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Which Captain Marvel is Greatest?

There's five of them. Let's compare and contrast.

 That OTHER cosmic legacy.

Part of the fun of a rich continuity is seeing a superhero mantle become a “legacy” held by several names over the years. Like looking at the rosters of your favorite sports team, its intriguing to debate on how each bearer handled the role, reflected the times and, most importantly, compared to his successors or predecessors. Comic Vine’s friend, James Robinson, of course, explored this to great effect in his STARMAN run. While there are plenty of such legacies at DC,  there are actually only a few at Marvel. The characters who seem to have the successions are the captains - - there have been seven Captain Americas and five Captain Marvels - - and I suppose that's fitting given how captains are wont to get promoted and demoted in real life. 

Anyway, since I’ve always had a fondness for these "Protectors of the Universe," I figured I’d do some commentary and comparison of the five who've held this iconic title and perhaps even decide who my favorite is in the process.  == TEASER ==

#1: MAR-VELL

The originator. The traitor to the Kree empire. The "hero born from holocaust." His adventures in the 70s and earlys 80s didn't have the cohesive sweep of Jim Starlin's other cosmic hero, Adam Warlock, and I think that, in a lot of ways, he’s more interesting being dead. THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN MARVEL is one of the most moving stories I’ve ever read in comics (superhero or otherwise) and I know that it's added considerably to the character's mythic and mystique. Furthering all of that, I throughly enjoy the messianic reinterpretation he got in the EARTH X saga. 

#2 MONICA RAMBEAU (AKA Photon & Pulsar)

Unfortunately, just by nature of the windows of when I was reading, I never really got enough “face time” with this lady to properly judge her. She made her debut the same year that Mar-Vell died and quickly came to lead the Avengers - - which was pretty ballsy for the time. She's also one of those possibly-overpowered characters, given the sheer range of energy at her disposal. Part of the appeal was that she was such a radical departure from the line, though I do think maybe she’s in need of somebody to properly retcon her to fit more into this lineage' s scheme.

#3 GENIS-VELL (AKA Legacy & Photon)

The lunatic. The misbegotten creation. The artificial son. Much like how Mar-Vell got more interesting when he was dead, I vastly preferred "insane" Genis over the straight man we saw for the first half of Peter David's run. It's a shame he was killed off so early in THUNDERBOLTS, long before his oft-prophesized romance with Songbird could fully develop. As an aside, I think both Carlos Pacheco’s starry redesign from AVENGERS FOREVER and Alex Ross' back-to-basics redesign are some of the sleekest costumes in all of comics. 

#4 PHYLA-VELL (AKA Quasar & Martyr) 

The heretic. The fraternal usurper. Joan of Arc in space. If the retcon that introduced Genis seemed like it came out of left field, then this came from a whole other ballpark. With time and distance, though, it fits more and more. She claimed the rights to the title while Genis still had it, but then went down her own, radical path. There was an odd tragedy to her situation as the last (and estranged, at that) survivor of the "House of Vell." She was just recently killed off in THANOS IMPERATIVE and, like Genis, I feel like we didn't get to see her fullest potential realized either.

#5 NOH-VARR (AKA Marvel Boy & the Protector)

The rebel. The once self-proclaimed enemy of Earth.  He’s my favorite of Grant Morrison’s creations and, not surprisingly, my favorite Captain Marvel (even though he technically “stole” the title during DARK REIGN.) If you've read the original MARVEL BOY mini-series, you know he’s got attitude to make Genis’ pony tail days look tame and his powers give Mar-Vell's a run in the "trippy" department. I'm so glad he's back in the fold in Avengers. Hopefully this punk will finally get his own title again one of these days. 

Of course, I have to mention the "unofficial" Captain Marvels like Quasar and Ms. Marvel, as well as Billy Batson and the totally-clever "background gag" Captain Marvel who showed up in Amalgam. All of you maniacs are free to agree or disagree... in fact I encourage it. Slap your Nega-Bands together and put your avatars forward for some heated discussion about which Captain's the best!
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Posted by Krakoa

THERE'S ONLY ONE CAPTAIN MARVEL

Lol. Well, if I have to go against my usual grain and be serious, I'd go with #1, because I like the way Starlin did the whole Kree thing. 
Posted by Sublimedo

Anyone from Nextwave wins for me...Rambeau forever.. 
Posted by tonis

Although I'd agree with Krakoa that Fawcett/DC has the coolest CM ever. From the Marvel universe Mar-Vell is without a doubt the stuff of legends.

Posted by weapon154

Mar-Vell from the Marvel Universe is the greatest, he's the Marvel Superman,DC Captain Marvel is just a kid, inexperienced and short.

Posted by batman_is_god
@Tom Pinchuk:
Billy Batson is the greatest Captain Mrvel
Posted by Mumbles

#3 was cool when david wrote him

Posted by Ferro Vida

I've always strongly liked Mar-Vell. I didn't know why that was when I was younger, but something about his story spoke to me. This was a man who had everything to lose by betraying the Kree, yet he chose to side with Earth. Why? He was a high-ranking military officer, and there's no telling how far he could have gone in the Kree Empire if he hadn't betrayed them. 
 
More impressive than that, though, is his death. Mar-Vell was a hero to the very end. I guess that's why he's my favorite.

Posted by Silkcuts
@Krakoa said:
" THERE'S ONLY ONE CAPTAIN MARVEL
The Big Red Cheese for me too :D
 
Side note, if I had to vote a Marvel guy, then its the Marvel Boy! Grant Morrison is Aces.
Posted by The Sadhu
@Krakoa said:
"THERE'S ONLY ONE CAPTAIN MARVEL
 
Lol. Well, if I have to go against my usual grain and be serious, I'd go with #1, because I like the way Starlin did the whole Kree thing.  "
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt
@Krakoa said:
"THERE'S ONLY ONE CAPTAIN MARVEL
 
 Yep, Billy is king. But from Marvel, Noh-Varr. Never cared for any of the others. Ms Marvel is where it's at.  
Posted by Nova`Prime`

Mar-vell is definitely the greatest Captain Marvel.

Edited by Metatron_Da_Don
Genis-Vell because he was the first Captain for me, and his "Power Cosmic" felt so original and awesome to me but he went crazy on me, and then he changed his name, and then he died...Noh-Varr is close although he is "The Protector", right now. Bring Genis-Vell back. Since he is an alien I will forgive him for his phallic sounding name.
Posted by Danial79

For whatever reason, the Cosmic stuff has never grabbed me. Which is strange, because I like sci-fi films : /

Posted by Icarusflies
@Krakoa said:
" THERE'S ONLY ONE CAPTAIN MARVEL

Moderator
Posted by turoksonofstone
@Krakoa said:
" THERE'S ONLY ONE CAPTAIN MARVEL
Lol. Well, if I have to go against my usual grain and be serious, I'd go with #1, because I like the way Starlin did the whole Kree thing.  "
Edited by ArtisticNeedham
I liked Avengers Forever's Captain Marvel costume, and then the series that came from that where Rick Jones was part of him and before Genis went crazy.
 
 
 
 
 
 
How about:
  Captain Marvel: 
MONICA RAMBEAU (AKA Photon & Pulsar) 
Posted by TheMess1428

This reminds me that not that many people probably know that there have been 5 Batmans, 5 Robins, and 5 Batgirls in DC Comics history.

Posted by longbowhunter

Hey I own that Starman poster!
Posted by UrmanitaRules
@Krakoa:  I agree!
Posted by Telcalipoca
@TheMess1428 said:
" This reminds me that not that many people probably know that there have been 5 Batmans, 5 Robins, and 5 Batgirls in DC Comics history. "
wait whaaaaaaaaaaaaT? 
 
i only know of 3 batmans and 4 batgirls! 
are you counting future mantle holders i.e. damian and Tim for batman? 
still i have 1 batgirl missing who is  she!!
Posted by Black Lantern Mar-vell

Mar-vell
Posted by oldgum

I just want Phyla back.

Edited by <the skull>

not only is there a lot of captain Americas and captain marvels but there is also   
Captain Universe

Posted by The Average Bear
@ Really common knowledge
Posted by TheMess1428
@Telcalipoca: Batman: Bruce, Jean-Paul, Dick, Jason, and Tim. (Jason and Tim were both Batman briefly during Battle for the Cowl.) Batgirl: Bette, Barbara, Helena, Cassandra, and Stephanie.
Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir
@Silkcuts said:
" @Krakoa said:
" THERE'S ONLY ONE CAPTAIN MARVEL
The Big Red Cheese for me too :D  Side note, if I had to vote a Marvel guy, then its the Marvel Boy! Grant Morrison is Aces. "
Doubleplusgood
Posted by lostlantern13
@Krakoa said:
" THERE'S ONLY ONE CAPTAIN MARVEL
Lol. Well, if I have to go against my usual grain and be serious, I'd go with #1, because I like the way Starlin did the whole Kree thing.  "
I'll be the latest to quote this awesome pic and profess my love of the best Captain Marvel.
Posted by Xion
@Krakoa said:
" THERE'S ONLY ONE CAPTAIN MARVEL
Lol. Well, if I have to go against my usual grain and be serious, I'd go with #1, because I like the way Starlin did the whole Kree thing.  "
i agree! there is only one Captain Marvel for me and its him :D
Edited by Deadcool

HE IS THE BEST!!!
Man! even a Skrull that thought that he was Mar-Vell was heroic, even when he knew that he wasn't the real Mar-vell he continued protecting the earth.... (Mighty Avengers #19)

Posted by NightFang
@Krakoa said:
"THERE'S ONLY ONE CAPTAIN MARVEL
Posted by ssejllenrad

Lord Mar-Vell of The Cancerverse
Posted by The_Martian

 Noh Freakin Varr
Posted by sterpazook

David'd Genis-Vell and Mar-Vell from Trilogy X

Posted by Decept-O

Great article, nicely done.  Have to agree about Monica Rambeau, she was too powerful, which is odd in a way.  I never cared for her costume, either, but personality-wise, I like how she was written.   
 
I know G-Man doesn't dig space/sci-fi comics too much, but Jim Starlin's run on Captain Mar-Vell is the stuff of renown.  Also one of the most memorable covers, the "Death of Captain Mar-Vell", which was one of the first Graphic Novel Trade Paperbacks if I recall correctly ( not the first I believe,  but one of the first trades.  Could be wrong. ).
Posted by grayrick949
@NightFang:  Aww snap! 
Posted by Vixen

Something about Phyla stood out to me. Too bad shes gone the way of a lot of Marvel people. Death. :/

Posted by goldenkey

Mar Vell is just classic.  He still has yet to return.  It'll happen sooner or later as will Qusar.  Mar Vell is the great to take the name Captain Marvel, but  Qusar is the best of those quantam band wairing hero's

Posted by Eyz
@Krakoa said:
" THERE'S ONLY ONE CAPTAIN MARVEL
Lol. Well, if I have to go against my usual grain and be serious, I'd go with #1, because I like the way Starlin did the whole Kree thing.  "
Word!
Posted by CaptainGenisVell

YAY ME! :D

Posted by ohrenclez
@Krakoa said:
" THERE'S ONLY ONE CAPTAIN MARVEL
Lol. Well, if I have to go against my usual grain and be serious, I'd go with #1, because I like the way Starlin did the whole Kree thing.  "
Posted by iLLituracy

My personal favorite is Genis. 

Posted by ronnastie
 CAPTAIN MARVEL 1966 -  MF Enterprises
Posted by Morpheus_
@iLLituracy said:
" My personal favorite is Genis.  "
Moderator
Posted by Dr. Detfink

Captain Marvel (Mar-vell) is obviously the greatest of them all. Why? He's the only dead hero that has stayed dead for the longest time in the Marvel U. What's more heroic than staying dead in this retcon age? The Death of Captain Marvel is the best swan song for a super hero now that Barry Allen is alive. It's not just about the character but the writing of Starlin.

Posted by spider-man 2996

Mar-vell
Edited by cold_fuzion

Billy is the best. No contest.
 
For Marvel, however, I gotta go with crazy Gennis-Vell. That was an awesome run of comics and a fantastic character design. I hope he comes back eventually.

Posted by thatlad

I'm only familiar with Noh-Varr so not really in a good position to say who's best but I do like the noh-varr character. Not entirely sold on his new costume though, sometime's it's drawn really ugly

Posted by Achilles.
@ohrenclez said:
" @Krakoa said:
" THERE'S ONLY ONE CAPTAIN MARVEL
Lol. Well, if I have to go against my usual grain and be serious, I'd go with #1, because I like the way Starlin did the whole Kree thing.  "
"
Posted by Theodore

Earth-9997 Earth X
Posted by N7_Normandy

Noh-Varr!

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