In a few weeks, Carol Danvers is going to turn into a household name when Marvel Studios releases the MCU's 21st superhero film, Captain Marvel. But before audiences watch Carol smash in some Skrull skulls, they may need to take a step back and figure out a few things. Most importantly, who is Captain Marvel and what makes her so marvelous?
Carol Danvers is being described by Kevin Feige as the strongest hero in the MCU, which may strike some as a little intense. After all, Marvel has Thor, Scarlet Witch, and Vision -- all incredibly powerful characters. What is it about Captain Marvel's powers that sets the first leading lady of the MCU ahead of Gods, Messiahs, and Masters of Sorcery?
7. Where Do Her Powers Come From?
Carol Danvers first gained her powers after coming in contact with the original Captain Marvel, Mar-Vell, a Kree warrior with incredible cosmic power. At this time, Carol Danvers was an officer in the United States military. During one of Mar-Vell's battles, Danvers finds herself in the crossfire when a Kree device blows up in her face.4
The device in question is what's called a Psyche-Magnatron. It's quite a weird name, but what it did to Carol Danvers is even weirder. The energies within the device blended Carol and Mar-Vell's bodies on a physical level. Kree genetics melded with Danvers' body, effectively turning her into a human-Kree hybrid. This grants her all the powers of the original Captain Marvel -- and all of Captain Marvel's powers. She took on the alias Ms. Marvel, and fought alongside the Avengers and X-Men over her years of adventure.
While the film Captain Marvel has yet to come out, it appears that a similar origin will be incorporated, as it is clear that the film version of Carol Danvers will have Kree DNA infuse into her system.
PREVIOUSLY: Every Captain Marvel Ever, Officially Ranked
6. The Powers Of Ms. Marvel
Before she became Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel had all the powers of Mar-Vell. She could fly, survive the most fearsome of impacts, and survive most toxins and poisons. In essence, the abilities of the Kree. However, she had Mar-Vell's increased strength and speed, putting her above most ordinary Kree.
That also said, while Ms. Marvel possessed super strength, she could not control energy blasts as she can today. And, while she possessed incredible physical power, Ms. Marvel's powers could not protect her from mental assaults. Infamously, in Avengers #200, an alien psychically manipulated Carol Danvers, forcing her to mate with him, and, in turn, impregnating her. The story is an infamous example of gratuitous sexual violence in comics. This incident -- and her teammate's surprisingly nonchalant reaction to it -- led to Carol Danvers abandoning the Avengers and working alongside the X-Men.
5. A Work In Progress
However, if you've seen the trailer for Captain Marvel, you may be asking yourself "Hey, I thought Captain Marvel's powers included her throwing energy blasts and stuff. Did you forget about the energy blasts?" Well, I'm glad you asked that, you pedantic audience member, you. Because there's a reason I didn't mention Carol's energy abilities.
She couldn't do that.
Not yet, anyway.
But where did Carol Danvers gain the powers of energy if not from Captain Marvel himself? Well, funny thing about gaining new powers. Very often...to get something, you have to lose everything first.
PREVIOUSLY: Who's Marvel's Most Badass Female Character?
4. The Rogue Incident
During the '80s, during an adventure with the X-Men, Carol Danvers encountered the mutant Rogue. Rogue's mutant ability allows her to absorb the essence of anyone she touches. As almost anyone who has ever watched a superhero movie or read a comic book knows, the longer Rogue touches someone, the more powers she absorbs.
So when Rogue encountered Ms. Marvel, Rogue touched her, and something happened. Carol Danvers' abilities were permanently stripped from her. Rogue permanently gained Carol's incredible strength and ability to fly, as well as her near indestructible flesh. While Rogue suffered from a fragment of Carol Danvers' personality in her head for some time, Carol lost the power to become Ms. Marvel.
3. No More Captain Marvel?
To make things worse, at this point, the original Captain Marvel had died of cancer, leaving the Marvel Universe without a Captain Marvel. That is until Monica Rambeau came along, being the second Captain Marvel, and, in a progressive twist, the first woman of color to occupy the mantle.
During this time, Carol was (for a while) comatose following Rogue's power drain or in a depressed state, all without the powers that had defined her life for so long. It is truly depressing reading what she went through, and, honestly, I'm hoping Marvel ignores all of this when bringing her to the big screen.
Because, it turns out, the best still laid ahead for our future Captain Marvel and her powers.
2. Binary, Woman With The Powers Of A White Hole
Many people are aware that Carol Danvers is Captain Marvel. A few are less familiar with her days as Ms. Marvel. But Carol Danvers actually had several names over the years, two of which being Binary and Warbird. Each of these defined very different stages of Carol's life -- and, in turn, different sorts of powers and abilities she possessed.
Despite being powerless, Carol Danvers still traveled with the X-Men, going on adventures. During one space adventure, Carol was captured by the Brood, a hideous race of aliens known for shapeshifting and other hive-mind antics that plague humanity -- you get the drill.
So they experimented on Carol, linking her essence to a White Hole. A White Hole is the composite opposite of a Black Hole. While a Black Hole sucks everything in, White Holes radiate everything out. As such, Carol became linked to an incredible source of power, granting her the ability to absorb and emit vast quantities of energy. And when I mean vast, I mean world-destroying vastness.
1. Depowered Again -- Kinda?
Taking the name Binary, Carol Danvers -- with her newfound powers -- would go on many a cosmic adventure until the events of Operation: Galactic Storm. This storyline featured a conflict between the Shi'ar Empire and the Kree that destabilizes the Earth's sun. The Avengers unite several factions of heroes in order to resolve the conflict and save their solar system, which puts Danvers right in conflict again with her Kree ancestry.
By the end of the event, Carol loses her connection with the White Hole, but also regains her Kree powers. However, she still could absorb and release energy, albeit at a far smaller scale. Now, she takes on the mantle of Warbird, since she has changed her powers yet again, and joins the Avengers.
After all this, you'd think Carol would just have a good time with her powers and all that. But, uh, let's just ignore that period in her life where she was an alcoholic, disgraced herself from the Avengers, and had to get reunited with her assaulter again, because, uh, yeah. Comics have NOT been kind to Carol Danvers.
In fact, it's only after the House of M storyline that Carol returns to the mantle of Ms. Marvel and, eventually, Captain Marvel. She sees a version of herself that is Captain Marvel in an alternate universe of the Scarlet Witch's invention. Here, she realizes her potential as a hero, which helps drag herself out of her awful depression and into the light, where she can once again be the hero she always needed to be.