The first look at Brie Larson as Captain Marvel in Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s 2019 Captain Marvel film wasn’t quite what fans were expecting. The movie has yet to fully get underway, but a handful of photos recently surfaced online showing Larson wearing a green Kree uniform instead of her primarily red-and-blue suit from the comics. While the green costume is still comic-accurate, it’s not the only suit the character is known for wearing.
From the get-go, Carol distinguished herself from other female comic book characters that fell into the same, age-old tropes. For instance, she openly challenged Mar-Vell, and when she finally obtained her superpowers, she allied herself with Mar-Vell but never went down the same path as him. One of the ways differentiated herself from the pack was through costume choices, something that Marvel has evolved on over the years. And… she’s had quite a few different suits.
Note that this article specifically applies to Carol Danvers (Earth-616), from her time as Ms. Marvel to her current status as Captain Marvel (and everything in-between). Otherwise, we’d be diving into an abyss of costumes worn by characters such as Genis-Vell, Mahr Vehl, and Noh-Varr, among many, many others.
Ms. Marvel (1st Costume)
Long before Carol Danvers assumed the title of Captain Marvel, she was Ms. Marvel – her first superhero moniker. Carol’s costume was partly designed after Mar-Vell’s suit to establish a link between the two heroes and where their powers come from. The most notable similarity between the costumes was the yellow star in the center, with the rest of the outfit being colored red-and-blue.
But, as with many female superheroes at the time, she wasn’t fully dressed. Her scantily clad costume left her midriff and legs exposed, but that design ended up becoming an integral part of Carol Danvers’ history. And to hide her identity, she wore a small blue mask around her eyes. She also wore a red scarf as an accent instead of a cape, which was customary for superheroes at the time (and still is?). While this costume may sound useless, it actually augmented her Kree abilities, just as Mar-Vell’s costume enhanced his powers.
Ms. Marvel (2nd Costume)
After some time in the field, Carol updated her costume to something a tad bit more conservative. That change represented a general shift in comics around that time when publishers had a change in vision. The most notable difference between her first and second costumes was that the new one had her fully covered up on top. The color scheme, scarf, and powers mostly stayed the same. As a side note, the updated costume was actually the worn by Ms. Marvel in the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon, and because of that, it became her most recognizable costume amongst children and non-comic book readers for several years.
Ms. Marvel (Main Costume)
When Carol returned to the fold during the Bronze Age of Comics, she fully came into her own. It was at this point that she became one of the most popular comic book characters of all-time as well as a feminist icon, especially since she was one of the only characters out there who was living a full-fledged, normal life in addition to being a world-saving superhero. And that’s partly why Marvel altered her costume to allow her rise out of Mar-Vell’s shadow.
Carol dropped the red-and-blue colors for a more muted color design. She wore a black-and-gold costume, with the yellow star being replaced with a lightning bolt. Her mask, however, stayed the same the same shape, though it did take on a darker hue. And while she still used her red scarf, it was now tied around her waist instead of around her neck. What’s more, Marvel decided to give make her costume sleeveless, with an extra-long glove of course.
What’s interesting is that the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne, helped Carol come up with her signature costume in the first place. Perhaps that’s something audiences will get a hint of in the future? After all, Michelle Pfeiffer is slated to appear as Janet Van Dyne in Ant-Man and The Wasp. But that’s probably not going to happen considering that Wasp disappeared into the quantum realm in 1987 and Captain Marvel takes place in the 1990s.
Page 2: Binary, Captain Marvel and Kree
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