The upcoming Captain Marvel movie looks set to atone for what's probably the single worst story in the history of the Avengers. The film is loosely drawn from the comics, clearly partly inspired by Kelly Sue DeConnick's iconic run. Set in 1995, it will introduce the MCU's most powerful superhero to date, a hero who can reportedly even travel in time.
This is a big step for Marvel Studios, the first female-led superhero movie in the entire MCU. Hollywood had been traditionally been skeptical about female superhero flicks, with insiders pointing to flops like Supergirl, Catwoman, and Elektra; but the success of Wonder Woman back in 2017 shattered that particular glass ceiling, proving that these films can be blockbuster hits. Captain Marvel is then expected to play a major part in Avengers: Endgame, summoned to Earth by Nick Fury in the post-credits scene of Avengers: Infinity War. And from there, it's believed she'll be a central figure in the MCU's future.
It's tempting to assume Captain Marvel will get its cultural relevance purely from the fact it stars a woman. In reality, though, it looks as though this hotly-anticipated blockbuster will have a far sharper edge to it than had initially been expected - and that's because it atones for one of the worst stories Marvel Comics ever published.
- This Page: The Avengers' Worst Story Explained
- Next Page: How Captain Marvel Atones For Avengers #200
The Avengers' Worst Story Explained
The worst story in the history of the entire Avengers franchise was told in 1980's Avengers #200, a supposed milestone credited to writers Jim Shooter, David Michelinie, Bob Layton, and George Pérez; unsurprisingly, none have ever stepped forward to admit that they're responsible for the plot. In fact, back in 2011, former Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter published a blog post in which he admitted he agreed with the consensus that this is an awful comic, but had no memory of how it came to be so bad. "I guess I signed off on this book," he observed. "I regret it."
The plot of Avengers #200 is, frankly, a bizarre one. The story opens with Carol Danvers about to give birth to a child. She has absolutely no idea who the father is, but the entire pregnancy has taken place over just a few days. When the baby is born, it grows to adulthood at an insane speed, and reveals that it is really a cosmic entity called Marcus. Feeling lonely, Marcus decided to woo Carol, and so summoned her into his "Limbo" dimension. There, he did everything within his power to earn her affection; to aid his purposes, he summoned others from Earth's history to help. Shakespeare wrote Carol a sonnet, Beethoven an original prelude in her honor, and Marie Antoinette clothed her in the finest satins and silks. After weeks of effort - with a boost from mind-altering machines left behind by Marcus' father Immortus - Carol consented, and Marcus had sex with her. He then sent her back to her own time, erasing all memory of what had happened, and planted his own consciousness within the fetus.
It's an insane story, not least because it basically means Marcus is his own father. But it's also deeply disturbing, because there's only one word that can be used to describe it - rape. According to Marcus, he summoned Carol and trapped her in his own environment, exerting incredible effort to woo her - and she was unwilling. He had to use technology to adjust her mind and make her consent to have sex with him. What's more, Marcus' words are absolutely shocking; "Finally," he observed, "After relative weeks of such efforts - and, admittedly, with a subtle boost from Immortus' machines - you became mine." Note the possessiveness in his wording; it really is amazing this got signed off in Marvel, let alone approved by the Comics Code Authority.
And it gets worse. Because Marcus was an extradimensional entity, his presence began to cause disruption in the very fabric of reality itself. He would have to return to Limbo; but Carol, confused because of the various emotions she felt for him, decided to go with him. Not only did the Avengers not object to this - nobody raised the question of whether or not she was in her right mind - they actually celebrated it, and Thor was the one who transported Marcus and Carol Danvers back to Limbo. Needless to say, things didn't turn out well; Marcus had erred, and he aged at an accelerated date and died within a week. Carol was trapped in Limbo for some time but eventually managed to get back to Earth; she confronted the Avengers in Avengers Annual #10, where writer Chris Claremont had her call out the Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
Captain Marvel Explores Themes Of Abuse
By now, it's clear that this year's Captain Marvel movie will explore themes of abuse. The MCU version of Captain Marvel is an amnesiac who believes herself to be a Kree, a member of the elite Starforce unit. Given it's now pretty much certain that Jude Law is playing the villainous Yon-Rogg, it's not hard to deduce that the Kree have manipulated her memories in order to turn Carol Danvers into a powerful weapon in their war against the Skrulls. What makes this all the more interesting, though, is that the Kree have been described as a race who value honesty and despise manipulation and low cunning. According to Jude Law, that's the whole reason the Kree hate the Skrulls.
Although Captain Marvel is set in 1995, it's a story aimed at modern audiences. Frankly, this plot seems reminiscent of the #MeToo movement; people in positions of authority, who are supposed to have a degree of integrity, exercising their power over a woman in subtle and manipulative ways. One scene in the trailers fairly screams out this theme, with Jude Law's character training with Captain Marvel, and telling her she's not as powerful as she thinks she is. He's seeking to diminish the hero, using his position as her commanding officer to prevent her from realizing her true potential. This can only be considered abuse. Of course, at this stage it's unclear quite how far the abuse will go; there's been some speculation the relationship between Yon-Rogg and Captain Marvel won't be limited to an officer and his soldier, but so far there's no evidence to support that idea.
Page 2 of 2: How Captain Marvel Atones For Avengers #200
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019