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Comic Book / Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics)

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Mar-Vell and Carol Danvers

Captain Marvel is the name of several fictional superheroes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Most of these versions exist in Marvel's main shared universe, known as the Marvel Universe.

As seen in the Captain Marvel article, that name has been applied to various characters in American Comic Book history. This article is about the ones created by Marvel Comics.

During the 1960s, writer Stan Lee noticed that the name's trademark from the Fawcett Comics character was available again and decided that Marvel should own it (Marvel Comics, Captain Marvel... makes sense, right?). So he created a new superhero named that, one quite different from the previous ones. The new character first appeared in "Marvel Super-Heroes" #12 (December, 1967). Given the value of the name to DC and the utter obscurity of the Marvel version of the character (at least nowadays; he was big back in the 70's), you'd think Marvel would cash in and make a mint selling the name back to DC at an enormous profit... except for the fact that he's called "Captain Marvel" and they're called "Marvel Comics" and you just can't let that kind of synchronicity slip away from you.

This "Captain Marvel" was an alien (from the Kree, a race that looked exactly like humans except that most of them are blue). His name actually was Mar-Vell and he was a captain in the Kree army. He came to Earth as part of mission to investigate Earth's space technology achievements (later justified by saying that Earth was located near a strategically important space warp). Mar-Vell is sent to Earth while being monitored from orbit by the rest of his crew, which included his girlfriend Una and his superior, Colonel Yon-Rogg. Mar-Vell discovers he's the exact lookalike of an American senator, who has just been murdered, so he takes over his identity to further his mission.

However, it turns out that Yon-Rogg secretly hated Mar-Vell, mostly because he wanted Una for himself. So he tries to have Mar-Vell killed. This forces Marvel (who has Super-Strength due to coming from a planet with higher gravity) to fight openly while wearing his Kree uniform, which caused people to mistake him for a new superhero called "Captain Marvel". He also became a target of a larger power struggle within the Kree government.

The betrayal from his own people (and the eventual death of Una) leads Mar-Vell to adopt Earth (and the name Captain Marvel) as his own. He had a brief relationship with Carol Danvers, a NASA security agent, who later becomes a superhero herself (and eventually takes on the mantle of Captain Marvel). He gains new powers from an Earth scientist, and later, from The Supreme Intelligence, a supercomputer who is the Kree's true ruler. He also gained his more famous, red-and-blue costume from it.

For a period of time, Marvel found himself accidentally "merged" with teenage singer Rick Jones (the same kid who was involved in The Incredible Hulk's origin) so that only one of them could exist in the universe, with the other one stuck in the dimension called the Negative Zone until the one on Earth struck together his "nega-band" bracelets, causing them to switch places. Writer Roy Thomas has admitted that this was done as a nod to the original Captain Marvel, who was a child who could turn into an adult superhero. It was later revealed that this was The Plan of the Supreme Intelligence, who was really a Magnificent Bastard whose ultimate goal was to jumpstart the evolutionary potential of the Kree race via Rick Jones's genes. Eventually, Marvel finds a way to bring back Rick from the Zone and they resume their lives.

The "Captain Marvel" magazine lasted for 62 issues (May, 1968-May, 1979). Tragically, Marvel didn't live long after his series was cancelled. In a very rare case of a comic book character being Killed Off for Real, he died from a cancer he got from exposure to nerve gas during one of his adventures. His death was covered The Death Of Captain Marvel (Marvel Graphic Novel #1, April 1982, written and illustrated by Jim Starlin), and Mar-Vell's death is universally considered one of the most touching, well-written and dignified in the history of comics.

Despite his death having occurred over thirty years ago and him unusually staying dead (save for a brief return during Avengers vs. X-Men), he and his legacy still exert a powerful influence on the Marvel Universe today. His children Phyla-Vell, Genis-Vell, and Hulkling remain prominent supporting players.

And in an age when Jean Grey, Bucky Barnes, Gwen Stacy (sorta) and even Mar-Vell's enemy Thanos have all returned from the dead (and that's only sticking with examples within Marvel), Mar-Vell is still usually considered the last great symbol of death meaning something in comics (aside from Spider-Man's Uncle Ben). There have been a handful of stories where it seems like Mar-Vell has somehow returned to life, only for it to be revealed to be some kind of fake-out.

The Ultimate Galactus Trilogy, set in the Ultimate Marvel universe, featured an adaptation of Mar-Vell and the Kree that look more like Starfish Aliens than Human Aliens. The new design proved popular enough that it was also used in the animated series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Mar-Vell appears in the 2019 film Captain Marvel — which features Carol Danvers in the title role, not Mar-Vell — albeit with some significant changes.

    Bearers of the name 


Monica Rambeau

To keep the trademark over the character's name (especially given that DC Comics had since gained ownership of the original Captain Marvel character) Marvel Comics later created a new character who had nothing to do with the first, an African American cargo ship captain and harbor patrol lieutenant with the power to turn herself into Pure Energy. Monica first appeared in "Amazing Spider-Man Annual" #16 (1982), created by Roger Stern and John Romita, Jr. She would soon become a member of The Avengers.

Monica was regularly featured in "Avengers" vol. 1 #227-294 (January, 1983: August, 1988). With most of her appearances written by Roger Stern. She has had several subsequent appearances among their ranks, typically in storylines involving reserve members called back to action, not as one of the regulars. She also starred in two one-shot "Captain Marvel" publications, one in 1989 and the second in 1994. She has not been forgotten though as she has since had appearances as a member of Nextwave and the Marvel Divas, and was featured as a major character in the 2013 Mighty Avengers relaunch. She changes her codename a few times (the first two changes were as a direct result of Genis-Vell), most recently taking the name Spectrum.

Genis-Vell and Phyla-Vell

In "Silver Surfer Annual" #6 (1993), a new character, calling himself "Legacy" was introduced. Created by Ron Marz and Ron Lim. He was Genis-Vell, the son of Mar-Vell, created via cloning by Mar-Vell's last lover, Elysius, one of the Eternals of Titan (Saturn's largest moon). He would later take over his father's identity and become the new Captain Marvel, and starred in his own series. (Rambeau changed her name to Photon out of respect) He is best known for having gone insane (from being given the same omniscience power as his father) and becoming both a hero and a menace until his death.

Genis appared in "Captain Marvel" vol. 3 (1995-1996), vol. 4 (1999-2002), and vol. 5 (2002-2004). For a total of 66 issues, most of them written by Peter David. He then appeared as a member of the Thunderbolts. He was killed in "Thunderbolts" #100 (May, 2006).

An accidental change of history had previously resulting in his gaining a "sister", Phyla-Vell, who would also take over the Captain Marvel identity for a while. More recently, Mar-Vell has been revealed as the father of Hulkling of the Young Avengers, the result of a dalliance with a Skrull princess.


During the events of Civil War (2006), the original Mar-Vell reappeared, apparently having been accidentally transported from the past. He tried to fit in the present, knowing he would have to go back in time and die at some point... until it was revealed during the events of the Secret Invasion that he was actually a spy for the alien Skrull race (ironically the Kree's biggest enemies) named Khn'nr who had, like many other such sleeper agents, been brainwashed into thinking that he was the real Marvel. Still, he ends up embracing the Mar-Vell identity and becoming a true hero anyway. Before he died.


The torch was then briefly passed to Noh-Varr, a Kree Super-Soldier from another dimension (originally known as "Marvel Boy"). Although he declared war on Earth at first, he was encouraged by the Skrull Captain Marvel to fight the good fight. He was manipulated to become "Captain Marvel" in the Dark Avengers, but left when he saw the team for what it really was. For a while, he became Protector after contact with this Universe's Kree Supreme Intelligence, before deciding to drop the codenames in the Young Avengers, where he's simply Noh-Varr.

Carol Danvers

In July 2012, Carol got a new uniform and hairstyle (which varies depending on the artist interpretation on how her hair fits with the collapsible face mask/cowl), changed her name from Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel, and got a new ongoing book under that name, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick. Even though Carol Danvers had been depicted as a feminist superhero since the 1970s, DeConnick was the first woman to become a regular writer of her series. As of that run, Carol has been re-invented as a cosmic hero, the link between Marvel's Earth-based heroes and the Marvel cosmic universe, even briefly being a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy and The Ultimates (2015). She was one of the main characters of the Civil War II crossover.

In 2018, her origin story was retconned in The Life of Captain Marvel, in which it was revealed that Carol was half-Kree all along (gaining her alien genes from her mother Marie, AKA Mari-Ell, a former Kree Warrior) and the Psyche-Magnetron just awakened her Kree genetics. It was also revealed that her true Kree name is Car-Ell. It was followed by an ongoing comic by Kelly Thompson, which concluded in Summer 2023. Thompson's run is succeeded by Alyssa Wong.

Captain Marvel has appeared in the following works:

Captain Marvel Comic Books

Captain Marvel original and ongoing series

  • Captain Marvel (various runs):
    • Captain Marvel Vol. 1 (1968 — 1979)
    • Life of Captain Marvel Vol. 1
    • The Death of Captain Marvel
    • Captain Marvel Vol. 2 (1989 — 1994)
    • Captain Marvel Vol. 3 (1995 — 1996)
    • Untold Legend of Captain Marvel (1997)
    • Captain Marvel Vol. 4 (1999 — 2002)
    • Captain Marvel Vol. 5 (2002 — 2004)note 
    • Captain Marvel Vol. 6 (2008)
    • Captain Marvel Vol. 7 (2012 — 2014)
    • Captain Marvel Vol. 8 (2014 — 2015)
    • Captain Marvel Vol. 9 (2016 — 2017)
    • Mighty Captain Marvel (2017)
    • Life of Captain Marvel Vol. 2 (2018 — 2019)
    • Captain Marvel: Braver & Mightier (2019)
    • Captain Marvel Vol. 10 (2019 — 2023)
    • Captain Marvel Vol. 11 (2023 — Present)


Other Realities


Live-Action Film

Video Games

  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance (2006): Ms. Marvel is a playable character, with Sharon Ventura as one of her alternate costumes. Genis-Vell is playable in the PSP version, though he has few lines.
    • Sharon Ventura is a whole other story. A wrestler-turned-superhero and supporting character in the Fantastic Four books, she took the name Ms. Marvel in 1986 when Carol Danvers was in her Binary phase. She would later become the She-Thing in 1988.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (2009): Ms. Marvel returns as a playable character.
  • Marvel: Avengers Alliance (2012): Ms. Marvel is one of the recruitable heroes.
  • Marvel Heroes (2013): Carol Danvers was originally playable as Ms. Marvel, with her default costume (right costume above), her "masked" Captain Marvel was added as one of many alternate costumes. She was updated into Captain Marvel (same powers, new character name) with a new default costume being a "maskless" Captain Marvel costume (middle costume above) and her old "default" Ms. Marvel costume became a purchasable alternate. She also had an alternate "Captain Mar-Vell" costume, with a male voice actor, to replicate the original Captain Marvel.
  • Marvel Puzzle Quest (2013): Playable as both Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel.
  • LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (2013): Playable as Ms. Marvel.
  • Marvel: Contest of Champions (2014): Playable as both Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel.
  • Marvel Future Fight (2015): Playable as Captain Marvel, with a Ms. Marvel alternate costume later released.
  • Avengers Academy (2016)
  • Zen Pinball 2 (2016): Carol is featured on the A-Force table, as part of the "Women of Power" DLC pack.
  • LEGO Marvel's Avengers (2016): Playable as both Ms. Marvel and through DLC for Marvel's "Women of Power" initiative as Captain Marvel.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (2017): Playable as Captain Marvel.
  • LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 (2017): Playable as Captain Marvel.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order (2019): Carol as Captain Marvel returns as a playable character.

Western Animation

Captain Marvel provides examples of:

  • Abled in the Adaptation: The Ultimate version of Mar-Vell had all his run, including his death, without cancer being mentioned at all.
  • Aborted Arc: Before it was decided that the mysterious Captain Marvel who had been glimpsed during Civil War (2006) was the "returned" Mar-Vell (see Back from the Dead below), it was intended to be the recently introduced character Gravity, who had somehow been given the costume and the role of Earth's protector. One can only assume it would have eventually been revealed just who gave Gravity the costume and the job.
  • The Ace: Handsome, heroic, powerful, and possessing the willpower necessary to utilise Cosmic Awareness without being driven mad by the ability. In life and death, Mar-Vell won the respect of many of his universe's greatest heroes, some of its vilest villains, and a number of the sublime abstracts who lord above all.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The character in the Ultimate Marvel universe is called "Mahr Vehl", but the mispronuntiation as "Captain Marvel" stays the same.
  • Affectionate Parody: Peter David's run on the Genis version of Captain Marvel started as a tongue in cheek take on the superhero genre with a few Lampshade Hanging moments delivered by Rick Jones.
  • Affirmative-Action Legacy:
    • Monica Rambeau and Phyla-Vell. Carol Danvers claimed the title for herself, becoming the third to use the moniker.
    • The openly-gay Teddy Altman is the new Captain Marvel in the Bad Future seen in Avengers: The Children's Crusade.
  • Anti-Hero: Every Marvel Comics Captain Marvel is an anti hero in the abrasive, headstrong and violent manner, to some degree or another. Mar-Vell, Monica Rambeau and The skrull imposter were mostly by the book law enforcers turned order preserving vigilantes who would try to prevent escalating situations too far, but would fry a target dead if pushed to it. Genis-Vell was an utterly insane Terror Hero who once let a serial killer run unopposed to prove a point. Phyla-Vell was unambiguously heroic but more willing to kill than her father to the point she ended up regularly carrying a sword while on a mission from Oblivion to kill the avatar of life itself. Noh-Varr was a straight up fascist villain, but one who didn't realize what he was doing was wrong and was quick to make amends once it finally sank in he was the bad guy. Carol Danverse has extra helpings of Ironman level self loathing and alcoholism to mix this with classical antihero, but has twice pushed for extrajudicial sentencings and backed a movement to start a war to garner support for a proposed bill.
  • Arch-Enemy
    • The original Mar-Vell is often considered this to Thanos, and his cancerverse version retains this animosity. Before Thanos, the archenemy role was occupied by Colonel Yon-Rogg.
    • Monica Rambeau had two attempts to give her one in the forms of former Captain America/Incredible Hulk villain Moonstone, then in the form of woman claiming to be the granddaughter of Thanos named Nebula. Monica didn't stay in prominence long enough for either to stick, however.
    • Phyla-Vell set out to murder adopted daughter of Thanos Gamora before setting her sights on Adam Warlock's Evil Counterpart The Magus and then getting killed trying to stop Thanos.
  • Back from the Dead: Mar-Vell has been teased to be brought back to life several times. But never really has. At most his shade has been summoned for a chat with Thanos before being sent back to wherever it came from, and his living body has been brought back as a zombie to destroy The Avengers, Monica Rambeau in particular, be he never passed from undead to simply not dead and returned to fully dead.
  • Beware the Superman: A darkly comical version of this story played out in Genis-Vell's second run, partly driven by his deciding to become a Straw Nihilist.
  • Call to Adventure: Downplayed, as Mar-Vell and Monica Rambeau were already service officers, but Captain Mar-Vell never intended to be live a double life as a superhero, but just decided to roll with "Captain Marvel" after being stranded on Earth. Monica Rambeau didn't intend to be a superhero either, but was dubbed the second coming of Captain Marvel by news media, and again decided to roll with it.
  • Captain Superhero: A superhero named Captain Mar-Vell. He actually did hold a Kree military rank equivalent to captain before being exiled to Earth. Monica Rambeau was also a cargo ship captain, but she couldn't rise above the rank of lieutenant in the Harbor Patrol...though lieutenants are equivalent to captains in enough navies that no one would really know if she didn't make a stink about it.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The second half of Peter David's run. See Darker and Edgier below.
  • Cosmic Motifs: Stars tend to feature somewhere on the Captain Marvel costume. Genis-Vell tends to be the overachiever in most Captain Marvel tropes to the point he's gained the nicknames "Star Face" and "Space Face".
  • Darker and Edgier: About halfway through Genis's run under the name, his title was retooled from a comical series about the relatively earnest Genis to a dark series in which Genis became a Reality Warper with a god complex.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: For a time, Mar-Vell posed as a deceased scientist named Walter Lawson, and a Not Quite Dead Walter Lawson returned the favor in the 2019 series Marvel Team-Up.
  • Death Is Cheap: Notably averted, as Mar-Vell is pretty much the only major Marvel superhero who died and has never been resurrected. This is because everyone seems to agree it would be distasteful to reverse a memorable, touching, and realistically (for superhero comics) depicted cancer death.
  • Deadly Gas: Nitro's debut was him try to steal some for the Kree, only to be stopped by Mar-Vell — but the canister sprung a leak in the battle and while Mar-Vell did reseal it, the gas was also carcinogenic and resulted in the cancer that would kill Mar-Vell.
  • Disappeared Dad: Captain Marvel never met any of his children: Hulkling was kept by the Skrulls, and Genis and Phyla were created using his DNA after his death.
  • Distaff Counterpart: The more popular Ms. Marvel.
  • Downer Ending: Genis-Vell ends his adventure by experiencing an extreme bout of madness twice, has the whole galaxy hate and fear him, suffers torture at the hands of his family to pacify him by beating him and nearly tearing his limbs off, goes to see a future that only becomes more and more dystopian, watches his own future son get corrupted by The Magus who goes on to slaughter 5 star systems and threatened the whole galaxy to free his master, forced himself to erase his son in the timeline by promising to smother his son in the crib, watches Rick and Marlo leave him behind and later dies himself via interdimensional dismemberment due to meddling from Helmut Zemo that causes him to become a threat to the universe with few mourning his passing or remembering him at all. The only bright spot is Eulogy being proven wrong that Genis’ fans didn't want or need him anymore when the phone rings for Genis after he had left, implying there’s people who still want Genis even after his adventure is over.]]
  • End-of-Series Awareness: During Peter David's run, Rick Jones developed "comics awareness", becoming aware that he's in a comic book and that it's about to be cancelled. The final issue of the series is entirely about the fact that it's the final issue of the series.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Eon from Jim Starlin's run is a rare benevolent example, being far more on the eldritch side, barely resembling a floating head with reduplicative organs and a decidely inhuman thought process. All the same, Eon has done its best to understand Kree and help Mar-Vell best assist them, as well as prepare Mar-Vell against the threat of Thanos.
  • Evil Counterpart: A post-mortem one. In the Cancerverse, Mar-Vell made a pact with a pantheon of Eldritch Abominations on his deathbed. Not only did he live, he obliterated death in that universe and turned the Avengers into Lovecraftian horrors under his command.
  • Exact Words: In a case of a cover doing this, the cover to issue 34 of Mar-Vell's introduced Nitro and boasted he'd be "the man who killed Captain Marvel." It just didn't say when he'd die, as while Mar-Vell was still alive at the end of the issue, the events of it (more specifically, being exposed to the Deadly Gas Nitro was trying to steal) would indeed be the cause of the cancer that claimed Mar-Vell.
  • Fake Identity Baggage: When Mar-Vell first arrived on Earth as part of his investigation mission note , he discovered a crashed plane and the dead body of rocket scientist Walter Lawson. When Mar-Vell noticed his own resemblance to the deceased man and the fact he was en route to a military base that was one of the targets of their mission, Mar-Vell assumed Lawson's identity. He was able to use his own advanced knowledge of technology to aid in his deception (noting that compared to Kree technology, the tech Lawson was working on barely rated as advanced for Kree children). However, what Mar-Vell couldn't have known was that Walter Lawson was also involved with some very shady people, and was naturally caught off-guard when they came calling to demand "Lawson" complete his contract.
  • Fantastic Racism: Most Kree are blue-skinned, but some like Mar-Vell have pink skin (i.e., like that of northern Europeans) and are treated as inferior by the blue-skinned Kree. The extent to which this applies to Mar-Vell (and his status as a hero or a traitor to the Kree) depends on the writer.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: Rick Jones, long-time superhero sidekick, developed "comics awareness" as detailed in Captain Marvel #60.
  • A God Am I: Genis-Vell during his crazy period onced tresspassed into Asgard to prove he was God.
  • The Good Captain: Mar has always been unusually altruistic for a Kree military officer.
  • Graceful Loser: When he realises that there's no swaying Entropy from recreating the universe and thus subjecting him to the burden of cosmic awareness once again, Genis willingly helps the entity get started by shooting him in the head.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Prior to Seduction Of The Innocent and the resulting comics code Marvel Comics made a great deal of their money on romance stories, a legacy that can still be felt with the Captain Marvels in particular where romance and or sex tends to be a recurring topic, especially with Genis. The sole exception is Phyla, and only because Phyla is gay.
  • The Hedonist
    • Genis spent his life gambling and drinking booze before meeting Silver Surfer, who convinced him to continue his father's heroic legacy.
    • Carol Danvers developed a drinking problem until she realized she was no longer capable of reaching escape velocity and sought out help.
  • The Hero Dies: Mar-Vell's life ends in the self-titled The Death of Captain Marvel one-shot.
  • Hero Killer: Nitro's debut also is also the incident that'd cause Mar-Vell's death.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Mar-Vell's nega bands, which granted him many of his powers, also included a healing factor that kept the cancer that would eventually kill him in check. Unfortunately, the cancer eventually mutated to the point where the nega bands could no longer stop it, and made Mar-Vell reliant on them to the point he would die in a matter of hours without them. Worse, the mutated cancer was now linked to the nega bands, meaning that a cure would not only have to overcome the cancer itself but the bands as well. Unfortunately that led to Mar-Vell's death.
  • Hyper-Awareness: Cosmic Awareness eventually becomes the signature super power of 616 Captain Marvel, and every person who bares the title eventually develops some form of at least better than hamanly possible awareness. Mar-Vell had the original, purest intended form of cosmic awareness that made him privvy to events across time and space. Monica Rambeau had the ability to see in multiple spectrums of light that eventually developed into the ability to detect radio activity and all sorts of other phenomenon that affect the electro magnetic spectrum. Cosmic Awareness infmaously drove Genis-Vell insane. Phyla-Vell had general energy absorption abilities that eventually extended to energy detection that was then amplified by the quatum bands. Noh-Varr has been genetically altered to have the awareness of various insects, giving him the least impressive instance of this, but he's still far more aware of his surroundings than the average human, or kree. Carol Danvers of course has her "Seventh-Sense" which alerts her to danger even when her senses otherwise shouldn't. Even the Skrull Imposter of Marvel had a degree of it, though his was psionically Skrull based in nature. Even characters who are simply strongly associated with Mar-Vell like Silver Surfer end up with cosmic awareness, to the point it is paroidied with Rick Jones getting "Comics Awareness".
  • I Have Many Names: Multiple:
    • A common trait among those that take "Marvel" in their title, outside of the original Mar-Vell himself, is that they will eventually have to change their alias at some point.
    • Monica Rambeau's been hit with this so many times it's a running gag. She lost the Captain Marvel moniker to Genis-Vell, and took the name Photon. Then Genis-Vell changed his name to Photon, having forgotten that Monica was using it; so she changed her name to Pulsar. In at least one storyline she just went by Monica, but has since adopted the name Spectrum.
  • Killed Off for Real: One of the comic book examples that actually stays, unlike the other Cap.
  • Life Will Kill You: While the cause was mildly fantastic, his death from cancer was played realistically and affectingly, which may be related to his never having been resurrected.
  • Love Hurts: Mar-Vell lost his first love Una due to his own recklessness, and while he and Carol Danvers had a mutual attraction they were never really able to hash things out between them. He eventually found a new love in the Titan Elysium, to the point he semi-retired to the moon of Titan to be with her and they discussed having children. The cancer would put an end to those plans.
  • Military Super Hero: The Kree are a hyper militaristic empire and as a result every Captain Marvel has been some variation of this, except Phyla-Vell, with Monica Rambeau and Carol Danverse being the most mundane cases via the Harbor Patrol and Airforce. Gensis-Vell took the longest time to become a military figure but put the most effort into looking the part to the point he carried a redundant gun.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Mar-Vell receiving the Cosmic Awareness from Eon during the battle against Thanos. Before that, he received his more well-known blue and red uniform (previously having worn his Kree military uniform) from the Kree Supreme Intelligence as a reward for his help in thwarting a coup.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Phyla-Vell wants to kill Gamora for destroying the universe, even though the nature of Marvel's mutliverse means that that was a different universe with a different Gamora — not that 616 Gamora is totally innocent, but she was never that bad.
  • Mr. Fanservice: The point of No-Varr as a character was basically to be as sexual as a 13+ comic would allow a character to be depicted. Marvel decided to reverse course when Carol Danverse became Captain Marvel after him, even though she had been a consistent source of fanservice herself as Miss Marvel...if not as Binary.
  • My Greatest Failure: Mar-Vell never really forgave himself for Una's death, even when he found new loves. Part of this is because during the battle that eventually claimed her life she was badly wounded in the crossfire between the Kree under Colonel Yon-Rogg and a force of alien enemies Yon-Rogg lured in to kill Mar-Vell for him. An enraged Mar-Vell directly attacked Yon-Rogg before coming to his senses and desperately taking Una off the field, to the point he stole a rocket from the Earthlings who'd come to see him as a hero. Alas, she succumbed to her wounds en route to their orbiting spaceship where the advanced healing tech could've saved her. Mar-Vell would often wonder if he could've saved her if he hadn't been so blinded by rage.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Noh-Varr both to the Dark Avengers (he didn't even know he was in a team full of villains until Moonstone let it slip) and to the true Avengers.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: After rebooting the universe he destroyed with the help of Entropy, Genis was cured of his insanity after being subsumed by the lucid new version of him. Still haunted the spectre of his past failures, he chose to maintain a demented persona to ward off anyone expecting to much from him.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: The cover of The Death of Captain Marvel graphic novel, featuring the Grim Reaper holding the captain's body. Of all the examples of this trope it's the closest to a true imitation of the Michelangelo work, explicitly borrowing the pose of a sitting Mary with her son's body in her arms.
  • Punny Name: "Phyla-Vell" is a taxonomical pun off of "Genis-Vell" ("phylum" and "genus", respectively)
  • Rasputinian Death: Genis-Vell about a year after joining the Thunderbolts as resident Gamebreaker. Baron Zemo ends up cutting him into pieces and scattering those pieces across time itself to ensure Genis-Vell staid dead.
  • Really Gets Around: Musclebound and square-jawed with a crewcut, Genis-Vell is the only Captain Marvel thus far that has slept with women all across the galaxy. Helps that he's got a lot of swagger and charisma. This image really sells that.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: A variant: Rick Jones comes to Reed and the other superintelligent superheroes of the era and asks them to use their great minds to cure Mar-Vell's cancer. They come to the uncomfortable realization that they could have been doing that for everyone in the world the entire time. However, when their efforts fail to bear fruit in time to save Mar-Vell, they just stop trying. Nevermind that other people might be helped in the future, nope, it was "save Mar" or nothing.
  • Retool
    • The original series underwent a few as it struggled to find its identity. Mar-Vell went from alien stranded on Earth, to an alien taking missions from a secretly despotic Master Computer to an alien tasked with defending the universe by a Cosmic Entity that granted him Cosmic Awareness. The latter was Mar-Vell's best received run.
    • The original Genis-Vell run was a light, fairly low stakes, comedic affair, but got turned into a Mook Horror Show where the "mooks" were everything else living in the marvel universe, all at the mercy of what was functionally a Mad God.
  • Sanity Has Advantages: As a Kree, Genis had the ability to simply shutoff Moonstone's(Meteorite's) gravity stones even before he gained cosmic awareness, which should have let him identify the devices even sooner. But by the time they had any confrontations he was too detached from reality to settle on a simple solution.
  • Spider-Sense: Cosmic Awareness. Once appointed Protector of the Universe, Mar-Vell seems to control it well enough that whenever universal threats or changes occurr that relate to him he can but perceive them. When Genis takes the power on, it drives him crazy because he can't fully control it and keeps getting more information then he needs on possible outcomes.
  • Stranded Invader: The superhero Captain Mar-Vell was originally sent to Earth as a spy for the interstellar Kree Empire, but after he got caught on the wrong side of a Kree power struggle, he defected and adopted Earth as his new home.
  • Sucksessor: Those who have attempted to take on the Captain Marvel name after the original have all met with immense hardship with some even outright dying as they tried to live up to his daunting legacy while others simply suffer through the misfortune the title seems to bring.
  • Superheroes in Space: Most holders of the Captain Marvel title end up heavily involved in spaceborne and cosmic conflicts. Mar-Vell, Genis-Vell, Phyla-Vell, Noh-Var and the Skrull impersonator don't even originate on Earth, though they all end up making there way there and Carol Danverse started as Mar-Vell's side kick, joined the Star Jammers space pirate crew and even had the ability to traverse the solar system at will as Binary. Monica Rambeau is the one least suited to space travel and still ended up stranded far from Earth thanks to Nebula, and has been a member of a few "cosmic" teams thanks to the fact she still has Story-Breaker Power in her own ways.
  • Swap Teleportation: For a time, Captain Mar-Vell was trapped in the Negative Zone, and could only leave when Rick Jones struck together a pair of "Nega-Bands" he wore on his wrists, causing the two to switch places.
  • Time Travel Escape: Mar-Vell's death has been sidestepped this way to bring him back without actually ressurecting him, but not really. This "time displaced" Captain Marvel was really a skrull imposter brainwashed to believe he was Captain Marvel until the Skrulls wanted him to strike.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Noh-Varr among his original crew who embodied the very best of the Kree's "zen facist" doctrine while he was a wrathful skeptic they were trying to turn around into being a hero like them. Him being their ship's sole survivor winds up being a major headache for just about everybody during his series.
  • The Topic of Cancer: Possibly the classic Marvel Comics example: the death of Captain Mar-Vell.
  • Totally Radical: Genis's characterisation in the nineties was to be as "hip" as possible, right down to his speach patterns.
  • Twofer Token Minority:
    • The second Captain Marvel, a black woman named Monica Rambeau. Done as a pretty earnest attempt to create a strong Twofer superhero.
    • Phyla counts as on as well, being a lesbian.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The omniscience afforded by Cosmic Awareness has some serious downsides to those who possess it after Mar-Vell himself.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • This is part of the reason Earth became a battlefield between various spacefaring empires. Mar-Vell was sent as part of a team to investigate Earth after the defeats of both a Skrull Sentry and Ronan the Accuser at the hands of the Fantastic Four. The Skrull Empire wondered why such a valiant and decorated war hero would be sent to such a backwards world and decided to investigate by sending in the Super-Skrull. After Mar-Vell defeated the Super-Skrull, the Skrull Empire decided that if the Kree Empire sent someone of Mar-Vell's stature to protect Earth, it must be valuable.
    • Later on, the news of Captain Mar-Vell's impending death due to cancer was described as causing mixed feelings among the Skrulls, their happiness at his death being tempered with disappointment and sadness that so great a warrior would die in a sickbed instead of in battle (ideally with the Skrulls themselves). The Skrull Empire eventually sent one of their top generals to visit Mar-Vell and present him with the highest decoration of the Skrull Empire, praising him for his courage and skill before wishing him a swift death and great rewards in the afterlife.
    • Thanos considered Captain Mar-Vell to be this, to the point that he decided to welcome Mar-Vell into death's embrace personally. Later on during the Infinity War, he described Quasar (who had inherited Mar-Vell's role of protector of the universe) as a poor replacement to Mar-Vell. During one of his other brushes with ultimate power Thanos even briefly resurrected Mar-Vell to speak to him, and after the conversation when Mar-Vell asked to be allowed to return to his rest Thanos let him go.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: The reason why Marvel Comics makes sure to publish a comic with a character named Captain Marvel in it at least once every few years.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Captain Mar Vell


Go Binary

With the "Go Binary" skill, Captain Marvel gains a powerful attack boost and a measure of invulnerability.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / SuperMode

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