Published November 22, 2023

Meet Genis-Vell, the Son of the First Captain Marvel

Who is Genis-Vell? Meet the son of Mar-Vell, whose vast cosmic power once drove him to destroy—and then rebuild—the Marvel Universe.

As the son of Mar-Vell, the first Captain Marvel, Genis-Vell proudly carried on his father's heroic legacy by fighting alongside the Avengers. However, his vast cosmic powers pushed him past the edge of sanity and drove him to destroy the universe. 

While his cosmic power ultimately allowed him to help recreate the universe, Genis struggles to escape a destiny that made him responsible for the complete and total destruction of everything in existence. Even following his death and rebirth, Genis has found his power turned against his closest allies as often as it's been used against his enemies.   

Now, let's take a closer look at Genis-Vell and his legacy of heroism and destruction. We'll also break down how Genis fell under the control of a mysterious new villain as he battles Carol Danvers in CAPTAIN MARVEL (2023) #2 by Alyssa Wong, Jan Bazaldua, Bryan Valenza, and VC's Ariana Maher.


After the original Captain Mar-Vell died, his love, Elysius, used his cellular samples to conceive Genis-Vell. To protect him from Mar-Vell's enemies, Genis was raised in isolation and aged at an accelerated rate. With no knowledge of his father's exploits, Genis believed Starfox was his biological father. 

At Elysius' request, the Silver Surfer took Genis back home, where he learned about his heritage in SILVER SURFER ANNUAL (1988) #6 by Ron Marz, Ron Lim, and Joe Phillips. When Ronan the Accuser attacked, Genis received his father's Nega-Bands. The ancient Kree weapons activated his latent cosmic powers, including superhuman strength and speed. Genis donned the bands, defeated Ronan, and vowed to carry on his father's legacy as a hero called Legacy. During one of his first adventures, Genis reluctantly took on his father's former codename, Captain Marvel. 

Before Genis bonded to them, the Nega-Bands were once shared by Mar-Vell and Rick Jones, a longtime associate of the Avengers. During a battle between Kang, Immortus, and the Time-Keepers known as the Destiny War, Jones summoned Avengers from across time, including an older version of Genis from a possible future timeline in AVENGERS FOREVER (1998) #1 by Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco

After Rick suffered a fatal wound, the elder Genis bonded himself to Jones to save him. When the Avengers returned to their home timelines, though, the present-day Genis found himself unwillingly bonded to Rick in AVENGERS FOREVER (1998) #12 by Busiek, Roger Stern, and Pacheco.


As with Mar-Vell and Rick Jones, the Nega-Bands bonded Genis-Vell and Rick on an atomic level, so that only one of them could exist in Earth's dimension at a time. Whenever they clanged the Nega-Bands together, they would swap places, sending one to the Microverse while the other remained in the main Marvel Universe. 

The two heroes also maintained a telepathic link through dimensions to coordinate their efforts starting in CAPTAIN MARVEL (2000) #1 by Peter David and ChrisCross. Genis also developed Cosmic Awareness, an ability that gave him omnipresent awareness of all events around the universe in both the past and future. With this power, Rick and Genis both started hallucinating and perceived threats as real before they happened. 

With help from the telepathic Moondragon, Genis got some control over his Cosmic Awareness and went on adventures with Rick throughout the galaxy. The heroes battled foes like the snake-like Hyssta aliens, the Super-Skrull, the immortal telepath Merlin, and the Magus, Adam Warlock's evil counterpart. They also fought Una-Rogg and Zey-Rogg, the children of Mar-Vell's nemesis Yon-Rogg. During one time-traveling adventure, Genis and Rick encountered Maestro, a tyrannical future Hulk, as they dealt with Thanatos, a version of Rick corrupted by these powers.


Despite his early acts of heroism, Genis started down a darker path that led him to become a cosmic tyrant starting in CAPTAIN MARVEL (2002) #1 by Peter David and ChrisCross. Despite the support of his friends, Genis struggled to cope with his Cosmic Awareness and how it forced him to choose who lived and who died on a universal scale. 

After trying to learn mental discipline by training with the Punisher, Genis joined the Imperial Kree Army and began wearing a version of traditional Kree military uniform in CAPTAIN MARVEL (2002) #3 by David and ChrisCross. Although Genis claimed he wanted to spread order around the universe, he killed the Kree army, seemingly died, and beat up the spirit of his father with a gravestone. Eventually, Genis met the Entropy, a nihilistic cosmic being, and the two destroyed the universe together. 

At Rick's urging, Genis and Entropy remade the universe and rewound time, but Genis fell even deeper into his delusions. Thinking himself to be a god, Genis fought Thor and tried to move to Asgard. After conquering a planet, Genis then crashed a meeting that several galactic empires were having about him. 

However, Genis found himself confronted by Starfox and his mother, Elysius, who he had raised from the dead. Genis also met his sister, Phyla-Vell, who he inadvertently created when he remade the universe. Together, Elysius, Starfox, and Phyla restored Genis' sanity, and Genis destroyed his Kree military costume in CAPTAIN MARVEL (2002) #18 by David and Paul Azaceta.


As Genis-Vell tried to be a hero again, he fell into several situations that ended in tragedy. First, he was drawn into a future where the Kree, Skrull, and Shi'ar empires worked together to conquer Earth. In this future, Genis also encountered Ely-Vell, his future son with the Thunderbolts' Songbird

After Genis defeated the alien empires with help from his future self, he traveled even further into the future, where he learned Ely was trying to free the Magus from his dimensional prison. Ultimately, Genis stopped his son by time traveling again and killing him as a child. Grief-stricken, Genis returned to the present, where he was separated from Rick by a cosmic entity. 

With knowledge of his future relationship, Genis met up with Songbird in the present and spent some time with the Thunderbolts. After Genis got severely injured by Atlas, Baron Zemo used moonstones to place him in a healing cocoon that drew energy from the end of time. When Genis emerged, he donned a new look, changed his codename to Photon, and officially joined the Thunderbolts in NEW THUNDERBOLTS (2004) #6 by Fabian Nicieza, Kurt Busiek, and Tom Grummett

However, Zemo realized the moonstones' effect on Genis could eventually destroy the universe. While Genis thought he could stop that from happening, Zemo did not agree. To save all of existence, Zemo fought Genis and killed him in THUNDERBOLTS (2006) #100 by Nicieza and Grummett. Zemo then used the moonstones to spread pieces of Genis throughout the Darkforce Dimension so he could never be reconstituted or resurrected.


Despite Zemo's best efforts, Genis-Vell was eventually resurrected. In his efforts to build the ultimate warrior race, Vox Supreme—a Super-Inhuman who merged with parts of the Supreme Intelligence—resurrected Genis in CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019) #33 by Kelly Thompson and Sergio Dávila

During Genis' time with Rick, some of his molecules had bonded to Marlo Chandler-Jones, Rick's longtime love, whenever she teleported somewhere with Rick. Vox Supreme extracted those molecules and resurrected Genis as his soldier, controlling his actions through a specialized Kree bodysuit. 

After Genis attacked, Captain Marvel and an alternate reality version of Phyla-Vell freed him. Although he had no memory of his life or identity, Genis felt compelled to help Captain Marvel and her allies take down Vox Supreme. 

Thanks to his old telepathic ally Symon, Genis regained his missing memories in GENIS-VELL: CAPTAIN MARVEL (2022) #1 by Peter David and Juanan Ramírez. When Rick began fading out of reality back on Earth, he tried to use his Nega-Bands, which increased Genis' powers on the other side of the universe. 

When the heroes learned that Marlo—who had bonded to the cosmic entity Death—was still being held captive, they all traveled to New Hala, where Rick and Genis bonded themselves to each other once more. Although the heroes freed Marlo, she took on Death's role to give the burnt-out cosmic entity a break, much to Rick's dismay.


Shortly after returning to Earth, Genis fell under the sway of a mysterious villain called the Omen in CAPTAIN MARVEL (2023) #1 by Alyssa Wong and Jan Bazaldua. The Omen attacked Genis and tried to steal his Nega-Bands. After chasing him to Rick's apartment, the Omen cut off both of Genis' hands and impaled him, seemingly killing him. 

Before the Omen could claim the Nega-Bands, Yuna Yang—a thief who broke into Rick's apartment—found them and put them on, which inadvertently bonded her to Captain Marvel. After Captain Marvel warded the Omen off, the villain seized control of Genis and turned him into her servant. 

Under the Omen's orders, Genis faced off against Captain Marvel in CAPTAIN MARVEL (2023) #2. With the Omen's dark energy coursing through him, Genis tracked down the Nega-Bands for his new master. Despite his best efforts to be a hero again, it seems Genis and his raw cosmic power still stand as a threat to the entire universe.

See Genis-Vell face off with Carol Danvers in CAPTAIN MARVEL #2, now on sale!

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CAPTAIN MARVEL (2000) #11 cover by Jim Starlin


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