For many of the younger fans, Carol Danvers is the one and only character to carry the Mantle of Captain Marvel. She is also currently the most popular due to her inclusion in the MCU. But before there was Carol Danvers, there were a few characters to carry the Mantle of Captain Marvel, the first being a male and a Kree alien at that. We decided to revisit the history of the character and explain what happened to the original Captain Marvel.
Why did Supremor send Mar-Vell to Earth?
The story of Mar-Vell is a complicated one and involves vast and complex plans made by Supremor. “Supremor,” was a computerized fusion of powerful blue Kree minds that ruled the Kree Empire for ages, but there was a problem. Initially, blue-skinned Kree were considered superior to their pink-skinned counterparts, and inter-breeding was encouraged. However, after some time, it proved that blue-skinned Kree have reached their peak potential and are a genetic dead end.
Pink-skinned Kree proved to be useful due to their untapped potential and their similarities to humans, who also, at one point in time, proved themselves to be vastly superior in terms of the biological potential for developing vast psionic powers.
Supremor developed a plan to link the minds of pink-Kree and humans, and after some time, when the Kree has taken over enough powerful humans, Earth should be destroyed, and powerful humans assimilated into the Kree genetic pool. Mar-Vell was one of the pink-skinned Kree specifically chosen for the mission to infiltrate Earth due to his special aptitude for human experiences and his incredible likeness to humans.
Mar-Vell was sent on a mission as a spy agent of the Kree Empire acting under Yon-Rogg, whom Mar-Vell personally hated due to the advances he made toward his romantic partner, a Kree nurse named Una.
How did Mar-Vell become Captain Marvel?
As soon as Mar-Vell arrived on Earth, he was involved in an accident that took the life of Dr. Walter Lawson. Mar-Vell looked incredibly similar to Lawson, and the Kree Spy took over his identity and decided to pose as him to better understand and infiltrate humans. He took the assignment at Cape Canaveral in Florida, where Carol Danvers was currently stationed.
The two dated briefly, with Mar-Vell hiding his true identity from her, something that will accidentally lead to Danvers revealing her own latent Kree powers as well.
Mar-Vell worked among humans, lived among them, and formed relationships with them, but he never forgot about his ultimate goal. However, he had enemies among his own people as Yon-Rogg tirelessly plotted how to take him down and destroy him.
A chance appeared after one of the Sentries that the Kree empire dispatched was attacked and defeated at the hands of the Fantastic Four. Sentry was brought to the base for further study, but Yon-Rogg decided to activate it from his ship. Mar-Vell had no choice but to drop the guise of Doctor Lawson. He appeared in his uniform to fight the construct and ultimately won. However, Sentry #459 called Mar-Vell by his true Kree name; the onlookers, however, were unaware of that and understood Mar-Vell to be yet another human adventurer and dubbed him “Captain Marvel.” A codename he will carry for the rest of his life.
Soon after that encounter with Sentry #459, Mar-Vell started seeing the full consequences of Kree plans. He started to empathize more with humans and worked to sabotage orders he got from Yon-Rogg. After Yon-Rogg figured out that Mar-Vell was slowly turning against them, he caught him in a direct sabotage, and Mar-Vell was sentenced to death by the Kree Empire. But this is not what ultimately killed him.
The original Captain Marvel got cancer by inhaling Compound 13
Even though Captain Marvel got sentenced to death by the Kree empire, he was ultimately saved. He died in a very human way following his fight against a villain known as Nitro. Nitro had a unique power that allowed him to turn himself into a living bomb and explode at will. He came to his fight against Mar-Vell armed with highly dangerous and highly cancerous Compound 13 nerve gas.
Captain Marvel managed to stop Nitro with the help of Rick Jones, but before his ultimate downfall, Nitro activated his powers and exploded, damaging the canisters of Compound 13. After the initial exposure to the nerve gas, Mar-Vell collapsed. He would come to recover fairly quickly following the fight but was soon diagnosed with lung cancer. He was unaware that it was one of the side effects of the exposure.
Mar-Vell continued to fight cancer with the combination of his physiology and Nega-Bands, and it worked for a time until eventually, cancer mutated within him and, due to the effect of Nega-Bands, became highly resistant to all forms of treatment.
The greatest minds of Marvel Comics attempted to cure Mar-Vell and failed. He thought about returning back to the Kree Empire to seek advanced treatments that would certainly help him there but decided otherwise because he was still a traitor in their eyes. Mar-Vell died on Titan, surrounded by his current lover, Rick Jones, and the Avengers.
Mar-Vell wasn’t the only male Captain Marvel
Following Mar-Vell’s death, the mantle of Captain Marvel went to Monica Rambeau, who changed many superhero codenames throughout her career. However, after his death, his lover from Titan, Elysius, used Mar-Vell’s genetic material to conceive a child. The result of her work was Genis, who was artificially aged to maturity.
After Genis found out the truth about his heritage to honor his father’s memory, he decided to take on the mantle of Captain Marvel, which Monica Rambeau acquiesced. Ironically enough, several years later Genis-Vell wanted to change his codename again and settled on Photon, one more codename at that time taken by Monica Rambeau.
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