Despite being one of the world’s strongest superheroes, there are some battles Captain Marvel cannot overcome with ease. Consequently, Carol Danvers has been taking some time off throughout the events of THE LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL to face the obstacles she left behind long ago. During this time though, Carol has endured a series of tragic events and has uncovered some long-kept secrets. THE LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #3 brings even more of those secrets to the surface as new villains, and allies, embark on Carol’s existential journey.

Margaret Stohl has showcased some excellent writing in this series. She has depicted a Carol Danvers many of us have never witnessed before. As a result, Stohl deconstructs one of the strongest Avengers and renders her a vulnerable, human figure.

Despite Carol’s powers, the ties to her family still tug at her and challenge her. Therefore, THE LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #3 is yet another intimate, raw work that flawlessly develops Carol Danvers’ character with an immense amount of depth.

the life of captain marvel #3
THE LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #3 page 2. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Sins of the Father

Much has transpired since Carol Danvers’ return home. First, her brother JJ endured a horrific car accident that nearly killed him. Thankfully, the events of the last issue featured JJ waking up from a coma and pursuing a positive recovery. Despite this optimistic outcome, Carol is still experiencing intense panic attacks.

Unfortunately, the revelation that her father cheated on her mother throughout her youth continues to haunt her. What haunts Carol even more, though, is that her mother was always aware of the affair.

Thus, it appears as though Carol’s home is a constant stressor. She never really seems to be at ease, partially because she never has control over anything that transpires at home.

Additionally, Carol comes to realize in THE LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #3 that many of her fond childhood memories were actually tarnished by her father’s transgressions. Therefore, she struggles to find a way to come to terms with her father’s mistakes and accepting the fact that her childhood was just never as it seemed.

Carol must accept that she cannot outrun the hauntings of her past nor can she just punch them far, far away.

In one particular sequence where Carol discusses her father’s infidelity with her mother, Carol experiences yet another panic attack. It causes her to fall into a pool of water, completely paralyzed. Fortunately, her mother saves her from drowning.

Yet, Carol cannot seem to fathom that her strength had failed to save her in a critical moment.

the life of captain marvel #3
THE LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #3 page 4. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Mother So Dear

Thus, another deconstructive aspect in this issue lies in the fact that Carol must mitigate her dependence on her abilities. She must define herself as a hero distinct from the powers that define Captain Marvel.

Now, as Carol faces her personal demons, a Kree soldier continues her hunt for Captain Marvel on Earth. At least we thought the soldier was hunting Carol. Upon the end of THE LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #3, we witness that soldier launching an attack on Carol’s hometown. When Carol goes to confront the soldier as Captain Marvel, she realizes that the soldier has actually not come for her.

Rather, Carol’s mother, dressed in Kree garb, claims that the soldier is here for her instead.

So, overall, THE LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #3 is a gripping installment in Stohl’s run. The ending is undoubtedly an unexpected, thrilling twist that sets up some pretty compelling arcs. It will be interesting to see what Carol’s mother’s role amongst the Kree is exactly and how that role will inevitably affect Captain Marvel herself.

This particular work furthers Carol’s humanization. Despite her epic powers, she is still a grounded character. Additionally, the events of this run are challenging her humanity even more. She is learning to affirm her identity outside of the Captain Marvel persona, and that makes for a compelling journey of self-searching.

the life of captain marvel #3
THE LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #3 page 6. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The Many Hues of THE LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #3

Though previous issues have maintained some fascinating artwork, I am not as impressed with that of THE LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #3. The images, from the coloring to the illustrations themselves, feel more muted than they have been before.

As a result, the settings fade into obscurity. There is not as much dimension in those settings, which establishes a static world. This static state awkwardly juxtaposes the richness the issue’s narrative provides Carol’s hometown with. Therefore, I would have liked to see more intricacy in the presentation of that setting.

With those faults being said, Carlos Pacheco’s work on the drowning sequence is certainly captivating. The image of Carol’s mother rescuing her daughter’s body is truly a powerful one.

Not only is Carol physically exhausted in this issue, but she is fighting a fierce battle within her own psyche. She is struggling to come to terms with matters of her past, and though she may not feel as though her family is helping, this particular image shows that they are trying.

What Lies Beyond

I may sound like a broken record as a critic, but THE LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL is a must-read.

This series has been an unapologetically genuine window into Carol Danvers as a human being and as a face behind one of the most iconic Marvel superheroes.

This story has allowed us to get to know Carol in an authentic way. As a result, we fall in love with her even more with each and every issue.

THE LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #3 by Margaret Stohl, Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz, Marcio Menyz, Marguerite Sauvage, & Clayton Cowles
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THE LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #3 excels once again as it deconstructs its titular hero in a raw, intimate way none of us have witnessed before.
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