How many Captain Marvels are there in Marvel Comics?

 Carol Danvers, Noh-Varr, and Mar-Vell images combined.
Carol Danvers, Noh-Varr, and Mar-Vell images combined.

Carol Danvers is well-known as the cosmic hero Captain Marvel, and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, she's the one and only hero to use the name.

But in Marvel Comics, Carol is only the latest in a long line of heroes to use the name. In fact, she's not the first, second, third, or even fourth Captain Marvel in the Marvel Universe - she's the seventh.

As Brie Larson returns as Carol Danvers in The Marvels alongside Tenoyah Parris as Monica Rambeau and Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan, we're looking back at the history of the name Captain Marvel in Marvel Comics - which has been used by at least two heroes from The Marvels.

Mar-Vell

Mar-Vell
Mar-Vell

Marvel's original Captain Marvel, Mar-Vell, was created by none other than legendary writer Stan Lee and artist Gene Colan. Mar-Vell was a Kree Warrior who was empowered as the cosmic guardian of the universe and given the powerful weapons known as the Nega-Bands, going on to become an Avenger for a time.

Mar-Vell died in 1982's landmark graphic novel The Death of Captain Marvel, and has stayed permanently dead ever since - a rarity in comics. In the MCU, Mar-Vell is a scientist who mentors Carol Danvers, played by Annette Bening.

Monica Rambeau

Monica Rambeau
Monica Rambeau

Monica Rambeau is the second Captain Marvel - a name she first resists when it's bestowed on her in her first appearance in writer Roger Stern and artist John Romita, Jr's Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 in 1982, not long after Mar-Vell's death. Monica goes on to embrace the name, even serving as the leader of the Avengers for a time.

She's since used several other codenames, including her current moniker Photon. She's one of the lead characters in The Marvels, played by Tenoyah Parris, and a running gag in the film is Ms. Marvel trying to come up with a cool alias for Monica. A moniker for Monica, if you will.

Genis-Vell

Genis-Vell
Genis-Vell

Genis-Vell is the genetically engineered son of Mar-Vell and the scientist Elysius, introduced under the codename Legacy in 1993's Silver Surfer Annual #3 by writer Ron Marz and artist Ron Lim as a superhero carrying on the, well, legacy of his father.

Genis-Vell later takes up the mantle of Captain Marvel after gaining the cosmic artifacts known as the Nega-Bands which were once worn by his father. Also like Mar-Vell, Genis-Vell initially has to switch places with the human Rick Jones in order to manifest in the material world, while the other swaps into the Negative Zone.

Phyla-Vell

Phyla-Vell
Phyla-Vell

Created by writer Peter David and artist Paul Azaceta in 2004's Captain Marvel #16, Phyla-Vell is the sister of Genis-Vell, and also the genetically engineered child of Mar-Vell and Elysius. Phyla initially took up the mantle of Captain Marvel while her brother was being driven mad by his power of Cosmic Awareness.

She only served as Captain Marvel briefly, but she went on to take up the name Quasar after the death of the original, and even became a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the era that inspired the classic MCU team.

Khn'nr

Khn'nr
Khn'nr

Though Mar-Vell has never permanently returned to life (a big rarity when it comes to deaths in superhero comics), he has been brought back briefly here and there - and there have also been a few fake-outs. This includes the case of writer Paul Jenkins and artist Tom Raney's creation Khn'nr, who was initially billed to fans as Mar-Vell's big return to hide the story's real twist.

In the aftermath of the 2006 story Civil War and the subsequent lead-up to 2008's Secret Invasion, it briefly appeared that Mar-Vell had returned to life. However, this turned out to be a Skrull sleeper agent named Khn'nr, who was meant to take the place of Mar-Vell - right down to being brainwashed into actually believing he was the dead Kree warrior.

Noh-Varr

Noh-Varr
Noh-Varr

Noh-Varr initially debuted as Marvel Boy in an eponymous 2000 limited series by writer Grant Morrison and artist JG Jones. Noh-Varr is a young Kree warrior from an alt-reality whose life is originally dedicated to killing Skrulls.

Noh-Varr is then drafted into Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers, where he's dubbed the new Captain Marvel - but he quits as soon as he realizes Norman means to exploit his abilities for nefarious purposes. Noh-Varr later joins the Young Avengers, eventually coming out as bisexual and becoming a full-on queer sex symbol among fans.

Carol Danvers

Carol Danvers
Carol Danvers

And finally, at lucky number seven, there's Carol Danvers, the current (and most well-known) Captain Marvel. Introduced by writer Roy Thomas and artist Gene Colan in 1968's Marvel Super-Heroes #13, Carol Danvers was merely an ace pilot working with Mar-Vell in his human guise as a scientist (as adapted into the Captain Marvel movie), she later gains powers of her own, becoming the spin-off hero Ms. Marvel.

Carol finally embraced the moniker of her mentor Mar-Vell in 2012, staying in the role ever since. She's also become a pillar of the MCU, played by Brie Larson, and starring in The Marvels, which is in cinemas now.


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