The 21st movie of the colossal Marvel Cinematic Universe witnessed its one of the strongest heroes, if not the strongest, in the form of Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel. Earning over $1 billion dollars, Captain Marvel is the latest entrant to the multitude of superheroes in the MCU, who became a big favorite for her conflicted past and her envious powers. In Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel plays a vital role in saving humanity against the Mad Titan Thanos, earning her a top spot among our favorite Marvel superheroes. But since its inception, Captain Marvel has gone through a variety of changes, from different characters donning the suit from different universes, and even, from the rival DC comics too.
As the original six Avengers of the MCU hang their capes after eleven years of protecting and avenging, let’s dive deep into the history of Captain Marvel and how they rank against each other.
Best known as Photon who is a member of the Thunderbolts, Genis-Vell didn’t have an origin story of a superhero to begin with. Created from the genetic material of the original Mar-Vell, Elysius created him to fill the void after Mar-Vell’s death, her ex-lover. With the genetic structure of Mar-Vell, an exceptionally powerful Kree warrior and Elysius, who had god-like powers, Genis-Vell’s powers knew no bounds and his hubris made him commit some horrific acts over the years. But after gaining back his sanity, Genis-Vell became a hero and took up the name Photon to be a part of the Thunderbolts.
Another offspring of Mar-Vell, Phyla-Vell is more popularly known as Martyr who has also taken up the mantle of Captain Marvel for a brief period. After the destruction and the subsequent re-creation of the universe by Genis-Vell, Phyla-Vell was the new Captain Marvel of the newly created universe. Though she has a lower cosmic awareness when compared to her brothers, Phyla-Vell helped Genis-Vell regain his sanity, post which she became Quasar.
In the most coveted Civil War storyline of Marvel it turned out that one of the best Captain Marvels was from the Krees’ archenemy, the Skrulls. Khn’nr was a shapeshifting Skrull who was bonded with Mar-Vell with DNA to give him Mar-Vell’s appearance and replicate the powerful Nega bands of Kree. Despite being a sleeper agent for the Skrulls, Mar-Vell’s memories became dominant when he was activated to support the invading Skrull army in the Civil War storyline. The dominant Mar-Vell memory along with his own sense of morality led him to support the Earth’s superhero faction against the invading Skrull army.
In the Ultimate Marvel Universe, Mahr Vehl is the original Captain Marvel, like Mar-Vell. As a Kree spy, Mahr Vehl is stationed in Earth to aid the invading Kree army, but in turn, grows a fondness for the planet and humans. As the Kree army approaches to invade Earth, Mahr Vehl fights for Earth and ultimately dies a hero by fighting Gah Lak Tus.
In the amalgam comics where DC and Marvel joined forces to create new characters by morphing two existing characters, Billy Mar-Vell becomes Captain Marvel. An amalgamation of Billy Batson and Mar-Vell, Billy Mar-Vell dons a similar suit that of Mar-Vell and has a lightning symbol on his chest. As a creation of two worlds, Billy Mar-Vell transforms into his superhero form by shouting ‘KREE’ instead of ‘SHAZAM!’.
In an alternate timeline, Noh-Varr belongs to the Kree race whose DNA is mixed with that of a cockroach which gives him insect-like powers, thanks to the avant-garde creative heads behind the creation of the character, Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones. Upon reaching Earth, Noh-Varr decides to attack the planet but instead gets overpowered and ultimately imprisoned by Norman Osborn. After the events of Secret Invasion by the Skrulls, Norman Osborn turns to a hero and frees Noh-Varr to take up the mantle of Captain Marvel. The stint is short lived as Noh-Varr becomes Marvel Boy and joins the Young Avengers.
Before Carol Danvers became Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau took up the mantle after the death of Mar-Vell. In the recently released movie, there is a reference to the existence of this version of Captain Marvel as Monica is the daughter of Carol’s closest friend Maria. Though most of the previously existing Captain Marvels have had some connection with the Kree, Monica Rambeau has no resemblance to the Kree physiology. As Captain Marvel, she can manipulate any form of energy to create weapons out of them.
The original Captain Marvel who started it all in the Marvel Universe. As a Kree spy, he was stationed in Earth to aid the invading Kree forces. But with years, Mar-Vell grew fond of Earth and its inhabitants which led him to fight his own Kree soldier Yon-Rogg to protect Earth. On Earth, Mar-Vell is a disguised NASA scientist who specializes in Earth’s defense systems against alien races. One distinguishing factor of Mar-Vell from most superheroes is his untimely death, which didn’t happen while fighting a supervillain, but his life long battle with cancer.
After gaining her powers directly from Mar-Vell after an airplane blast, Carol was taken under the tutelage of Mar-Vell to control her powers. After the death of Mar-Vell, Carol Danvers becomes devastated and does not take up the mantle of Captain Marvel for a long time. After being persuaded by Captain America to honour Mar-Vell’s legacy by taking up the mantle, Carol ultimately becomes the best version of Captain Marvel from Ms. Marvel. Originally an air-force pilot, Danvers gains the Kree powers from Mar-Vell due to a blast. Regarded as one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe, she is Earth’s one of the finest Avengers.
The authentic Captain Marvel who was created long before Marvel’s Captain Marvel. Billy Batson is a child who mysteriously gains powers of Captain Marvel from a wizard. Blessed with the Wisdom of Solomon, the Strength of Hercules, the Stamina of Atlas, the Power of Zeus, the Courage of Achilles, and the Speed of Mercury, Billy Batson speaks the word SHAZAM! to transform into Captain Marvel. In later storylines, Billy’s friends are also granted the power of SHAZAM! with some additional changes. As the first Captain Marvel, his powers can rival that of Wonder Woman and Superman.