Audiences are being rewarded with a lot of cool stuff in the new “Captain Marvel” movie, including the Starforce, the Supreme Intelligence of the Kree, archenemy Minn-Erva and a glancing take on one of Marvel’s most famous story lines, the Kree-Skrull War.
But there’s a lot of things from Carol Danvers’ storied history that you won’t see — because they are, for the most part, really stupid. Here are three:
Demon in a bottle: Back when she was going by Warbird, Danvers was hanging with the Avengers. Oh, and one more thing: She was an alcoholic. She got counseling, and remains to this day a recovering alcoholic. Which is cool. But here’s the funny thing: In the comics, so is Tony Stark. And he’s one of the people who counseled her. In the movies, Stark isn’t an alcoholic, despite the wink-wink drunk scene in “Iron Man 2.” He is, however, suffering from PTSD. Why the change? At a guess, I’d say that alcoholism is too big, too difficult and too complex an issue to wedge into the corners of a two-hour action movie. That wouldn’t do justice to the battles that real recovering alcoholics face, nor would it substantially add to a movie plot. I suspect Carol will follow a similar route.
A new Woman: Remember when Danvers was “the finest head of security a missile base could want”? That was in 1967. Ten years later, her next job was exactly what you’d expect from a successful career military officer: She became a magazine editor. Yes, years after the male Captain Marvel left the Florida missile base in comic book limbo, and Danvers with it, she resurfaced in “Ms. Marvel” No. 1 as the newly hired editor in chief of New York-based Woman magazine. And the guy who hired her? J. Jonah Jameson. One assumes this move was made to give the new book a Spider-Man connection to boost sales.
This one isn’t funny: Clearly, Marvel has made a lot of mistakes trying to make Danvers more interesting. In 1980, though, they published a Ms. Marvel story so awful I’m actually loath to bring it up. In “Avengers” No. 200, Danvers was kidnapped by a cosmic being named Marcus. He brainwashed Danvers, and somehow impregnated her with ... himself. Danvers gave birth to baby Marcus days later, who grew to adulthood in record time, and convinced the still brainwashed Carol to date him. I don’t even remember the point of all that. I do remember thinking, “OMG, she’s being raped!” And the Avengers? They did nothing. They thought she was in love, and celebrated her happy romance. Readers were, of course, outraged. Later stories tried to course-correct. But there’s really no way to fix something so vile, so repugnant.
Are we done? Rats — I haven’t even gotten to the story where the X-Men’s Rogue stole Carol’s powers and memory! (Don’t worry, she got better.) Man, maybe we should just forget all of these stories, and pretend that Carol’s comic book history began in 2012. Better yet, let’s all go to the movies and see the character done right. God knows Marvel tried everything wrong to get there.