Infobox comics character
character_name=Captain Mar-Vell

caption=Art by Jim Starlin
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut="Marvel Super-Heroes" #12 (Dec 1967)
creators=Stan Lee
Gene Colan
species= Kree
aliases=Captain Marvel, Dr. Walter Lawson
supports =
powers=Superhuman strength
Cosmic Awareness
Solar energy absorption & projection
Wields Nega-Bands
subcat=Marvel Comics

Mar-Vell, better known as Captain Marvel, is a fictional comic book alien, a superhero in the Marvel Comics universe. Marvel's use of the trademark "Captain Marvel", previously that of the highly popular, 1940s Fawcett Comics superhero Captain Marvel, came when the copyright on the original character was up for renewal.

Mar-Vell was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and penciller Gene Colan and first appeared in "Marvel Super-Heroes" #12 (Dec. 1967).

Publication history

Following his debut as the lead feature of "Marvel Super-Heroes" #12 (Dec. 1967) and a second showcase appearance the next issue, Mar-Vell, as Captain Marvel, acquired his own title. Sales proved mediocre, and the character was revamped by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane in issue #17, by merging the hero with Rick Jones via the Kree nega-bands. Thomas has said that the intent of the change was to make the character over into a more science-fiction oriented version of Fawcett Comics' original Captain Marvel [Roy Thomas interview in Daniel Herman, Gil Kane: Art and Interviews, 2002] . Both comics were now about a young man who became a super-hero after being guided to a hidden installation, and who could then in a flash of energy become, or change places with, an adult super-hero in a predominantly red costume.

The revamp did not save the series, and it was cancelled with issue #21. Thomas tied up loose plot-lines from the series in the pages of the Avengers comic book. When the book was revived in the early 1970s, plotter and artist Jim Starlin conceptually revamped the character, although Captain Marvel's appearance remained mostly unchanged. Mar-Vell became the "Protector of the Universe", appointed by the cosmic entity Eon.

However, his career was cut short when he died from cancer on Titan in the presence of the Marvel Universe's superhero community. This event is chronicled in Marvel's first large-format graphic novel, "The Death of Captain Marvel".

Fictional character biography


Mar-Vell is a member of the Kree, a militaristic alien race that is humanoid in appearance. He was born in the city of Rad-Nam on the planet Kree-Lar, in the Kree galaxy (Greater Magellanic Cloud). A captain in the Kree Imperial Militia, Mar-Vell is initially sent to Earth as a spy. After arriving, Mar-Vell takes the identity of the recently deceased Dr. Walter Lawson, a scientist starting a position at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Posing as Lawson, Mar-Vell studies humanity's progress towards developing a means of space travel. After living among humans, however, Mar-Vell begins to empathize with them. He appears publicly in his Kree helmet and uniform to battle a Kree robot Sentry, ultimately defeating it. Onlookers, hearing the Sentry call him "Mar-Vell," believe him to be a new Earth-born superhuman adventurer named "Captain Marvel" and proclaim him a hero. ["Marvel Super-Heroes" #13]

Hero, Traitor

Captain Marvel was next seen battling Namor the Sub-Mariner. ["Captain Marvel" #4] He was found guilty of treason by the Kree Empire, and sentenced to death. ["Captain Marvel" #7] His lover Una was killed by fellow Kree Captain Yon-Rogg. ["Captain Marvel" #8] He was used as a pawn in Kree political power games.

The Kree Supreme Intelligence then gave Mar-Vell superhuman powers, ["Captain Marvel" #15] and a new uniform. ["Captain Marvel" #16]


Mar-Vell eventually finds himself trapped in the Negative Zone. The Kree Supreme Intelligence secretly enables Mar-Vell to telepathically contact Rick Jones, a youth who had previously been a companion to the Hulk, Captain America, and the original Avengers. Jones is lured to a hidden and abandoned Kree base on Earth, where he puts a pair of "nega-bands" around his wrists. After slamming the bands together, Mar-Vell and Jones trade places: Mar-Vell arrives on Earth while Jones, surrounded by a protective aura, is transported to the Negative Zone. ["Captain Marvel" #17] As long as they wear the bands, Mar-Vell and Jones are in telepathic contact. Mar-Vell can only remain on Earth for brief periods of time; if he stays more than three hours, he and Jones switch places automatically.

Mar-Vell managed to escape the Negative Zone by using Mister Fantastic's Nega-Portal to draw Rick out of the Zone while he was on Earth, although it required the aid of the Vision, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch of the Avengers to stop Annihilus following Rick through and subsequently drain off excess radiation that Mar-Vell had absorbed during his time in the Zone before the radiation detonated. ["Avengers" #72] However, his life force was submerged into the body of Rick Jones at the end of the Kree-Skrull War to save the young teen's life due to the drain on his body from channeling the Destiny Force. ["Avengers" #89-99] Jones is later bombarded with a form of electromagnetic radiation by Professor Benjamin Savannah (whose name is an homage to the Fawcett Captain Marvel's principle antagonist, Thaddeus Bodog Sivana). This releases Mar-Vell from Jones' body and allows him to convert solar energy into increased strength and force bolts.

Mar-Vell later encounters Thanos for the first time. ["Captain Marvel" #27]

Protector of the Universe

While battling the Controller, Mar-Vell becomes buried under debris from Avengers Mansion. Before Mar-Vell can escape he is split from Rick Jones, who is left to slowly suffocate under the debris. Rick ultimately survives, but Mar-Vell is teleported to the extraterrestrial being known as Eon. Eon, who was created thousands of years ago to watch over the evolution of superhuman beings on Earth, shows Mar-Vell the true horrors of war. Mar-Vell recognizes that his battles have been in vain, and wishes to change his warrior nature. As a result, Eon bestows upon Mar-Vell great power. Mar-Vell's already formidable reflexes and skills are sharpened. Eon gives Mar-Vell both inner peace as well as a psionic ability called "cosmic awareness", and designates him as "Protector of the Universe." ["Captain Marvel" #29]

He later fights and defeats Thanos. ["Captain Marvel" #33]

Death and beyond

During a battle with the villain Nitro, Mar-Vell is exposed to a powerful nerve gas known as "Compound 13." The gas causes Mar-Vell to collapse, but he is given the antidote to the gas and seems to recover fully. ["Captain Marvel" #34] However, as would be revealed only years later, the gas is also carcinogenic and causes an incurable cancer to develop in Mar-Vell's system.

Mar-Vell later encountered an assemblage of Watchers, ["Captain Marvel" #39] and then battles the Stranger. ["Captain Marvel" #42] Ultimately, Mar-Vell is separated from Rick Jones. ["Captain Marvel" #50] He later joined the Avengers and Adam Warlock in battle against Thanos one final time. ["Avengers Annual" #7; "Marvel-Two-in-One Annual" #2]

Although the nega-bands suppress Mar-Vell's cancer for some time, the disease eventually mutates beyond them. Although the bands' energy now interferes with treatment, removing them is out of the question since they are still necessary to slow the cancer. To make treating Mar-Vell's condition even more daunting, Mar-Vell's status as a traitor to the Kree empire makes asking its medical experts for the necessary knowledge of Kree physiology not an option. Regardless, medical and scientific professionals and superheroes research the problem, but no one can find a cure. Mar-Vell spends his last days on Titan in the presence of his friends, which even includes a decoration by the Skrulls for being a respected enemy. As he slips into a coma, he finds his consciousness in an ethereal realm between life and death.

There, he meets Thanos, who engages Mar-Vell in combat so that he can die in a manner befitting a great warrior. As the battle ends, Mar-Vell, Thanos, and Death walk off into a bright light, presumably into a realm of the afterlife. Back on Titan and surrounded by his lover Elysius of Titan, Rick Jones, the Avengers, and various other friends and heroes, Mar-Vell's heart finally gives out, and his physical body dies. ["Marvel Graphic Novel #1: The Death of Captain Marvel" (1982)] . His grave is marked by a monument on Titan. Mar-Vell is posthumously made an honorary Avenger.

Afterward, on rare occasions, Mar-Vell's spirit sometimes interacts with the living. [Issues of "Silver Surfer" (1987), "Cosmic Powers Unlimited" (1995), and "Captain Marvel" vol. 4] Mar-Vell supposedly returned during the Civil War ["Civil War: The Return"] , being plucked out of space/time after his battle with Nitro but before he starts to show signs of his illness. However, it was later revealed that this was in fact a Skrull impostor named Khn'nr. ["Captain Marvel" miniseries #3 (03/2008)]


Mar-Vell was the father of three children, only one of which was conceived during his lifetime. From an illicit relationship with the Skrull Princess Anelle, he fathered a son. As this union between the Skrull emperor's daughter and a Kree was considered deeply scandalous, it was hushed up, and the boy was brought up on Earth under the name Teddy Altman. He would later become the Young Avenger, Hulkling, and is claimed by both the Skrull and Kree empires.

After his death, Mar-Vell's former lover Elysius impregnates herself with his genetic information on two subsequent occasions. This led to the birth of a son, Genis-Vell, and a daughter Phyla-Vell, who at different points would both take on the name Captain Marvel.

Powers and abilities

Originally, Captain Mar-Vell had no superhuman powers, although he was somewhat stronger than a human due to his advanced Kree physiology. As a species, the Kree have developed greater strength in order to combat the heavier gravity of their home world. He was equipped with a jet belt that allowed him limited flight, and a Uni-beam weapon.

He temporarily gained the power of teleportation from an entity called Zo (actually Zarek, the Kree Imperial Minister, in disguise).

The Kree Nega-Bands converted Mar-Vell's psionic energy into strength, a high degree of imperviousness to harm, the ability to project force blasts, and the power to fly at faster-than-light speeds. They also allowed Mar-Vell to exist unprotected in outer space without having to breathe.

Dr. Benjamin Savannah's electromagnetic radiation bombardment treatment altered Mar-Vell's genetic structure so that he could absorb solar energy and convert it to various uses, including increasing his already superhuman strength and durability, and giving him the ability of flight. He then relied on the solar power rather than the bands for flight. His abilities would decrease at night or when otherwise shielded from a source of solar radiation. After becoming "cosmically aware", Mar-Vell would leave a glowing trail behind him while flying.

The exact nature and scope of the "cosmic awareness" granted to Mar-Vell have never been clearly defined. In later volumes of "Captain Marvel" involving Genis-Vell, the power of cosmic awareness is described as an almost immeasurable force that allows the user to know all that has occurred, all that will occur, and all that "might" occur anywhere in the universe. The sense could also be used for internal scans of Mar-Vell's body which detected the cancer, although he still sought expert confirmation. Without proper experience and a level of control, this sense of all-knowing can drive an individual insane (as it did with Genis-Vell).

Mar-Vell's Kree military training gives him mastery of all forms of Kree unarmed combat, as well as extensive knowledge of the technologically advanced vehicles and devices of the Kree Empire.

Other versions

Ultimate Captain Marvel

The character called Mahr Vehl is intended to be the Ultimate imprint version of Mar-Vell. Mahr Vehl is introduced in the Ultimate Marvel limited series, "Ultimate Secret," and is a main character in "Ultimate Extinction".

Earth X

In "Universe X", Mar-Vell is reincarnated as the child of the synthetic Him (Adam Warlock) and Her (Kismet) while his soul remains in the Realm of the Dead. Captain America becomes the Mar-Vell child's guardian and embarks on a worldwide quest with his new ward to obtain various items in order to deal with Earth's restless mutant population and prepare for an impending war in the Realm of the Dead. In the Realm of the Dead, Mar-Vell leads an army of deceased heroes and villains against Thanos and Death itself. Using the assembled artifacts finally in his possession, Mar-Vell shows Thanos how Death has manipulated him, convincing him to use the Ultimate Nullifier on the entity. With Death killed, Mar-Vell constructs a Paradise in the center of the Negative Zone for the dead to inhabit but those among the living find themselves unable to die. In "Paradise X", Reed and a legion of heroes confront Mar-Vell. After Paradise is nearly conquered in the name of the Supreme Intelligence by the arriving souls of the Kree military, Mar-Vell explains to Reed that he is to become the new Eternity.

In other media

Video Games

* Captain Marvel is a PSP exclusive character in "" voiced by Roger Rose. The first costume is Genis-Vell, followed by Genis in his Kree soldier uniform, Captain Mar-Vell, and finally Ultimate Captain Marvel.


In December 2006, Toy Biz produced its last wave of Marvel Legends action figures with Captain Mar-Vell being one of the final figures. A variant figure of his son, Genis-Vell, was also released in this line.

Collected editions

A number of the stories featuring Captain Marvel have been collected into trade paperbacks:

*"Marvel Masterworks: Captain Marvel" (collects "Captain Marvel" (vol. 1) #1-9, and "Marvel Super-Heroes" #12-13, 230 pages, September 2005, ISBN 0-7851-1821-7)

*"Essential Captain Marvel" (collects "Captain Marvel" (vol. 1) #1-21, and "Marvel Super-Heroes" #12-13, 512 pages, July 2008, ISBN 0-7851-3059-4)

*"The Life of Captain Marvel" (collects "Iron Man" #55, "Captain Marvel" (vol. 1) #25-34, and "Marvel Feature" #12, 1991, ISBN 087135635X)

*"The Life And Death Of Captain Marvel" (collects "Iron Man" #55, "Captain Marvel" (vol. 1) #25-34, "Marvel Feature" #12, and "Marvel Graphic Novel" #1, 304 pages, February 2002, ISBN 0-7851-0837-8)

*"Captain Marvel: First Contact" (collects "Captain Marvel" (vol. 2) #0-6, 160 pages, August 2001, ISBN 0-7851-0791-6)

*"Captain Marvel" (vol. 3):
**"Nothing to Lose" (collects #1-6, 136 pages, June 2003, ISBN 0-7851-1104-2)
**"Coven" (collects #7-12, 136 pages, October 2003, ISBN 0-7851-1306-1)
**"Crazy Like a Fox" #13-18, 136 pages, May 2004, ISBN 0-7851-1340-1)
**"Coven" (collects #19-25, 160 pages, November 2004, ISBN 0-7851-1530-7)

*"Captain Marvel: Secret Invasion" (collects "Captain Marvel" (vol. 4) #1-5, and "Civil War: The Return", hardcover, 136 pages, August 2008, ISBN 0-7851-3303-8)



* [ Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell}] at the Marvel Directory
*comicbookdb|type=character|id=2936|title=Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell)
* [ Captain Marvel] at the Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators
* [ "Captain Marvel"] at the Big Comic Book Database
*gcdb series|id=1861|title="Captain Marvel" (1968)
*gcdb series|id=6296|title="Captain Marvel" (2000)
*gcdb series|id=10791|title="Captain Marvel" (2002)
*gcdb series|id=27472|title="Captain Marvel" (2008)

External links

* [ Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell}] at the Marvel Universe
* [ Captain Marvel Culture] , a history of the many Captain Marvels
* [ Captain Marvel Appearances in Publication Order]

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