Avid comic collector & fan for nearly twenty years, Vic started collecting comics around eight years old. Comic investing since the 2000s.
As I've always said and believed, comic collecting and fandom is not just a boys club. Maybe it really never was, but if so, it isn't anymore. No one can deny the rise in female interest in comic books, or should I say, female comic fans being more open about it?
No doubt that comic book movies are bringing in all sorts of fans to the comic collecting hobby, and no matter what it was like before, interest in female comic characters are heating up. The Wonder Woman movie was an absolute game changer, and it is still the only successful female led comic movie to date.
However, the Captain Marvel movie, staring Brie Larsen, is Marvel's follow up to female super-heroes conquering the big screen or, at least, continuing the successful wave for them to star in big budget comic flicks. As a comic fan, I love the renewed interest and the new interest.
So, for all you fellow comic fanatics who are interested in learning more about this character from the actual comics before she hits the big screen, this is for you. Well, for me as well since I do like the character, so let's yap about Carol Danvers' humble beginnings as a supporting character to when she eventually stars in her own comic series as Ms. Marvel first.
This series of articles will eventually lead all the way to her becoming Captain Marvel.
Carol Danvers was created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan and was initially a supporting character for the original Captain Marvel of Marvel Comics. She debuted in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 as a former United States Air Force Officer and former CIA agent.
Even in her earlier years as a comic character, Carol Danvers defied stereo-types. As an Air Force officer, she was an ace fighter pilot and was a former CIA agent before she became head of security at the headquarters of NASA in Cape Canaveral. It is there she meets a one Dr. Walter Lawson, the human alias of the alien Kree agent named Mar-Vell. This super agent named Mar-Vell was secretly Captain Marvel and Danvers would share in his adventures.
Debut of Carol Danvers in Marvel Super-Heroes #13
Carol Danvers Becomes Ms. Marvel
While it was Roy Thomas and Gene Colan who originally created Carol Danvers as a non-powered supporting character for Marvel's Captain Marvel, it became evident that she could star in her own comic series as a super-hero herself. This time it would be Roy Thomas and Archie Goodwin who plotted the blonde bombshell's path to becoming Ms. Marvel.
From the mid to late seventies, things were changing for females in America. They were becoming more empowered and liberated. Much like how William Moulton Marston and his wife Elizabeth wanted the character of Wonder Woman to represent modern, liberated women some thirty-six or so years earlier, Marvel Comics during the later seventies wanted to do the same. Thus, Carol Danvers finally appeared as a female powered super-hero in her own titled series called Ms. Marvel.
Yes, she was the female spin-off of Captain Marvel and her debut as a super-powered being did not explain how she went from ordinary to super. Her origin as a super-hero was explained in the very next issue, and it referenced an event that happened in Captain Marvel #18.
The Origin of Ms. Marvel
As mentioned in the photo caption above, Captain Marvel #18 shows the event of Carol Danvers getting her powers but it does not explain how. What do I mean by that? Well, I mean, the event in Captain Marvel #18 does not reveal that the event actually gave her any powers.
Here's the event shown below:
In the story, that explosion is from a machine called a "Psyche-Magnetron", which is named in the very issue of Captain Marvel #18 (1969). The main villain of the issue, Yon-Rogg, mentions that the machine produces a "glow" that will give one who stands in it great or ultimate power.
As mentioned before, the machine blows up in the story and no mention of what happened except that "Carol Danvers will live" is mentioned. Nothing is revealed about that explosion until issue #2 of Ms. Marvel, which came out in 1977.
Panels below are from Ms. Marvel #2 and explains her origin of how that event first seen in Captain Marvel #18 gave her the powers to become Ms. Marvel.
The split personality or memory loss would be part of the Ms. Marvel character in her early comic career. Not sure when they got rid of that deal.
The All-New Ms. Marvel
Like most characters, Carol Danvers as Ms. Marvel got a new costume. This costume is actually her more iconic look and became a fan favorite look for the character.
Although the title states "The All-New Ms. Marvel" and even though sources say this is the first time she is seen in this costume, it is actually not. For some odd reason, she appears in this costume prior and in The Defenders #62 (Cover Date: August, 1978.)
Ms. Marvel #20 is cover dated October, 1978. Screen shots are from Mike's Amazing World of Comics and they have the Library of Congress copyright date information. They also have the newsstand date according to Comic Reader.
Ms. Marvel in The Defenders #62
The odd thing is that The Avengers #175 has the cover date of September, 1978 and the on sale date of June 27th (Comic Reader #157). With the on sale date of May 16th, The Defenders #62 came out before The Avengers #175, but the later shows Ms. Marvel in her prior costume.
Anyway, what is clear is that The Defenders #62 has the debut of Ms. Marvel in her iconic black costumed look. She would retake that look again, but we are getting ahead of ourselves a tad here.
Ms. Marvel Joins the Avengers
Here is a very over-looked Carol Danvers key issue. Well, maybe a Ms. Marvel key comic also? Carol Danvers is a known Avenger, and we all know that Carol Danvers will be in the MCU and will most likely be included in part two of the Avengers Infinity War movie.
In the actual and wonderful comics, Carol Danvers first joins the Avengers as Ms. Marvel and not as Captain Marvel. Good to know, right? The above photo is the wonderful cover to Avengers #183 by George Perez and Terry Austin.
Carol Danvers Loses Her Powers as Ms. Marvel
Carol Danvers as Ms. Marvel did not have a long running comic series. It only lasted 23 issues, and issue #25 was originally suppose to debut the X-Men character of Rogue. If you do not know, Rogue is deeply tied to Ms. Marvel in the comics as she apparently stole her powers and part of her psyche.
However, Ms. Marvel #25 never happened since the series was cancelled with issue #23 so the event of Rogue stealing Ms. Marvel's powers and psyche was never shown at the time. Instead, Carol Danvers' last appearance as Ms. Marvel during the 80s took place in the highly controversial Avengers #200, which has been dubbed the "Rape of Ms. Marvel" since she is pregnant by a character named Marcus without even knowing and gives birth in that issue. Their child would grow into another version of Marcus and he and Ms. Marvel would leave the Avengers and follow Marcus into Limbo at the end of that issue. Yes, it's a weird one.
Claremont undid this in Carol Danvers' next appearance around a year later in Avengers Annual #10, which saw Carol Danvers return to Earth in her human form. It is not shown but told that Rogue had attacked her and permanently stole her powers and memories, and the fan-favorite Rogue ended up debuting in Avengers Annual #10. It's revealed in that issue that Professor X restores Carol Danvers' memories and she has a falling out with the Avengers since they failed to realize that Marcus had brainwashed her.
Therefore, Carol Danvers would follow the X-Men and become a supporting character for the popular comic about Marvel's mutants.
Carol Danvers Super-Powered Again?
Even though Rogue had stolen Carol Danvers' Ms. Marvel powers and even her psyche, this does not mean that Carol would not be a powered character during the 80s. In fact, the character's tenure in the X-Men comics would see her venture off into space during one adventure and meet an alien race known as the Brood.
This would lead her to become another super-powered being. That will be covered in the next segment of this series that will see Carol Danvers become Binary and then Warbird.
For those who have read my stuff before, you know how I do. Before Carol Danvers becomes Binary, Uncanny X-Men #163 has her captured by the Brood and subjected to some kind of modification.
After being rescued by Wolverine, it is hinted that she is quite different, and whatever the Brood did, she is altered into something else. Panels are above, and in the next issue, it's revealed what that treatment did to our hero.
Yes, it's in this issue where Carol Danvers would become the super-powered being called Binary. Her powers? Well, she could draw upon the white hole or basically the power of a star.
Why is this a big deal for Carol Danvers? Well, she would retain her Binary powers on a smaller scale after she becomes Captain Marvel, so it is a somewhat significant turn of events for the character.
Once again, she starts to feel odd and refers back to the weird treatment the Brood gave her in issue #163 just before she becomes Binary in Uncanny X-Men #164.
As Binary, Carol Danvers would have some adventures with the X-Men, but once again, the character of Rogue would alter the course of her life. Carol left the X-Men after Rogue was admitted to the team in Uncanny X-Men #171.
She would then have space adventures with the Starjammers and make sporadic appearances throughout the 80s and most of the 90s.
The Siege Perilous
Shortly after the Fall of the Mutants story line, an artifact known as the Siege Perilous is given to the X-Men. This mystical and magical artifact's powers is explained in the panels below.
Around this time, Carol Danvers' persona began to manifest in Rogue. The physical Carol Danvers was still in space a long side the Starjammers. I know, and, yes, it's confusing.
When Mastermold and Nimrod merged together and battled the X-Men, Dazzler used the Siege Perilous to try to suck the Sentinel inside it. In the end, Rogue tried to push the mutant killer in, was captured, and Dazzler had to blast both of them.
Rogue was sucked into the Siege Perilous, and Carol Danvers' persona was created as a separate entity. Rogue ended up reborn in the Savage Land with Magneto and Carol ended up on Muir Island. Under the control of the Shadow King and because she was decomposing as there was only enough energy to sustain one life, the Carol Danvers persona is sent after Rogue.
Magneto ended up interjecting and killing the Carol Danvers entity. Rogue would regain Ms. Marvel's powers again, despite being purged of Ms. Marvel's powers after going through the Siege Perilous.
Operation Galactic Storm
In the 19 part comic book cross-over event - Operation: Galactic Storm - Carol Danvers returns to Earth and her powers as Binary is greatly reduced when saving the Earth's sun. As result, she lost her connection to the white hole but retained her energy manipulation and the ability to absorb energy on a much lower level.
Debut as Warbird
With her powers reduced, Carol Danvers rejoins the Avengers in Avengers #4 of the 1998 comic series. While a new roster is being discussed, Beast conducts some tests on Carol and confirms that her powers have been greatly reduced (see panel below).
Thus, she struggles to come up with a new name since she can no longer be Binary. At the end of the issue, Cap finally announces the new roster and informs the public of her name change of Warbird.
It is said that she did not retake her Ms. Marvel namesake back because Sharon Ventura had assumed that moniker by then, but I don't think Sharon was an active character at this time. Anyway, not the end of Carol Danvers' tale as she would later retake the name of Ms. Marvel and become the new Captain Marvel.
House of M #2
Just to a little back track here: During the Operation Galactic Storm story event, Quasar #34 sees Carol Danvers save the Earth's sun and exhaust herself. Before becoming Warbird, her powers become unstable and unpredictable. As mentioned before, it's revealed in Avengers #4 of the 1998 series that she lost her connection to the white hole and her powers are reduced and unstable.
Thus, she cannot take her Binary form and then takes the name of Warbird. She will, however, reclaim the name of Ms. Marvel, but not before taking the name of Captain Marvel in an alternate reality.
The True 1st Carol Danvers As Captain Marvel
Yes, it's true. Carol Danvers is first seen and named Captain Marvel in this very comic series of House of M. The comic series debuted way before the comic that currently holds her debut under that moniker.
True, it is an "alternate reality", but this alternate reality is a direct split from the mainstream continuity of Earth-616. It happened when Scarlet Witch had a breakdown and created an alternate reality. In this alternate reality, humans are ruled by mutants and mutants are ruled by Magneto and his House of M.
Wolverine wakes up in this reality fully aware that something is off. Peter Parker is a celebrity married to Gwen Stacy. Scott Summers and Emma Frost are married, Doctor Strange is a shrink or psychologist, and Carol Danvers is the most popular superhero as "Captain Marvel".
It seems that Scarlet Witch had given everyone their secret wish or desire. Wolverine is a S.H.E.I.L.D agent. The panels below are from issue #2 and issue #3. The page from issue #3 clearly depicts a newspaper that calls her Captain Marvel.
So Wolverine sets off to wake everyone up, and they also begin to realize that this reality is wrong. After the events of House of M, Carol Danvers does remember that she was the most popular superhero in the world as Captain Marvel. In short, she remembers that alternate reality even after things revert back to the 616 timeline.
I cannot pinpoint exactly when Carol retakes her Ms. Marvel mantle. She is often called Carol by other Marvel characters, so I am not sure if Marvel made a big deal about it or if they just slip her retaking the name quietly.
It is clear that by Marvel Team Up #11 of the 2004 series, she is referred to as Ms. Marvel. That comic series came out around the same time as the House of M story line, and it is part one of The Titannus War. That story line of the Titannus War is considered to be part of the Earth-616 story line.
Welcome Back Ms. Marvel
It would be 27 years after her first self-titled comic series as Ms. Marvel when Marvel Comics saw fit to have Carol Danvers star in her own comic book series again. The second Ms. Marvel series lasted 50 issues and saw Ms. Marvel side with Tony Stark and the Superhero Registration Act during the famous Civil War story line.
Ms. Marvel would also play a major role in the Secret Invasion story line. A slice of this story line may play out in the Captain Marvel film starring Brie Larson.
In Secret Invasion, it is revealed that the Skrulls underwent a long time invasion of Earth and replaced many superheroes. Jessica Drew as Spider-Woman is just among the many that were captured and replaced.
It was becoming clear by this time that Marvel was pushing for Carol Danvers to be their premier female superhero. She joined the Avengers and New Avengers several times and became a well-known Avenger in the Modern Age.
After the events of Secret Invasion, the Avengers are placed under the command of one Norman Osborn. Norman recruits Moonstone to be the "new" Ms. Marvel when Carol refuses to serve under him. In the Dark Reign story line, we get some weirdness when it comes to the character of Carol Danvers in this Modern era of comics.
Norman tricks Carol into over-loading her powers and this causes her apparent death. Pages of this event are shown below.
Death of Ms. Marvel
After the events of Danvers' apparent death, Karla Sofen, also known as Moonstone, took the mantle of Ms. Marvel. She even stars as Ms. Marvel in the comic series starting with issue #38. That was a pretty brief affair.
Now, I'm not saying these are key comics or anything, but this is the evolution of the character of Carol Danvers. We haven't even gotten into the weirdness yet.
War of the Marvels
Don't expect Carol Danvers' death to last long. Those who know me thus far know I'm not really into deaths of comic characters. They all seem so gimmicky nowadays. So, Carol Danvers isn't dead.
In fact, the weirdness was that she was split into four energy beings, and this all had something to do with 24 baby MODOKS and a being called the Storyteller. It gets a bit hairy but below are the pages of Ms. Marvel being reborn.
Yes, so Ms. Marvel is reborn. Did you expect anything less?
Okay, to make a long story short, let's fast forward this a bit. We later learn that a group called the Storytellers gave Danvers' her wish of being free from the burdens that came with being Ms. Marvel and created the separate alter ego of Catherine Donovan. Ugh, another alter ego type-a-deal connected to this character.
When Norman Osborn pisses off the Storytellers by killing Donovan, the other alter ego of Donovan is somehow merged with Karla Sofen. In a whole "inside the mind" type of story within Ms. Marvel #46, Karla and Catherine occupy Sofen's mind.
That's until a vision of Karla's mother makes her realize that she is Moonstone and not Ms. Marvel. From there, she wills out Catherine Donovan, and Donovan merges back with Carol Danvers. In the end, Carol Danvers defeats her imposter and reclaims herself and identity.
Carol Danvers Official Debut as Captain Marvel
As I mentioned before, Carol Danvers debut as Captain Marvel is a bit tricky. That means it can be argued.
I did mention that she appeared as Captain Marvel in the House of M comic series, in which the reality of that story line was spun off from mainstream continuity. Adding more weight to that argument is the the conclusion of the House of M story arc did directly affect Earth-616 afterward.
Anyway, Avenging Spider-Man is considered the official debut of Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel. I think it's her official debut as Captain Marvel in mainstream continuity, but not necessarily her first appearance as Captain Marvel.
The origin of why she takes up the mantle of Captain Marvel is explained in issue #1 of her first comic series as Captain Marvel.
Captain Marvel #1 2012 Series
This use to be considered the debut of Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel, and it sort is and isn't. If we discount the whole House of M stuff, Avenging Spider-Man #9 came out about a week before this issue.
However, this issue does tell the origin of how and why she decided to take up the mantle of Captain Marvel. Yep, so that makes it an origin and it is her first in continuity or mainstream continuity.
Once again, Avenging Spider-Man #9 was released earlier, no doubt. Still, Captain Marvel #1 of the 2012 series is still an important key for Carol Danvers becoming Captain Marvel.
First, Cap tries to persuade her in taking up the mantle.
She then asks Spidey what he thinks about the name "Ms. Marvel". It's a pretty comedic scene with the Wallcrawler being the wise ass that he is.
After flying around the city and then into space, Carol contemplates and also remembers her childhood hero, Helen Cobbs. After thinking things through for a bit, she finally decides to take the mantle of Captain Marvel. It is soon reported in the Daily Bugle.
With the Wonder Woman film being such a huge and recent success, I wonder if Brie Larson is feeling any pressure. As stated before, Wonder Woman is the only successful female led movie based on a female superhero comic character to date.
Brie Larson as Captain Marvel could push this genre even further a long. I am rooting for this film and hope it continues to usher movies based off of female comic characters.
Just a few days ago, photos of Brie Larson in the Captain Marvel costume leaked online and will be featured on the cover of Entertainment Weekly September 14th issue. I, for one, love it.
What do you guys think? Excited about the Captain Marvel flick? Be sure to cast your vote in the poll at the bottom and comment on what you think.
I hope you enjoyed this series and would really appreciate it if you shared it with others you think would enjoy knowing a bit more about the Marvel Comics character of Carol Danvers. Thank you and happy hunting out there.
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