Captain Marvel #13 – DeConnick & Hepburn/Sandoval

Captain-Marvel_13I know I’m a bit late with this one, but I’ve had a bit of a busy week. Having something go viral is a bit of a time sucker.

Anyway – Captain Marvel 13, part three of The Enemy Within. How is it?

I really liked the story, the way Kelly Sue managed to jam a bunch of characters into the one issue was really well done, and I commend her for it. Even so, I did get the feeling it had a bit of ‘middle child syndrome’ about it – it is the middle issue, after all – and as such, it’s not perfect.

For starters, the art is becoming a serious problem for me. Most of the issue is pencilled by Scott Hepburn, but there are two pages that were drawn by Gerardo Sandoval, which wouldn’t normally be that much of a big deal, if the art was pleasing.

Hepburn’s art still has me in two minds. Sometimes I really really like it – and I particularly enjoy the way he draws Jessica’s actions – but then there are points that I dislike it so much I want to scrub it off the page. Faces are a hard to look at at times, with everyone looking a strange mixture of pinched and pouty, which is head-scratchingly irritating. Having said that, his work with poses and movement is impressive, and I found myself flip-flopping between oh my god that’s gorgeous and ugh get it out of my eyeline now please.

Sandoval’s work on page fourteen is really rather unpleasant, mostly because his drawing of Cap is overly muscled (I’m talking Liefeld levels of ridiculousness here – one of his hands looks like it belongs on Hellboy), with ugly facial expressions, and an extreme macho feel that really doesn’t fit with the tone of the book. The supporting characters in these panels are nothing special, and over all, it makes the dialogue on the pages reasonably forgettable.

Story-wise, it’s solid. Some may be confused by the jumping about, but I quite liked it. The story could have otherwise been rather flat without the dynamic aspect of quick story shifts between panels. I particularly liked Spider-Woman and Hulk in the Everglades, even though it’s only over two pages.

There’s a lull in the over all Enemy Within storyline movement, and while there’s plenty of interesting dialogue and action, the actual plot doesn’t move forward much other than to finally bring the dramatic irony aspect to a conclusion.

As usual, the strength of Kelly Sue’s character driven story is what carries this issue. Her secondary characters are dynamic, funny, and a joy to read, and while the art was at times distracting, overall I did enjoy this book. There’s a great little hint at Wendy having a crush on Bruce, Tracey is brilliantly cranky as usual, and Carol is her normal endearingly altruistic self.

Seeing as The Enemy Within only has two parts to go, I’m excited for the next issue of Avengers Assemble, and am hoping that the mini-event doesn’t end with a whimper like Age of Ultron!