Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, Binary, and Warbird is a woman of many identities, but when it comes down to it, she is always Carol. She's one of Marvel Comics' strongest, most reliable, and most relatable characters. She has been around in one form or another since 1968 and has been Captain Marvel since 2012, bearing the name proudly.
In just the last few years, through the work of writers such as Kelly DeConnick, Captain Marvel has become one of Marvel's most popular and dynamic characters, even more so with 2019's Captain Marvel movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There is now a worldwide audience for Carol Danvers, but many new fans may not have read Captain Marvel comics and want to know what her best adventures are.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Updated on July 11th, 2020, by Shawn S. Lealos: With Ms. Marvel hitting Disney+, the countdown is on now for the upcoming movie, The Marvels, where Kamala Khan meets her hero Carol Danvers and the various Marvels have a huge adventure together. While Captain Marvel herself has only appeared in action in one solo movie and the team-up of Avengers: Endgame, there are a lot of stories in Marvel that show how she remains one of the best heroes in comics, male or female. While she got some slack for her role in books like Civil War II, she has done a lot in both Captain Marvel comics and as a supporting player in the Ms. Marvel series, where she became a mentor for Kamala Kahn.
"Ascension" - Ms. Marvel #31-34 (2009)
"Ascension" was a storyline in the 2009 Ms. Marvel series that takes place immediately after Secret Invasion. This allows Carol to try to get her life back under control, and it includes a visit with her family for the first time in years as her father is dying. There are also flashbacks to when she was first starting out as a secret agent in the Air Force.
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This comic run allowed the creators to show Carol Danvers as a person and not just as a superhero saving the world. It also has some fun moments when she has to team up with Spider-Man to save Manhattan, even though the two are not always on the same page.
"War Of The Marvels" - Ms. Marvel #42-46 (2009)
War of the Marvels brought Carol Danvers into battle with Moonstone, who Norman Osborn awarded the Ms. Marvel title when he created the Dark Avengers. However, Carol had died before this and when she came back, she was two different people - Carol Danvers and Catherine Donovan.
The war was not only between Moonstone and Carol but between Carol and herself as she tried to figure out who she wanted to be. This was also where Carol took her Ms. Marvel identity back and the way she dealt with Moonstone was poetic justice after having her identity stolen.
"Last Days" - Ms. Marvel #16-19 (2015)
The Ms. Marvel series here is the one belonging to Kamala Khan, and not Carol Danvers' Captain Marvel comics. Carol was already Captain Marvel by this time and gave the Ms. Marvel role to Kamala. However, while this was Kamala's title, Carol had a strong role to play in the story.
In this story, Kamala needed to save her brother and she got a chance to team up with her hero, Captain Marvel, to do so. The events were getting too heavy for Ms. Marvel by herself, and Carol played a strong role here in helping Kamala know she is never alone, it is always okay to ask for help, and she is enough of a hero without needing to do too much.
Avengers Annual #10 (1981)
Captain Marvel comics fans have to read Avengers Annual #10 because this was where everything in the hero's life changed for the worse. Chris Claremont wrote this issue, which makes sense because this was as much about the X-Men as it was about the Avengers. In this battle, Rogue was a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and was still a villain.
This was the issue where Rogue fought Ms. Marvel and not only absorbed her powers, but absorbed most of her memories, leaving Carol a shell of herself. Spider-Woman showed up to try to help Carol, who was now an amnesiac, and in the end, Carol chose to live with the X-Men, who promised to help her.
"The New World" - Captain Marvel #22-27 (2021)
One of the most recent stories that Captain Marvel comics fans should read is The New World from 2021. This story started with a shocking development. New York City had been decimated and people only lived in small areas where they could survive. Carol found one in New York City that was ruled by Ove - the son of Namor.
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This story took place in the future and Carol met descendants of her friends, who she chose to help fight Ove as she herself tried to figure out how to get back to her own time. When the story ended, her battles with Ove continued and Carol dealt with an affair with Doctor Strange and dabbled in magic before all was said and done.
"When Walks The Mandroid" - Captain Marvel #18 (1969)
Carol Danvers is kidnapped by Yon-Rogg and the Mandroid, taken to a Kree outpost, and has to be recused by Captain Marvel. In the battle, Carol is hit by a laser blast, changing her genetic makeup.
This is a crucial Carol Danvers story because it's when she gains the powers she first uses as Ms. Marvel, then later when she takes up the mantel of Captain Marvel. The Psyche-Magnitron and the altering of her basic DNA form the basis of her powers and origin and will come into play dozens of times over the years.
"Best You Can Be" - Ms. Marvel #47-50 (2009)
Now that the "War of the Marvels" is over, Carol can get back to her life. One problem: She promised Spider-Man a date. Mystique shows up, and Carol has to deal with her and make it through her night out with Spidey.
Carol Danvers has always been a smart and warm person, and this story shows that as she not only deals with a shapeshifting supervillain, but with a date where she might have to manage a superego and expectations. She does both well in an ultimately low-key but sweet story putting the wraps on a major storyline.
"The Good, The Green And The Ugly" - Avenging Spider-Man #7, #9-10, #12-13 (2012)
Captain Marvel and Spider-Man run into each other at 50,000 feet up. They end up taking on an army of robots, touching on the Occupy Movement and a 50-foot tall red-headed madwoman.
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"The Good, the Green and the Ugly" features Spider-Man, She-Hulk, Deadpool, and Captain Marvel, all in one storyline, each taking up a few issues in the run. The Carol Danvers Captain Marvel comic issues are fun and light read, allowing Carol a bit more breathing space and humor than her recent intergalactic adventures. She and Spidey interact well, showing the great chemistry between them.
"Alis Volat Propriis" - Captain Marvel #12-15 (2013)
Carol and Tic head home after Carol has established herself as a powerful presence to be respected in the universe. She's being pursued by the Haffensye Consortium, a group whose previous encounter she nearly didn't survive.
"She flies with her own wings" is the title's translation from Latin, and the previous stories in the title show Carol establishing her identity as Captain Marvel and as a force to be reckoned in the universe. It's a dangerous and very emotional homecoming and goodbye for Carol as well as for writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, who finished her defining run on Captain Marvel comics with this arc.
"Stay Fly" - Captain Marvel #7-11 (2014)
Carol and her cat Chewie head to space, but Chewie turns out to be a Flerkin, and a pregnant one at that. Also, the Haffensye Consortium, a group of space mercenaries, are after Carol and her ship.
Rocket Raccoon was right: Carol's pet cat, Chewie, was more than it seemed to be. This is a lighter story than some of the space operas Captain Marvel had previously, as Carol deals with an alien pet about to have a brood in their small ship. It's reminiscent of the classic Star Trek episode "The Trouble With Tribbles," but with alien cats.
"The Enemy Within" - Captain Marvel #13-14, #17 (2013)
Captain Marvel learns that her old enemy, Yon-Rogg. has been invading her brain in an attempt to rebuild the Psyche-Magnitron, a device that enhances powers. Carol also discovers a lesion on her brain that endangers her life whenever she uses her powers.
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Even the mighty Captain Marvel is ultimately human. While she may span the universe, something as physically small as a lesion can threaten her life. This is a grounding moment for the character and the readers, as Carol's use of her powers could kill her. The reader sees the all-powerful hero as much more vulnerable than she or they thought as she deals with disease and her own mortality.
"Down" - Captain Marvel #7-12 (2012)
There have been several Captain Marvels. Carol Danvers may have the name now, but she must deal with Monica Rambeau, a previous Captains Marvel, as she returns. Also, there's an underwater menace and sudden problems with Carol's flight powers.
This is an example of the tried-and-true "two heroes meet and fight because of a misunderstanding" comics story, but told with humor and style. Monica Rambeau was featured recently in the MCU, in the WandaVision series, with her gaining powers from the forcefield that Wanda had put around the town. She'll be playing more of a part in future MCU projects, which will make this story especially interesting to MCU fans.
"Higher, Further, Faster, More" - Captain Marvel #1-6 (2014)
Captain Marvel is trying to return a little girl to her homeworld when she runs smack into an intergalactic plot whose leader she has a history with. When he tries to blackmail her, she takes the whole thing down.
These Captain Marvel comics see Carol Danvers going from one of Earth's mightiest heroes to one of the mightiest heroes in the galaxy, basically taking her powers and hitting the road. The events in this story have huge consequences for Carol and the entire Marvel Universe, changing her standing into an intergalactic warrior.
"In Pursuit Of Flight " - Captain Marvel #1-7 (2012)
Carol is now Captain Marvel, fully and publicly. She gets thrown back in time to World War II and, while finding her way back, has to stop someone meddling in time with her origin and trying to steal her powers for themselves.
This character has been Ms. Marvel, Binary, Warbird, and is now the new Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers has been through a lot in her superhero career and is establishing herself here with a new identity that's more powerful than any she's had before. This is the start of a new Captain Marvel comics series, and this story is her first arc. The origin is retold and revisited as this new Captain Marvel takes flight.
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Tom Stewart is an actor, playwright, and writer living in Seattle, WA.More From Tom Stewart