Captain Marvel died of cancer way back in Marvel Graphic Novel (No. 1) Death Of Captain Marvel. But during the events of Civil War, the pro-registration team set up a prison facility in the Negative Zone, and pulled Captain Marvel out of his time-line prior to his death, and asked him to take on the job of running the facility. See Civil War: The Return for the details.
As it turned out, running was Captain Marvel's strong point. He was pretty much bummed out by the fact that in order to preserve the continuity of the universe he would one day need to return to his original time-line and carry on with his death as planned. So he ran.
Our story opens with a TV anchorman summarizing the recent big-ticket super-hero events... Civil War, Death of Captain America, The Initiative, and World War Hulk. Amongst all these (he says), one story of great importance has gone quietly unnoticed by many. The return of Captain Marvel.
Flashback now to the crucial battle of the Civil War, as told in Civil War #7. Captain Mar-Vell is pulled in on the pro-registration side. Spider-Man yells at Iron Man for daring to tarnish the name of Captain Marvel by creating a clone of him too (as he did of Thor). But it's no clone, it's the real McCoy, shifted in time.
So let's shift in time ourselves, to current continuity. Let's also shift in space, to the Louvre museum in Paris. Captain Mar-Vell is staring at an old painting by Charles LeBrun, "Alexander in Babylon". The Kree have poor appreciation for art, but Mar-Vell seems to be tending a little human these days.
A villain turns up. No prizes for guessing, France has only a couple of villains, and this time it's Cyclone rather than Batroc the Leaper. Mar-Vell swaps into costume and defeats the Cyclone... perhaps fatally - it's not entirely clear. But it's convincing, that's for sure.
An hour later, Paris-based SHIELD agent Sante meets her contact at a cafe. Her contact is a psychic, and she hosts an in-mind conference-call between Sante and Tony Stark. Sante is to make contact with Mar-Vell.
Elsewhere, the Hala Brotherhood (a bunch of guys who dress up like Mar-Vell and worship him, lead by Mother Starr) are becoming active once more. Reporter Nathan Jefferson from the National Pulse is trying to speak with the Hala Brotherhood, but they don't want to talk.
Mar-Vell doesn't particularly want to talk either, when Agent Sante tracks him down. But he does eventually open up. Bits of his memory are missing, he says, and the painting seems important to him. Mar-Vell is understandably upset. The knowledge that one day he will die, weak and bed-ridden, is really messing with his mind.
But two days later, the Mighty Avengers are fighting a giant robot, and struggling. Help comes unexpected in the form of Captain Marvel, in costume, and ready to be a hero once more.
Spider-Man's role is pretty limited here, it's essentially a flashback, so that's entirely expected. What isn't so expected is how limited Captain Marvel's role feels in this comic. The entire story seems to lack any sort of sparkle or edge. Sure, it's professionally done - it tells the story just fine. But right at this moment I have no idea what the story is supposed to be, or why we care.
So far, everything seems totally lifeless. There's no real action - Mar-vell one-shotted the bad guys both time. The Hala Brotherhood is back, but the reporter who learned nothing, not even much hint of a mystery to whet our appetites. The SHIELD agent found Captain Marvell without any real problems, and persuaded him to return with very little effort.
Summary: No mysteries, no real conflict, no suspense. Not much of anything!
Captain Marvel is back, and he has a strange and powerful attachment to a painting in Paris. I'm assuming that there's more to this tale, so I'll do the decent thing and reserve my judgement for now. I'm gonna call this a cautious two-and-a-half webs.
But a five-issue limited series can't spend too much time setting the scene - I expect some real action next time.