An MCU hero hasn’t lived up to her potential as Marvel’s Wonder Woman, namely due to her continued lack of iconic friends, foes and stories.
Captain Marvel has been one of the most pushed and promoted heroes in the Marvel Universe. However, in the past several years, she’s also been one of the most controversial. Some have seen said push as inorganic, namely criticizing her development as an attempt to give Marvel Comics its own version of DC’s Wonder Woman. The result is a big, flashy promotion with very little substance.
Carol Danvers does indeed have a lot of potential, but it’s been squandered throughout the past decade that she’s taken the Captain Marvel moniker. Still lacking villains, supporting cast members and anything resembling an iconic story, Carol’s spotlight has seemingly been all for naught. Here’s how Marvel can fix this character and make the most out of her new mainstream status.
One big thematic problem with trying to force Carol into the “Wonder Woman” slot was that it was unnatural. Marvel has never really had such a role in their universe, and any character artificially put into that status would need to suddenly match the iconography of the Amazing Amazon. This meant that Carol would no longer have the flaws that helped her gain a bit of popularity in the past. Beforehand, Carol was a somewhat cocky woman who regularly made mistakes and had a life filled with trauma. For example, having her powers drained by Rogue. Much of this was glossed over after she became Captain Marvel, however, and any semblance of a flawed personality was replaced by a stoic stonewall of a character.
By no longer drawing from the past and the erasure of the legacy of the original Captain Mar-Vell, much of Carol’s push comes off as illegitimate. Marvel refuses to touch upon her older, sometimes less than heroic days, making it seem as if the Marvel Universe’s “best hero ever” came out of nowhere. Such criticism was many times thrown toward the Sentry, who had the same issue. Even then, the Sentry still had flaws by way of his feud with the Void and his mental issues, whereas Carol is rarely shown in such a relatable light. This could be compared to Superman and Wonder Woman but at least those two earned their heroic statuses by constantly saving and inspiring people. Carol’s reverence is much more synthetic, and this lack of depth extends to other issues with her character.
Giving Carol Danvers Flaws and a Supporting Cast Could Redeem Her
Carol is not an incredibly layered hero, at least not in her current form, but this issue could be fixed by giving her stronger characters to bounce off of. Carol lacks a supporting cast and a stable base of operations, making her stories inconsistent. Giving Carol a group of allies for her to care about, argue with and hang out with would not only raise the stakes of her adventures but also make her a stronger, more human character. These friends could reflect her values and give her something to fight for and protect. The same goes for a love interest, which could spice things up in the drama department. All of these characters must be original cast members, however, as stealing from other properties will only cement Captain Marvel’s questionable push.
Of course, a hero is only as good as their villains, and beyond the Skrulls and Kree, Captain Marvel has none of these. Too many of her stories involve the multiverse and armies of amorphous alien races, with some of the latter being foes faced by all kinds of other Marvel heroes. A two-year run on Captain Marvel should feature at least 4-5 new villains who vex Captain Marvel on a physical and personal level, with their arcs opening the door for them to return. Likewise, their threats should tie into other parts of Carol’s life to further challenge her character.
Implementing these elements will require Marvel to admit that there’s a problem with how Carol Danvers has been handled. Sure, she has a one billion dollar movie to her name, but much of that can be tied to hyping up the succeeding Avengers: Endgame. Carol now needs something that gives her some true gravitas in the comics beyond being a “female icon,” and with any luck, this level of care and attention to her power and potential could translate to the big screen.