Captain Marvel 5 begins with the title character frantically searching for Tic, a member of her team that is searching for a way to save an entire species from possible extinction. The species has become sick from an unknown source, and the Spartex Empire is forcing them to relocate, leaving behind their ill. After Carol was attacked last issue, one must wonder what’s so valuable on Torfa that the Spartex Empire would relocate them so soon after giving them the planet and attack an Avenger. Much of this issue is spent revealing that information, and it’s fascinating.
Saying what has been found on Torfa would spoil most of this issue’s fun, so let’s just say that it would make the morally questionable Spartex Empire far more powerful than they should be. This whole storyline is a work of genius so far, questioning the very nature of Superhero comics with a problem that Captain Marvel can’t just punch into a solution. Dealing with the Torfa situation requires a bit of investigating and careful diplomacy. Even when the origin of the sickness is discovered, the solution still isn’t clear. What is clear is that this comic ends with Carol Danvers preparing to face a powerful invasion force. The final page, along with her declaration of war, is the best ending to a comic I’ve seen in a while.
The art by David Lopez is also great. It’s a mostly clean and simple look that’s bright and colourful, with the exception of the more gritty-looking scene that takes place underground. There’s a good variety of aliens and outfits on the planet of Torfa. But what really helps sell the story’s emotions are the facial expressions. As Carol starts to figure out what’s going on, you can see the wheels spinning in her head. The smug pride of the Spartex Emperor makes him more despicable, and Carol’s grinning anticipation for next issue’s fight adds even more to the excitement. The art and the writing work perfectly together, each conveying so much in so little time.
Kelly Sue DeConnick is now among my favourite writers. She’s a master at writing dialogue, and this arc has shown that she’s capable of building a story that simultaneously owns and challenges the superhero genre. It’s a fantastic series that should be read by any fans of the Marvel Universe.