on each and every page, back-material included.
David Lopez and Lee Loughridge have redefined and refined the look of Captain Marvel over the course of this second volume. Whereas we used to relish the eccentricity and boldness of Emma Rios and Dexter Soy and Filipe Andrade during the last run, now we are treated to the quieter, more dignified, more stoic, more elevated naturalism of Lopez and Loughridge. That isn’t to say we don’t still have the weirdness (Loughridge’s reliance on yellow in the color palette is at once fascinating and delightfully out-there), but there is definitely something more polished about Lopez’ work here. Captain Marvel #15 is filled with beautiful, moving images of love, of loss, and of friendship; Lopez and Loughridge nail every single one.
BUY. Read it, love it, read it again, maybe cry. Captain Marvel #15 is a beautiful, beautiful comic book, both literally and figuratively. Even if you haven’t been following along with the adventures of Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel #15 is the perfect example of the intersection of life and art, and the magical results of that combination. Kudos to Kelly Sue DeConnick and Company on a remarkable issue. Check it!