In our last episode, we saw how the original Captain Marvel was revived by DC. In the preceding episode, we met Captain Mar-Vell of the Kree space fleet and made passing reference to Carol Danvers. We now pick up Ms. Danvers' story...
Some of the sources for this history can be found in these fine products...
In a few months Brie Larsen will play the lead character in a movie titled Captain Marvel. This will be the second mainstream theatrical movie led by a female superhero, the first from Marvel. But she was not always Captain Marvel, and as we have seen, was not even Marvel's first Captain Marvel.
In a previous post, we saw how Carol Danvers was head of security at The Cape when the alien Kree Captain Mar-Vell first appeared in the form of Dr. Walter Lawson, and how she became a sort of "Lois Lane" between Lawson ("Clark Kent") and ("Mar-Vell").
As Mar-Vell's fortunes went awry, he went from being a hero to a security threat to The Cape, and Danvers' inability to apprehend him cost her her job. She later became a kidnap target of Colonel Yon-Rogg in his plot to exact revenge against Mar-Vell for foiling his dastardly plans.
In the course of this, she wound up in a cave with a Kree machine called a "psyche-magnitron" as Yon-Rogg and Mar-Vell battled it out. The machine exploded, and Mar-Vell chose to save "the girl" rather than his fellow Kree. Little did anyone know that this event would be ret-conned into the source of her future superpowers.
Years later (as time is measured by readers) Carol Danvers was hired as editor-in-chief of Woman magazine, a Daily Bugle publication. She fought to make it a progressive, empowering magazine as publisher J. Jonah Jameson insisted on it being filled with recipes, fashions, and housecleaning tips.
At this same time, Ms. Marvel made her first appearance, fighting bank robbers and other threats to law and safety. Strangely, she did not know who she really was, and ironically, she had blackout in her memory, and was never seen in the same place at the same time as Carol Danvers, who was having blackouts in her memory as well.
It turned out that these two people were one and the same; a split personality meant by writer Gerry Conway to be a parable for the conflict within the female identity between "equality" and "femininity." there was some critique of having a man write about a feminist character (although Conway's wife got "assisted by" credit) and after a few issues Chris Claremont took over the writing chores, despite the fact that he was also a man (and ever since almost every female character he has written has had some degree of intense inner conflict).
The scanty costume and impractical scarf also seemed incongruously un-feminist for a feminist superhero, and in time the costume was modified. Danvers' split personality was resolved. It was revealed that she got her powers through the radiation from the psyche-magnitron, and that her suit was a sort of exoskeleton. But eventually the powers became a part of her and she no longer needed that suit. She joined the Avengers. She changed her costume. She got fired from her job. Eventually, the Ms. Marvel comic was cancelled, and she was seen exclusively in the pages of the Avengers and occasional team-ups.
During her time with the Avengers, she was kidnapped into Limbo (that is, the literal extra-dimensional space called Limbo), mind-controlled, and impregnated (RAPED) by Marcus, the son of the supervillain Kang the Conqueror, so he could be born to her on Earth (yes it is confusing). This led to a messed-up situation where she went back to Limbo with Marcus, where he died of accelerated ageing (see the pages below), and she found her way back to Earth, where she was attacked by the young mutant named Rogue, who stole her powers and memory.
In time, and with the help of Professor Xavier of the X-Men, she gained back much of her memory. But, soon after, while in space with the mutant team she gained new powers and became "Binary."
We will return to this character after we visit that happened to some other Captain Marvels...and discover some new ones!
NEXT: Death and Energy!