CBR (ComicBookResource) has pulled out all the stops this time. With the SHAZAM! and Captain Marvel movies in post-production and news items coming out every day, they posted an article that "ranks" 20 different Captain Marvels.
This list is interesting for several reasons.
1. They combine all versions of the original Captain Marvel into one.
This enables these characters not to load up the list of course, but it also, then, counts the original Fawcett version (where the hero and the boy, Billy Batson, have different personalities) with the "New Beginning" version (where they have the same enthusiastic, youthful personality) with Jerry Ordway's "Power of SHAZAM!" version (in which Billy, as the hero for the first time, got all upset that he was made old and attacked the Old Wizard). I consider there to be enough differences between these and the other versions of the hero that DC has created by the name "Captain Marvel" that they should be considered separately in "rankings" like this. But then, there are space limitations, so CBR had to make some cuts somewhere, I'm sure.
2. They pull some really obscure Captain Marvels out that even I have not heard of.
I had apparently missed the "Age of Ultron" Marvel crossover event in 2013 and did not know that Janet Van Dyne (The Wasp) was Captain Marvel in an alternate timeline. I don't follow the Fantastic Four, generally, so I was not aware that in the alternate future of "Fantastic Four: The End" a character named Ayesha was Captain Marvel. Marvel's Mangaverse is a foreign animal to me, so their Captain Marvel (who was Marvin Elwood, the son of Mar-Vell and Carol Danvers) was equally foreign (and where the heck did they get the name "Marvin Elwood?").
3. They acknowledge some of the lesser-seen Captain Marvels of which I was at least aware.
The Amalgam Captain Marvel combining Marvel and DC CMs only appeared in a few pages of Amalgam comics. Teddy ("Hulkling") Altman, son of Mar-Vell and a Skrull princess, was a Captain Marvel in a future timeline. "The Captain" of Nextwave (not their leader, but a superpowered guy who went by that name) said, in one panel, that he had tried the name "Captain Marvel." That these brief appearances did not escape CBR's notice impresses me.
4. They missed a few.
In "Power of Shazam," Jerry Ordway wrote a story in which Dr. Sivana created an alternate timeline in which Billy Batson's parents were not killed. Thus, Billy and Mary never became Captain Marvels, but their mom and dad each did. I won't spoil it for you but there was some quality emotional drama. It was also the first appearance of a female "SHAZAM!" Captain Marvel in a white dress/costume. This white outfit became Mary's costume when the timeline went back to normal with not a comment made. This enabled the three lead members of the Marvel Family to be red, white, and blue.
In the big, epic, trilogy of 12-issue limited series' Earth X/Universe X/Paradise X, Captain Mar-Vell appeared both as a small child and as dead, and the leader of an army of dead Kree warriors. I consider these to be different characters, being as it is a different timeline or something.
5. They give Monica Rambeau some respect.
Marvel's second Captain Marvel (and the only one of them that has no connection to Mar-Vell) is listed as #4, after the Billy Batson, Carol Danvers, and Mar-Vell. In my opinion, she was a better "feminist superhero" than Carol Danvers' Ms. Marvel, because she was smart, professional, and did not need to have either her race or gender reflected in her name. There is nothing wrong with being proud or making a statement of one's race or gender, but it should be an optional thing, not one forced upon a character to highlight that aspect of them. She became leader of the avengers and did not have to go through any symbolic schizophrenic split personality drama. She never got her own title except for two one-shots in the early 1990's, and after she was dropped as leader of the Avengers she was barely ever seen, except in a niche supporting role.
Here is a part of a lecture I give regularly in which I talk about Monica Rambeau:
All things considered, the ranking is not very much beyond what I would have given. What do you think?
And if you are not confused yet, here is a broad history of MY 20 Captain Marvels...
What do you think? How would you rank the Captain Marvels? Post YOUR top 20 below!