that60sguy's Captain Marvel #16 - Behind the Mask of Zo! review

This is why I read comics!

Let me begin with saying that when I started reading the Captain Marvel series, I already knew that the green and white uniformed Kree soldier would eventually turn into the red uniformed Protector of the Universe. Knowing this made the anticipation of when he will transform quite exciting. This issue is when it happens. Captain Marvel #16 is the first appearance of Mar-Vell as he would ultimately go on to be known (although personally I preferred the original costume).

Without delving too deeply into the plot summary, this story had almost everything I personally read comics for – action, suspense, plot twists, great dialogue, more plot twists, excellent characters and a surprise ending. There were some great action sequences from when Mar-Vell was struggling against Tam-Bor, the giant magnetic pagan deity, to his fight against Ronan the Accuser. One of the always interesting and almost invincible Kree Sentries also makes an appearance, but this time it’s the daddy of them all – the even bigger, even more invincible Super Sentry!

The last 8 issues have been building up to this story and boy does it deliver! There are a number of plot twists throughout. Like Mar-Vell being saved by a Kree Sentry, Ronan, the Imperial Minister and Yon-Rogg all turning out to be traitors when it was they who accused Mar-Vell of the same in the past, the transformation of Captain Mar-Vell and finally right at the very end when Mar-Vell gets trapped in the negative zone! Talk about getting your money’s worth! The dialogue, as usual for this series, is fantastic, “Though I honor your bravery, your sympathies for Earth make it impossible for you to ever advance beyond your present rank! Now and for all your life you shall be… CAPTAIN MAR-VELL!” – Supreme Intelligence.

The art wasn’t bad at all for a comic from 1969. In fact in most of the Captain Marvel issues they have tried to be experimental to make the series stand out more. This has led to somewhat of a psychedelic feel to a lot of issues and it’s somewhat evident here too (although much less than in some previous issues). Sure the drawings are extremely detailed but I found the light colours a bit too out of touch with the grim and serious storyline. There was also one part of the plot that seemed a little “convenient”. This is when the worshippers of Tam-Bor actually take Mar-Vell to their deity because their so confident Mar-Vell will be killed. Apart from this the story holds together really well.

Overall an excellent issue that really picks up the series. I enjoyed reading this comic so much at one point I had to actually stop reading to soak up the enjoyment! I would give it more than 5 stars if I could!

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