WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Life of Captain Marvel #4 by Margaret Stohl, Carlos Pacheco, Erica D'Urso and Julian Totino Tedesco, on sale now.
The Life of Captain Marvel #3 teased Carol Danvers’ new origin story, but this week’s issue has gone ahead and confirmed much of what readers suspected -- Carol Danvers’ powers are not the result of a freak accident that fused her DNA with that of the Kree. Rather, she has been Kree all along, and her powers are a matter of heritage.
Interestingly, the issue explains all of this by revealing the origin of Carol’s mother, who is actually a Kree warrior. Carol’s mother, Marie, revealed her true nature to her daughter at the end of Issue #3, but it’s only now that we’ve come to understand exactly what she’s doing on Earth and why her two children, the last people she has left in the world, had no idea about her secret identity.
Along the way, we learn a little more about Carol’s story, her father and the mysterious Kree clone that has been dispatched to the sleepy Maine town to deal with Carol and Marie. While the issue is almost exclusively about Marie, her story reveals massive shifts in Captain Marvel canon, including how Carol got her powers, but also branching out into what the character’s origin story says about her and her creators.
To start off, Marie Danvers (or should we say Mari-Ell) is not from this world -- obviously. The end of Issue #3 saw Marie shrug off her human disguise as a pleasant New England mom and reveal herself to be a powerful Kree warrior. Apparently, that isn’t even half the story. When she was among her people on the Kree homeworld of Hala, Marie was good. One of the best. The issue kicks off by revealing that, in her prime, Marie consistently received top marks among her Kree compatriots, eventually earning the right to travel to Earth and do what Kree warriors do best -- look for a war.
One of the first people Marie meets when she arrives on Earth is Joe Danvers, the man who would eventually become Carol’s father. Marie uses Joe to blend in, but eventually she begins to develop genuine feelings for him. Those feelings turn into a relationship, which turns into a marriage and a pregnancy. All of this causes Marie to realize she’s not going home, and that her fraternization with “the enemy” has become a problem. So, she and Joe go off the Kree grid, pack up shop and get outta Dodge.
For years, it has been Marvel canon that Carol got her powers from a device called the Psyche-Magnitron, which went off during an ill-fated adventure with the original Captain Marvel, Mar-Vell, in Captain Marvel #18. Now, it has been revealed that the device might have had some effect on Carol, but it didn’t do anything as crazy as change her DNA. Instead, Carol’s powers were “activated” by the ordeal, triggering a “Kree defense mechanism.” As Marie says of Carol’s powers, “Not borrowed. Not a gift. Not an accident.” So, Carol’s Kree abilities are the result of her genuine Kree origins, not a strange little device in the footnote of Marvel Comics lore.