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Carol Danvers and the Long and Complicated Path to Captain Marvel

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Carol Danvers, the protagonist of the hit Marvel film Captain Marvel is the latest hero to take the film world by storm.  But Carol, like Iron Man and Captain America before her, was not exactly an “A-list” character in print form–at least, not initially.  So who is Carol Danvers?  Her journey to from C-List backup character to a leading role in the Avengers and the Marvel Universe as a whole is a long and complicated one.  Here’s some of the high points of her path to super-stardom.

Her journey began as a supporting character of the original (Marvel-published) Captain Marvel, Mar-Vell, a Kree warrior.  She was an Air Force pilot who gets caught in the explosion of a Kree device, after which she disappeared for nearly a decade, resurfacing in the late 1970’s as Ms. Marvel, with superhuman powers.  It was revealed that the explosion somehow merged Carol’s DNA with Mar-Vell’s, which made her a human-Kree hybrid.

She assumed the mantle of “Ms. Marvel,” and joined the Avengers and the Defenders, where she met and interacted with the then-villainous Rogue.  In an interaction with Danvers in Avengers Annual #10 by Chris Claremont and Michael Golden, Rogue permanently absorbs Carol’s memories, powers and personality.  Charles Xavier restored Carol’s memories shortly thereafter, but a version of Carol lived in Rogues psyche until it was separated when Rogue and the rest of the X-Men entered the cosmic device the Siege Perilous to escape the Reavers.  That doppelganger is killed by Magneto in the Savage Land.

During a mission with the X-Men, the original Carol is experimented on by the alien race The Brood, which transforms her into the character Binary, who draws on the power of a white hole to generate the power of a star.  She lost those powers during Operation Galactic Storm, a war between the Kree and the Shi’ar, and reverted to her original powers, but renaming herself Warbird.

Eventually she resumes her Ms. Marvel identity, but she struggles with alcoholism which Tony Stark, himself a recovering alcoholic, helps her get through.  As a member of the New Avengers, after the Disassembled storyline, Carol defends the Earth from a Skrull invasion (Secret Invasion).

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Rejoining the Avengers, she is convinced by Captain America to finally assume the mantle of Captain Marvel, which she does both to honor her fallen friend Mar-Vell, and to come into her own as a hero.

As Captain Marvel, Carol faced off against her close friend Tony Stark in Civil War II, and re-formed the Canadian super-team Alpha Flight, reimagined as a sort of “Space Avengers”.

Carol Danvers’ role in the Marvel Universe has varied over the years, but it’s safe to say she has come into her own since her assumption of the title Captain Marvel.

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