Who Is Mar-Vell? The Original Captain Marvel Explained

Even the most casual of comic fans these days know something about Carol Danvers, formerly Ms. Marvel and now Captain Marvel. The odds are, however, that if you happened to ask them about how she received her powers or who the first Captain Marvel was they might be hard-pressed to answer your questions. Luckily you have us here at COED.com to tell you everything you need to know!

The Marvelous Mar-Vell

While not exactly a household name anymore the first Captain Marvel, the Kree warrior Mar-Vell, was a major Silver Age character in the 1960’s. While Kree are primarily shown to be a race of blue humanoids (see Ronan the Accuser) a genetic quirk meant a large part of the population was ‘pink’, objectively identical to Caucasian humans. The ‘pink’ Mar-Vell was sent on a reconnaissance mission to Earth where he posed as NASA scientist Walter Lawson. As Lawson the warrior grew to deeply care about the planet and it’s inhabitants, particularly befriending the young security officer Carol Danvers.
Initially, Mar-Vell only possessed basic Kree physiology and abilities, namely super strength and endurance. A series of events over time led to him gaining (and sometimes losing) additional gifts such as flight, energy absorption, photon blasts, telepathy and bolstered strength, speed and endurance. At one point he developed a psychic and special bond with Rick Jones, the good friend of the Hulk and the behind-the-scenes creation of the Avengers

The Hero of Two Worlds

As Mar-Vell struggled between fulfilling his orders from the Kree Empire and his feelings for Earth his fellow warrior and rival Yon-Rogg would attempt to sabotage him. In one such fateful encounter he kidnapped Carol Danvers to lure Mar-Vell into a trap. During the fight Yon-Rogg accidentally activated a Kree weapon that destroyed him, while another Kree device irradiated both Mar-Vell and Carol. This device altered Carol on a genetic level, changing 50% of her DNA into the duplicate of Mar-Vell’s and gifting her the Kree warrior’s enhanced abilities and powers.

While Carol began her own superhero career as Ms. Marvel Mar-Vell continued having his own adventures, having chosen Earth over the Kree and becoming one if it’s most powerful defenders. But by the late 70’s his popularity had considerably diminished, and Marvel more or less only published new comics in order to keep the Captain Marvel trademark away from DC. In the 80’s the series was finally canceled and Mar-Vell died from lung cancer after having been exposed to nerve gas in Marvel’s first graphic novel, The Death of Captain Marvel.
As of now, little is known about Mar-Vell’s role in the upcoming Captain Marvel movie, which will star Alison Brie as the titular character Carol Danvers. Jude Law is confirmed to be playing Mar-Vell’s alter ego Dr. Walter Lawson and will probably have some role in Carol gaining her abilities and inspiring her to heroism. As Kevin Feige has confirmed that this representation of the character will be different from the original comics, how this will go about is anyone’s guess.

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