<i>By <a href=http://www.twitter.com/graemem>Graeme McMillan, Newsarama Contributor</a></i> <p>With Marvel set to announce a new <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/captain-marvel-wondercon-teaser.html><b>Captain Marvel</b> project at WonderCon</a> in Anaheim this weekend, it's worth remembering the many, many characters from multiple publishers who have, at one time or another, claimed that particular name. <p>Sure, you're familiar with the ones who've taken their powers from mythical figures or alien races, but some were fans of splitting when the action happened. <p>With that in mind, here are the top 10 Captain Marvels through the ages. Xam! <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>
What's that, you say? You didn't know there was a Billy Mar-Vell? Clearly, you weren't reading <em>JLX</em> #1, the one-shot that spun out of the <em>DC vs. Marvel</em> miniseries from the mid 1990s. Created by Gerard Jones, Mark Waid and Howard Porter, This Captain Marvel was exactly what you would expect from a universe created from mixing the DC and Marvel universes together: When young Billy says the magic word "Kree!" he becomes an adult enhanced by alien super-science, with a costume that mixes the original CM with the original Marvel CM. <p><b>Odds of this being the Captain Marvel that Marvel is teasing:</b> So high as to be almost impossible, considering that the character is, essentially, the classic CC Beck character with a slightly different costume and Marvel-centric magic word.
When he died in the classic graphic novel (plainly titled <i>The Death of Captain Marvel</i>), Marvel's original Captain Marvel still had one super power: The ability to create legacy spin-off characters. Phyla-Vell may have claimed the name of Captain Marvel, but her brother Genis-Vell wasn't exactly willing to give it up without a fight, sending Phyla into a tailspin of super heroic identities including Quasar and Martyr, the latter presumably appealing to the same demographic that thought that Penance was a good idea. <p><b>Odds of this being the Captain Marvel that Marvel is teasing:</b> High, considering that she is currently dead and not of high enough prestige to likely prompt a resurrection anytime soon.
Although he goes by the name "Protector" nowadays, Noh-Var once pretended to be Captain Marvel as part of Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers. Not the greatest claim to the name for the former Marvel Boy - although Daken did manage to get two different runs as <em>Dark Wolverine</em> out of the idea, and Moonstone did temporarily take over the <em>Ms. Marvel</em> series as a result, so the idea had merit for some - but in his defense, Noh-Var did have the good sense to realize how rotten the entire enterprise was and jump ship early on, keeping the name from being tarnished for too long. <p><b>Odds of this being the Captain Marvel that Marvel is teasing:</b> Medium. Noh-Var is already an Avenger, and his potentially taking on the Captain Marvel mantle properly has been teased in the <em>New Avengers: Illuminati</em> series, so it wouldn't be out of the question.
Not content with calling himself "Captain Marvel Jr." for most of his existence, Freddy took on the main role following DC's <em>Infinite Crisis</em>, as Billy Batson found himself taking residence on the Rock of Eternity following the disappearance of the wizard Shazam. Well, kind of. Thing is, Freddy never actually took on the title "Captain Marvel" officially; he called himself "Shazam," instead (And you thought that it was only The New 52 that made that particular change), while Billy also abandoned the title to become just plain "Marvel." <p><b>Odds of this being the Captain Marvel that Marvel is teasing:</b> Out of sight high. This isn't the Captain Marvel that you're looking for.
While it's true that Carol has only taken the Captain Marvel name in the <em>House of M</em> reality, it's worth pointing out that that was when the character was at her best at least in her eyes. While she may not have the blood relative card to play like Genis-Vell or Phyla-Vell, Carol has the super heroic experience, the connections and the fan base to ensure that she could make the most of the name if she has the chance in the mainstream Marvel Universe. After all, "Ms." Marvel was a pretty outdated name even a couple of years after the character was created. <p><b>Odds of this being the Captain Marvel that Marvel is teasing:</b> Pretty good. After all, there are already rumors of which writer will be handling the new book, with Carol in place as the title character...
Between the original CC Beck character and the Marvel character, there was this spectacular (and spectacularly weird) creation from Carl Burgos, the man behind the original Human Torch, a robot whose primary super power was the ability to send various parts of his body flying from his body by shouting "Split!" (Don't worry, he could pull himself back together afterwards by yelling "Xam!"). Only six issues featuring this truly bizarre character were published by small publisher MF Publications back in 1966, but we can only hope that, one day, he will return. <p><b>Odds of this being the Captain Marvel that Marvel is teasing:</b> Depressingly high, unless Marvel has secretly purchased the rights to the character when no-one was watching.
Just months after Mar-Vell's death, a new character appeared to take his place or, at least, his title. Although Monica never became a breakout character in the same way that others who've claimed the Captain Marvel name have, her long service with the Avengers (and, for that matter, her time with Nextwave) have won her a quiet fan base who have followed her through titles like <em>Marvel Divas</em> and <em>Young Allies</em>, hoping to see the character get the spotlight so very much deserves. <p><b>Odds of this being the Captain Marvel that Marvel is teasing:</b> Slightly higher than evens. She is still around and active in the Marvel Universe, but (according to Tom Brevoort) won't be seen in the <em>Avengers vs. X-Men</em> event, and hasn't been using the "Captain Marvel" name in quite some time.
Mar-Vell's son, and hero of <em>Avengers Forever</em>, Genis-Vell first appeared as a hero calling himself "Legacy" before taking on not only his father's heroic identity, but also his former sidekick/partner when he found himself bound to Rick Jones via the Nega-Bands, just as his father had. Gifted with cosmic awareness, he struggled with time paradoxes that saw him decide to kill his son in order to save existence as well as, ultimately, a destiny that saw him destroy the universe in every possible timeline... a future avoided only with his seeming death by being split into different pieces hidden across the Darkforce Dimension. Clearly, he needs to "Xam!" as soon as possible. <p><b>Odds of this being the Captain Marvel that Marvel is teasing:</b> Reasonably high; not only is the character dead for all intents and purposes, but there seems little point to bringing him back when other dead characters would have much more dramatic impact if revived.
Marvel Comics' original Captain Marvel died in the company's first graphic novel back in 1982, and has since come to stand for heroism and nobility in the same way that Barry Allen used to do for DC Comics, post-<em>Crisis on Infinite Earths</em> and pre-<em>Final Crisis</em>. Not only did he turn against his own race in order to protect the Earth, he also ushered in the cosmic career of Jim Starlin in the 1970s and provided a sincerity and finality to comic book death that even multiple temporary resurrections hasn't devalued. <p><b>Odds of this being the Captain Marvel that Marvel is teasing:</b> Honestly? It's hard to say. We've seen the character apparently resurrected on the cover of a <em>Secret Avengers</em> tie-in to <em>Avengers vs. X-Men</em>, but it's hard to shake the suspicion that all of this is a misdirect to throw us off the trail of the true new Captain Marvel. After all, would Marvel <em>really</em> repeat a plot line from <em>Civil War</em> this obviously?
The original and, let's be honest, still the best. CC Beck's Big Red Cheese mixes wish-fulfillment and high adventure with ease, creating a character that's stood the test of time with a smile on his face and an entire family of super powered siblings, pets and friends behind him. One of comics' greatest superheroes, we can only hope that his new incarnation launching in this month's <em>Justice League</em> will see him return to the prominence and success that he deserves. <p><b>Odds of this being the Captain Marvel that Marvel is teasing:</b> Absolutely astronomical, considering that he's just about to make his New 52 debut in <em>Justice League</em>, but Marvel could always rename Marvelman for a startlingly similar character if they really wanted to push the idea...