Does No One In the Press Actually Know Ms. Marvel’s History?

 

The Cleveland Plain Dealer added to the mess that the Captain Marvel movie’s becoming, with an unimpressive article bringing up her history that also shamelessly takes a swipe at moviegoers discouraged by star Brie Larson’s activist approach to promotion. It begins:

The hero of Marvel’s “Captain Marvel” movie, which opens March 8, has the most complicated backstories in comic history, second only to DC’s Hawkman. And to further complicate matters, rival DC/Warner Brothers will release its own movie starring yet another Captain Marvel in April under the name “Shazam.”

Confused? We’re just getting started.

Indeed. Because there’s some stuff here that just isn’t handled well, and besides, if you look more closely at DC’s Hawkman history, you’ll see that the confusion only began after the 80s ended and the Thanagarian history was rebooted. As for Carol Danvers, she went through 2-3 different roles or codenames, and IMO, the claim her history is any more confused than Hawkman’s is more like hot air, because, like I said, if you look more closely under a magnifying glass, you can understand better what happened.

To confuse the issue even further, the Captain Marvel of the upcoming Marvel movie was not even the first Marvel character to use the name. The current name holder is Carol Danvers and she is Marvel Comic’s seventh Captain Marvel in 50 years.

The good news is that the movie, starring Academy Award winner Brie Larson in the title role, will not go into all the history. The movie is set in the 1990s and also stars Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury; Ben Mendelsohn as Talos; Annette Bening as Supreme Intelligence; Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson and Jude Law as the alien Kree bad guy, Yon-Rogg. The movie will not dwell on those other Captain Marvels to keep the movie less than 12 hours long.

Unfortunately, that’s no guarantee it’ll be exciting – let alone interesting – either. Besides, as I’d argued before, why must Carol be in the Captain Marvel role instead of Monica Rambeau? Now about that stealth attack on the fans, here’s what it says:

The movie is based on Kelly Sue DeConnick’s run on Captain Marvel comics, where Danvers finally assumes the mantle of Captain Marvel and becomes a feminist super-hero symbol in the modern world. That aspect has already raised the ire of some comic fans, (ignoring the fact that they have not yet seen the movie), who fear the idea of a powerful female character diluting the mostly male super gene pool. They represent a tiny minority – though vocal — of comic readers.

Oh, fascinating. So in other words, anybody galled at how this movie has been handled so far isn’t a fan of Wonder Woman and Storm, is that right? It goes without saying, this does a terrible disfavor not only to the audience, but to the whole industry and its reputation, by smearing the audience as “sexists”, and ignoring Larson’s insults to white men.

And whether they think so or not, they’ve also insulted moviegoers, plenty of whom I’m sure saw Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman movie 2 years ago, and unlike Brie Larson, Gadot didn’t engage in divisive promotion tactics. You can be sure plenty of the moviegoers are female too, for that matter, and to obscure their viewpoints only hurts things even further.

As for the feminism, any featured in her stories when she was first cast in the Ms. Marvel role during the late 70s was nothing compared to the extreme approach seen today. The article does at least mention that a black woman took up Mar-Vell’s mantle though:

The original Captain Marvel died of cancer in 1982, a startling development in the comic world. Later that year, a black woman with light powers took the name. She would change her code name several times. In 1993, Captain Marvel’s son took his father’s name, but went crazy and was killed. Twice. Then the original Captain Marvel’s daughter took up the role briefly. Later, an alien Skrull impersonated the original Captain Marvel for a while, claiming to be the original hero who was time-travelling. The Skrull was such a good copy that he became the hero he impersonated and was killed.

Amazing they acknowledge Monica Rambeau was the original woman to succeed Mar-Vell, though curiously, they don’t mention it directly by name. But a shame no opinions voiced on how sad it is that Genis-Vell was trashed in the late 2000s, nearly 15 years after he first debuted. What good is that?

In 1977, during an adventure with the original Captain Marvel, Danvers’ DNA was fused with the hero’s when an alien device exploded. It gave her her superhuman powers such as flight and super-strength which she used to fight evil under the name Ms. Marvel. She eventually joined the Avengers.

She went through major changes in the comics, including a period that Marvel Comics would rather forget, when she was raped and impregnated by a time-traveler. She gave birth to the perhaps same man that would impregnate her (time travel, go figure) and was stranded for years in a Limbo dimension. When she emerged after her rapist’s death, she was understandably angry with her fellow Avengers who did nothing to rescue her from the mind-control powers of her captor. They thought she went willingly.

I thought what “Marvel might want to forget” was the time when Hank Pym battered Janet Van Dyne? Though I’ll certainly agree, the story where Carol was mind-controlled by Immortus was in very questionable taste, and Chris Claremont at least tried to rectify everything in the Avengers Annual of 1981, which is alluded to in the following paragraph, which curiously has some holes in it:

But when she returned to Earth, she lost her powers and her memory. Professor X of the X-Men was able to restore her memories, but not her powers. Considering how badly she was treated by the Avengers, she did not go back for years. Instead, she worked with the X-Men. In 1982, during an outer space jaunt with the X-Men, she was given the powers of a white hole (opposite of a black hole) and inexplicably renamed herself Binary, which is certainly a better code name than “White Hole.”

How strange they don’t mention Rogue’s role in any loss of her powers and memories, in her earliest appearance, when she first began as crook in the employ of Mystique before reforming, and joining the X-Men, which may have been a reason for Carol’s departure from their company too.

And how come they offered no criticism of the writers who were in charge that came up with that Oedipus Rex-like story in the first place, Jim Shooter among them? Addtionally, I’m wondering why he thought it a great idea to all but kick some such players to the curb, which later resulted in the first Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew, being temporarily killed before fandom prevailed in reversing this fate, though a 2nd Spider-Woman, Julia Carpenter, still succeeded her during Secret Wars, even as the first one kept her powers.

Finally, in 2012, Danvers decided it was time to take on the identity of Captain Marvel. Since then, the character has risen to prominence as one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel universe and a “Captain” who is actually part of the military. To round out the story, in 2013, a teenage Muslim from Jersey City named Kamala Khan gains super powers and becomes the new Ms. Marvel, completing the circle.

Considering Danvers is a fictional character, she is not the one who “decided” anything. Rather, it was the editors and writers under the now-ousted Axel Alonso, who are also responsible for foisting Islamic propaganda on the Marvel Universe, and have been shoving it down everyone’s throats since. To have such a conception cast in Carol’s original role has made it a real embarrassment.

The new Captain Marvel is a no-nonsense superhero that has the trust of the government, spy agencies like SHIELD and the world’s superhero community. She is by no means the comic industry’s first female superhero, but has captured the imagination of comic readers everywhere and become a symbol of the gender equality movement.

 

Depending how you see it, she was reduced to a minor player after her solo book ran only 3 years (both Spider-Woman and Dazzler ran much longer, 5 years each), and Danvers did not have a big presence in the Marvel Universe again until the mid-2000s, it’s hard to say if she’s “captured everyone’s imagination” in the same way as Wonder Woman did, or even Black Canary and Scarlet Witch, the latter whose prominent role in the Avengers provided her with a spotlight for many years in some way or other. There’s also several X-Women to consider. What these would-be experts fail to consider is that a character who, at least for a long time, was not as prominent as she should’ve been, and then, when it could’ve been hoped for again, she was made to look very bad during the 2006 Civil War crossover, demonstrating how the time for her to be “popular” was sadly past.

If the movie fails, it’ll only compound that negative view.

One of the commenters on the poorly written article had this to say:

Saying that this film is being criticized by people “… who fear the idea of a powerful female character diluting the mostly male super gene pool…” is absurd. It is being criticized by people who think a movie should be marketed on the strength of it’s story, characters, the pace and plot arc, and the ability to surprise and delight, etc. What we’ve seen in terms of this film (and confirmed by this puff piece) is that Hollywood expects audiences to show up (and pony up large sums of cash) to be preached to (and in the case of some film, literally brainwashed) with a nonsense political agenda. Avengers did a disservice to the hero-verse’s “strong” female characters by including black widow as basically a token, while omitting Moondragon, She-hulk, and a host of other near-omnipotent women whose emotional and psychological viewpoints contrast their male counterparts. Why? Because they knew audiences would turn out for a fun adventure film but not a preachy/political feminism driven piece of schlock like what we’ve seen from Star Wars lately. I challenge readers to pull up the trailers for Shazam and Captain Marvel, watch them one after the other with their kids, especially girls, and ask them which one looks like it’s going to be more fun to watch. (And along the way, ask yourself why the Captain Marvel trailer includes a shot of her slugging an old lady on the subway?)

What?!? Unless it’s a Skrull she attacked, I just don’t see the point of including that scene. Or, there could be a point, but maybe it’s just not the best way to advertise…

And that’s not all.

In related news, Samuel Jackson, a prominent cast member of the film as Nick Fury, made things worse by going political (via Cosmic Book News):

Actor Samuel L. Jackson’s decision to liken President Trump to a Civil War-era “plantation” owner is not likely to thrill movie producers who are dealing with a public relations nightmare for the upcoming “Captain Marvel” movie

The man who plays “Nick Fury” for Marvel Studios waded into racial politics on Monday while controversy swirls around “Captain Marvel” lead Brie Larson for comments she made about “white men” and “the patriarchy.”

“[Trump] said that he’s done more for African-Americans than almost any other president,” a TMZ reporter told Mr. Jackson as he walked through Los Angeles International Airport.

“Yeah, he’s got a bigger plantation,” Mr. Jackson replied.

The comments came hours before the movie aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes took down its “Want to See” category as interest in “Captain Marvel” plummeted below 30 percent.

Hmm, it could be they realized Jackson’s political activism by extension could further jeopardize the film’s finances, so they all panicked and undermined the site’s reputation.

Feedback to Mr. Jackson’s comments echoed similar sentiments over his co-star’s activism.

“This guy is in the new Feminist movie Captain Marvelette, isn’t he?” asked a reader on the conservative website The Daily Wire. “That seals it: I’m watching Shazam! Which looks like it’s going to be funnier and I can take my daughter to it too!”

“Keep it up Jackson, and people like me will stop going to see your movies because of your big, hateful mouth,” added another.

“Just one more reason to avoid seeing Captain Marvel,” wrote a third person.

It’s clear the more actors engage in activism, the less people are interested in seeing their films. The public’s fed up, no matter their political standings. And the fact this film’s star wears a full bodysuit, belittling the classic one-piece that was by far the most impressive, is one of the reasons you shouldn’t take your daughters to see it, because all they’ve done is imply a woman’s body is filthy, body-shame women and make it look and sound like being sexy and sexuality is inherently bad. In contrast to Gadot’s WW movie, which, again, had plenty of junior cosplayers wearing outfits similar to the famous bustier, proving there are parents who don’t see such outfits as inherently wrong.

We’ll see how well this movie does when it opens next weekend. But for now, the signs sure don’t look good. They actually look better for the film based on Shazam, if only because its own stars so far may not be making the same mistakes as Captain Marvel’s leading stars.


Originally posted at the Four Color Media Monitor blog

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Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1