OK, this could get confusing. And it’s all Marvel Comics’ fault! See, during the time DC was trying to take control of the character they once destroyed, namely Captain Marvel, Marvel Comics decided to create they’re own Captain Marvel “because WE’RE Marvel, dang it, we’re the ones who should have a character named Marvel”. And so Captain Mar-Vell was born. Unfortunately, nobody cared, but the damage had been done. DC was forced to name their comic after Billy’s magic word and the wizard who gave him his powers (as well as the acronym for which mythical characters (and two biblical historic figures–come on, you know I wasn’t letting that go) those powers were based on).

So it was that various Captains Marvel would pop up in Marvel Comics every time it looked liked DC would be able to give the hero’s name to the comic series. All of them forgettable. Now they’re trying again. This time, another Marvel is becoming the new Captain Marvel.

Things don’t bode well for our heroine.

Ignoring alternate universes, there have been 7 Captains Marvel, roughly. That’s just in Earth-616, the official universe of the mainline Marvel Universe. 7. Throw in the multiverse and What Ifs, and there are a whole lot more. How many do you remember?

Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell)

Image via Wikipedia

The first Marvel was…Mar-Vell. Yeah, you’d think they’d come up with something better, even back then. A Kree soldier with Caucasian skin color, Mar-Vell was sent to Earth as part of some long-run plan by the Kree Supreme Intelligence that would just take too long to discuss here. Superpowers would come later in his career, but as a Kree he was stronger than average humans and could fly thanks to the “nega-bands” which also allowed him to breath in space and switch dimensional places with Rick Jones, because he wasn’t sidekicking for anyone that week. He later died of space cancer or something.

Captain Marvel #1 (Giant-Size Special)

Monica Rambeau was the next Captain Marvel and was nothing at all like her Kree namesake because “who cares, we just have to flip the bird to DC until the next company crossover”. A New Orleans police officer, Rambeau gained superpowers “after being bombarded by extradimensional energy, produced by an energy disruptor weapon created by a criminal scientist” because Marvel Comics strives for having the more realistic universe. {shrugs} So how many ways can we screw her over?

  1. Takes the name “Photon” when Mar-Vell’s son wants his father’s title because that was a character people demanded. Someday I want to meet these mythical people and find out why they call for stupid things.
  2. When said son whom we will meet in a moment gained new powers he took on the name Photon because isn’t that what former Captains Marvel do? Monica wasn’t happy about it, but eventually took her current identity of Pulsar because why should anyone at Marvel Comics not want to mistreat one of their characters for no good reason?
  3. Pulsar would take command of the superhero team Nextwave and if I interpret her Marvel Database entry correctly proceeded to brag constantly about how she once led the Avengers. By the way, “The Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort, or H.A.T.E” was the name of Nextwave’s benefactor. That sounds like a STUPID acronym for an anti-terrorist group, and you can imagine how hard they worked to get that acronym, but I digress.
  4. Marvel Database also says “she had developed a penchant for shouting the names of her energy attacks”, which keeps making me think of Sailor Moon or Dragonball but I’m just going on what I’ve read.

Her teammate, “The Captain” would supposedly take on the name for a bit. Don’t know why, don’t care why. Moving on.

Captain Marvel #1 (2000)

The aforementioned jerk of a son is Genis-Vell, the son of Mar-Vell and his lover Elysius by way of science–you know, the unfun way to have babies. She also had him artificially aged (maybe she hated changing diapers) and she didn’t feel so alone anymore (as far as I know, not THAT way–although I don’t know if that would qualify as incest or…let’s just move on). Genis went a bit nuts thanks to…something. I don’t know, read the entry and see if you can figure it out. Then it just gets weirder because it’s comics.

I would discuss his sister, who took the title next, but her very existence makes little sense to me, and I need what few working brain cells I have left.

image source: Marvel Database wikia

The most recent Captain Marvel was Khn’nr, a Skrull that was altered as a sleeper agent for the Secret Invasion storyline but ended up “going native” because downloading another person’s memories is apparently harder than getting the latest version of Angry Birds for your smartphone. He talks some guy named Noh-Varr to take up the mantle, I don’t know, I’ve pretty much stop caring at this point.

Now we add Carol “Ms. Marvel” Danvers to the legacy because she hasn’t had a name change in a while (seriously, check her alias list; it’s like she’s competing with Hank Pym). I could go over all the torment she’s been put through–POW torture, giving birth to her own sexual stalker I wish I was kidding, is she or isn’t she dead, having her powers and her mind ripped out by a then-evil Rogue,various power and identity changes, alcoholism–as Marvel writers don’t seem to know what do with her. Kind of like the title of Captain Marvel really. All Marvel knows is that she has some fans left, no matter how hard the writers and editors try and they need to ensure that DC is stuck with calling Billy Batson “Shazam”. Because Marvel hates DC and hates you. But feel free to give them your money, they love your money.


About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

6 responses »

  1. […] Ms. Marvel’s Promotion (and its legacy) (bwmedia.wordpress.com) […]


  2. Tess says:

    Carol Danvers is a good character with good powers who has been saddled with a codename that made sense in the 70s but is outdated now. “Captain Marvel” is a memorable codename that has been attached to a bunch of weak characters ever since they killed off Mar-Vell.

    Hopefully, they can combine them and produce a good character with good powers and a memorable codename, and turn that into a popular character and successful title for the long term.


  3. […] Carol Danvers can’t produce a long-running Captain Marvel series, and Marvel has tried for decades, starting all the way back with the original Captain Mar-Vell, a Kree warrior who protected Earth […]


  4. […] over the full legacy of Marvel’s failed attempts to make something with the name that sticks, I wrote an article on it back when Carol first became Captain Marvel in the comics. Apparently after this Monica earned yet […]


  5. […] because I’m mostly apathetic. Carol Danvers I liked better as Warbird and making her the next in a series of Captains Marvel is just to keep DC from giving Billy Batson back his superhero name from his creation from before […]


  6. […] half-Kree, a secret kept from her. And yet she’s still taken on Mar-Vell’s hero name (one of many to do so) and keeps failing to keep a series of her own for more than a handful of […]


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