WHY SHE'S AWESOME: Captain Marvel
This week, Marvel's premiere female superhero will be introduced to the world in a new way when Marvel Studios releases Captain Marvel in theaters. So, in celebration of the movie, this installment of "WHY IT'S AWESOME" belongs to Captain Marvel!
But, first, we have to delve into her history.
Carol Danvers, the alias of Captain Marvel, has been around in the comic books since the late 1960s when she served as the romantic interest to Mar-Vell, the Kree warrior who was the first Captain Marvel. And while she was an Air Force Officer, her role was nothing but a supporting player.
But, then, one fateful day, Carol gets caught in an accident where the Kree weapon called the Psyche-Magnitron fused her DNA with that of a Kree, genetically altering her to give her great powers.
In the 70s, in a move to embrace the Feminist movement, Carol Danvers, with her new powers, donned the guise of Ms. Marvel. However, as well intentioned as Marvel wanted to be, she was written and drawn by men who didn't know how to create a Feminist icon. Placed in a skimpy bathing suit, Carol never rose to the occasion. She ended up being more of a caricature of the Women's Liberation Movement.
She eventually went through different incarnations as her power set grew. After the alien race called the Brood unlocked her potential, Carol found she could access the energy of a white hole giving her all kinds of abilities that, perhaps, now makes her the most powerful hero in the Marvel Universe. During this time, she was known as Binary. Later, she became Warbird and then Ms. Marvel again.
But, in 2012, writer Kelly Sue DeConnick (Avengers Assemble) and artist Dexter Soy (Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men) were given the reigns of Captain Marvel, making her the legend that she is today. She put her in her now iconic outfit and made her a Feminist icon for the ages. The way she wrote her was not to be a Feminist specifically, but to be human. DeConnick made her relatable. She was strong and a leader, yet flawed and vulnerable. And, she had a sense of humor. They put her into space and gave her some purpose aside from being team member.
That said, Carol Danvers is not without her women friends. Until then, we didn't really get to see women just being women supporting each other as women. Now, Carol has great relationships with people such as Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman), Monica Rambeau (The first woman to take the code name Captain Marvel and now known as Spectrum), and Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk). She also serves as an inspiration to Kamala Khan, the new Ms. Marvel.
It is DeConnick's run on Captain Marvel that serves as inspiration for the film.
In 2019, Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures, Black Widow Forever Red), with artist Carlos Pacheco, (Avengers Forever, X-Men) flipped the Captain Marvel origin on its ear in the series Life of Captain Marvel. Instead of gaining her power through the Kree, it turns out that Carol is actually half-Kree herself. Her mother was a fierce Kree warrior known as Mari-Ell. The Psyche-Magnitron merely activated her Kree gene to give her the powers she has today.
And, this week, Marvel Studios will release Captain Marvel played by Academy Award winning actress Brie Larson. When last we left our heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) sent a mysterious distress signal to Captain Marvel. Now, we get to see who she is and how she knows Fury. Setting the film in the 90s, her origin will most likely change again. We don't know how exactly, but, one thing is for sure. She is a power house. In an interview with Vulture, Marvel Studios President Kevin Fiege said, "All of the Marvel characters have flaws to them, all of them have a deep humanity to them. With Captain Marvel, she is as powerful a character as we've ever put in a movie. Her powers are off the charts, and when she's introduced, she will be by far the strongest character we've ever had. It's important, then, to counterbalance that with someone who feels real. She needs to have a humanity to tap into, and Brie can do that."
But, to me, the biggest reasons why Captain Marvel is so awesome is because of what she means and will mean to women and girls everywhere. DeConnick created the Carol Corps in the books as a fan and support base for Carol Danvers. That concept drifted outside of the comics into real life with the members of the Carol Corp both bounding and full on cosplaying Captain Marvel in all her incarnations while lending their support for the titular hero. But, it was at the European Premiere in London that I saw this picture that made my heart melt. Brie Larson was giving an autograph to a young girl dressed as Captain Marvel. Her legacy is now going to live on in the young. And, I, for one, hope to see girls in Captain Marvel costumes rival the boys in Captain America and Spider-Man costumes at the Disney Parks!
How can it get any more awesome?
If you want to read more about Captain Marvel, Marvel has curated a great list of must reads and gives you a 101 on all of Carol Danvers's aliases.