The original way Carol Danvers became Ms.—and later Captain—Marvel has always been a bit of a weird tale. Weird enough that Marvel has already said they want to streamline and change it for her cinematic debut in a few years. But her latest comic series might have already done that tweaking for them.
This week’s Mighty Captain Marvel #0, by Margaret Stohl, Emilio Laiso, Roman Rosanas, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Caramagna, sets up the post-Civil War II era for Captain Marvel by examining the way Carol is processing the traumatic events of the all-out superhero scrap while also dealing with the stress that comes from command of the Alpha Flight and a new level of adoration from her fans.
But the most interesting part of the issue comes from a moment where Carol is alone in her thoughts, looking back to the moment she chose to defy her father’s goals for her and enlist in the Air Force instead of living a humdrum life waiting for a rich husband. We see flashes of her career, rising through the ranks to finally achieving her dream of becoming an astronaut, and then... we get this:
A lot of it is open to interpretation—it’s hazily framed in a dream-esque sequence—but this retelling of the night Carol got her superpowers is a little different to what we’ve had in the past. There are elements that are familiar: an encounter with a strange artifact somewhere, called a Psyche-Magnetron, that gives her the powers of a Kree warrior in an instant. What is interesting about it is that it doesn’t mention one specific character that played a significant role in Carol’s origins: Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel.
In the original comics, the first Captain Marvel, a Kree soldier in human disguise, operated on Earth as a hero and was romantically interested in young air force officer Carol Danvers. One day, the explosion of a Kree superweapon imbued Carol with Kree DNA from Mar-Vell himself, giving her his superpowers, which she would go on to use as Ms. Marvel.
Carol’s origins have been fiddled with multiple times in the years since that original series—Kelly Sue DeConnick’s seminal revival of the character as the latest Captain Marvel in 2012 addressed criticisms of the lack of agency Carol had in her origins through a time-paradox tale that added some elements of almost pre-destination to the event where Carol got her powers. But the implication here from Mighty Captain Marvel seems to go even further, removing the element of Mar-Vell and Carol’s relationship with him from the picture altogether—a move that gives Carol a more traditional “freak accident” origin story rather than one that involves her relationship as the girlfriend of the original Captain Marvel.
It’s an interesting tweak if that is actually the case—one that wouldn’t be too surprising to see happen again when the Captain Marvel movie hits theaters in 2019.