Comics

Women’s History Month: Captain Marvel

Charting Carol Danvers’ rise from U.S. Air Force to Avenger!

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This March, we celebrate Women’s History Month by spotlighting some of the most iconic characters and creators from the Marvel Universe.

Even before she gained super powers, Carol Danvers earned huge points on the awesome-meter. She first debuted in 1968’s Roy Thomas-Gene Colan effort MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #13 as “the finest head of security a missile base could want.” That base just so happened to house a fallen Kree Sentry robot that had led to the original Captain Marvel’s first trip to Earth. In fact, Carol met the hero in his alternate identity as Dr. Lawson just before the machine got back up and started causing a ruckus.

That story lead directly into the CAPTAIN MARVEL series that same year by the same creative team and featured a building-smashing battle between Cap and the Sentry. In the process, Carol fell under some rubble, but dug herself out just in time for another attack.

Carol stuck around the book for a while, but eventually earned her own title in 1977 called MS. MARVEL. In the first issue by written Carla and Gerry Conway with art by John Buscema, Carol not only smashes up bad guys in her masked identity, but also perfectly handles J. Jonah Jameson who wanted to hire her to edit a magazine called “Woman.” She upped her own pay and even dictated terms about content, setting herself up well for the rest of the series.

But where did those amazing powers come from? An exploding Kree Psyche-Magnetron melded her DNA with that of Captain Marvel’s, transferring some of his abilities to her. Though she eventually lost those powers to Rogue for a time, they served Carol in her many identities ranging from Ms. Marvel and Binary to Warbird and, most appropriately, Captain Marvel.

In addition to serving with various Avengers teams, Carol has spent a lot of time with the X-Men too. She’s also been associated with the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Ultimates.

Fans have long responded to Carol’s brash attitude and confidence when it comes to acting as a super hero. She’s dealt with many issues over the years, including a bout with alcoholism that threatened her standing with the Avengers, but always dealt with them and moved on to build herself into a stronger version.

The Women of Marvel

One of Carol’s most interesting transformations came when she turned into Binary for the first time in UNCANNY X-MEN #164. Carol had joined the mutant team on a space mission. At this point, Rogue had already drained the former Ms. Marvel’s powers, so it surprised everyone when she seemingly burst into flame and seemed okay with it. That manifestation came as the result of a Brood attack that kicked her Kree genes into overdrive. At that point, she could draw power from a white hole. This lasted for a while until the Operation: Galactic Storm crossover where she lost contact with that source and reverted back to her usual powers.