This is the second week in a row where the Black Vortex crossover focuses on a single character in their solo series entry. Last week’s Cyclops 12 didn’t work all that well as a final issue for a solo series, and while it isn’t terrible, it’s the weakest issue in the crossover so far. It completely ignored the dark side of the artifact, and showed Cyclops, Iceman and Groot gaining cosmic power with no apparent consequences. Hopefully this week’s entry, Captain Marvel 14, can do better.
This issue kicks off with an internal narration, using the metaphor of a luxury car to compare it to the Black Vortex. It’s a metaphor that runs through the issue, adding a bit of extra depth to the artifact and its effect on whoever submits to it for cosmic power. Beyond that, this is pretty much a straight chase issue, with Captain Marvel trying to bring the artifact to Kitty Pryde so she can execute her plan. Unfortunately, she’s being chased by both Mr. Knife and cosmically upgraded Thane.
The action is intense, with Carol constantly dodging Thane’s cosmic powers while also dealing with Mr. Knife’s science-fiction weaponry. Even so, writer Kelly Sue DeConnick finds enough room to explore Carol’s thoughts on the artifact and fight the temptation of submitting to the vortex to become even more powerful than usual. That said, while DeConnick’s writing is great, it does little to stop Thane from being a boring, irredeemable villain.
David Lopez’s art is good. For the most part it’s a simpler look, and with most of this comic taking place in space, there isn’t much environmental detail besides the stars. Characters have plenty of detail at times though, whether it’s the sparkles flying from Carol’s hands when she fires off energy blasts or Thane’s amber ability flinging yellow chunks all over the place when Carol barely dodges it. He makes great use of motion blurs to emphasize movement. But what really works are the facial expressions, especially on the page where Carol seriously considers submitting to the black vortex.
By no means is this the best issue of Captain Marvel, and those who aren’t reading Black Vortex will be lost, but this is still a good comic and a strong entry for the Black Vortex crossover. It progresses the main plot enough to justify itself while also exploring Carol’s thoughts on the artifact in a compelling way. For that, this is worth picking up for anyone following the crossover. For those who aren’t, but are reading Captain Marvel, it might be worth skipping this one.