It’s one of the most used names in comic book history, right up there with Crusader, Sentinel and Donny Electropants… Welcome to Ten Things: Ten Captains Marvel!

Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with An Amateur Comics Historian and Clarence Charles Beck, Presents:



Mar-Vell of the Kree Empire was dispatched to Earth as part of a complex plan to channel the psionic might of humanity and then destroy the planet. Turning on his people, he became a staunch defender of his new home and eventually was crowned Protector of the Universe by a cosmic entity named Eon. He later died, not in battle, but of a particularly aggressive cancer, leaving behind a legacy and many, MANY namesakes. Despite what Marvel Comics would have you believe, his name was not stylized as Mar-Vell during most of his career.


Given power by a council of elders, young Billy Batson can channel the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury in his super-powered form. This particular incarnation traveled the Earth in a Winnebago with his Mentor to right wrongs in many places, all of which looked just like Southern California. He is also probably responsible for the expectation that the character be called SHAZAM, as the show was, leading to the 2011 revamp and renaming of the Big Red Cheese.


On Earth-1610, the Ultimate Universe, Rick Jones was just a kid from Queens when he got phenomenal cosmic power from the Watchers.  Using those powers as Nova, he encountered Earth-1610’s Kree hero Captain Mahr Vell during a battle with Galactus. When Vell was fatally wounded, Rick took up his armor, augmenting his powers even more and making him the new Captain Marvel, just in time for the Ultimate Universe to get blown up in Secret Wars.


The Amalgam Universe was created when the DC and Marvel Universes merged thanks to a cosmic love story. (It’s complicated.) Naturally, the two Captains Marvel were merged into one, a young boy named Billy Mar-Vell, who shouts the word “KREE!” to transform into his science/magic form. He is a member of the Judgement League Avengers and desperately needs a cape to balance out his costume.


Cloned from the genetic material of Mar-Vell, Genis-Vell was artificially aged to maturity in a lab by his mother, Elysius. As such, he occasionally had issues with maturity while in action first as the hero called Legacy, and then as the new Captain Marvel. After a long bout of madness, he changed his name to Photon, joined the Thunderbolts and died in a particularly horrifying manner, with his body dissected and teleported to separate parts of the Darkforce universe to prevent resurrection.


A robot, created by aliens, rocketed to Earth when his planet died, the creature calling itself Roger Winkle is already a hailstorm of clichés BEFORE we recognize that he’s wearing the original Human Torch’s costume and borrowing Billy Batson’s name. It’s no accident, either, as he has a young ward named “Billy Baxton” and uses the trigger word “XAM!” as part of his gross super-powers (He can split and control each limb at any joint, leaving them flying about in a terrifying ballet dance of dismemberment), which seems like proof that MF Enterprises knew what they were up to. Five appearances later, he and his fly-by-night publisher were gone, leaving behind only body horror and memories of cheap knock-off toys like your Grandma used to buy you at the drugstore.


The current Captain Marvel, if such designations mean anything, Carol Danvers is half-Kree and half-human, raised in a military household with brothers. She grew up to join the Air Force, eventually encountering Mar-Vell in his adventures on Earth. For years, she fought as Ms. Marvel, then as Binary, then as Warbird, finally taking up the name Captain Marvel after rejoining the Avengers and finally controlling her full power. If you’re a fan, I give you only this advice: Do not read Civil War II.

Actually, that’s good advice for anyone.


It’s getting complicated now, Faithful Spoilerites! A second artificial clone/child of Mar-Vell (#10), Phyla’s existence came about when her brother Genis (#6) recreated the entire universe with his powers. Phyla-Vell resented her brother, especially in his less coherent moments, and clashed with him over who REALLY deserved the title of Captain Marvel. She later died and became the avatar of Oblivion as Martyr, working with the Guardians of the Galaxy before becoming another victim of Thanos, dying at his hands..


Ten Captains Marvel

Separated as a child from her twin brother Billy, Mary Batson was adopted by the Bromfield family and raised as their daughter. A school spelling bee caused her to encounter Billy, eventually discovering his double-identity and eventually sharing his powers. In this post-Crisis continuity, Mary also goes by Captain Marvel, eventually changing from red to white to differentiate from her twin brother. While a bit complicated, it’s no more so than the fact that her original incarnation went by Mary and didn’t change her face in her superhuman identity. You wonder how Dr. Sivana couldn’t put two and two together…


Named Captain Marvel by the local press, Monica Rambeau gained her powers after being bombarded by extradimensional energy, allowing her to transform herself into sentient energy. After a long(ish) tenure with the Avengers, she changed her name to Photon upon the arrival of Genis-Vell to take up his dad’s mantle, then went by Pulsar before settling on the new codename of Spectrum. That’s not even considering her run in Nextwave under her own name. Probably the most powerful person on today’s list, she’s also my favorite Captain Marvel, due in part to her cool black-and-white original costume.

Thanks to Faithful Spoilerite Josh Mayfield (@Bean525) for this week’s topic! Feel free to follow along @MightyKingCobra for more Ten Things madness on Twitter or check out the full Twitter archive here! As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, if only because there’s a big movie match-up coming in 2019 that will have everyone obnoxiously arguing about this. Either way, the comments section is Below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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