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Captain Marvel

Why... just why?

I thought that before Captain Marvel is released we should talk about her powers, and what her role in the Marvel universe is. Carol Danvers was actually Ms. Marvel and didn’t take the mantle of Captain until 2012. As Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel are both powerful characters but have some huge weaknesses, that would make her existence in the MCU a bit useless if they are going to be at all comic book accurate.

I will start with her strengths. Carol Danvers initially possessed superhuman strength (as do most superheroes but we’ll go ahead and pretend it’s special), endurance, stamina, flight, physical durability, a limited precognitive "sixth sense," and a perfectly amalgamated human/Kree physiology that rendered her resistant to most toxins and poisons (the only two things on this list that are remotely useful in an entire world of superheroes and villains). Carol does, however, have another alter ego of sorts, Binary, which is really just another level of Captain Marvel’s power. As Binary, Carol can tap the energy of a "white hole," allowing full control and manipulation of stellar energies, and therefore control over heat, the electromagnetic spectrum, and gravity. Lightspeed travel and the ability to survive in the vacuum of space were also possible.

Although the link to the white hole was eventually severed, Danvers retains her Binary powers on a smaller scale, enabling her to both absorb energy and project it in photonic form. She can also still survive in space. While she lacks a constant source of energy to maintain the abilities at their previous cosmic level, she can temporarily assume her Binary form if empowered with a high enough infusion of energy.

Danvers possesses superhuman strength and durability, can fly at roughly six times the speed of sound (which is arguably her most useful power especially when put in the context of Infinity War), retains her sixth sense, and can discharge explosive blasts of radiant energy, which she fires from her fingertips. She also demonstrates the ability to absorb other forms of energy, such as electricity, to further magnify her strength and energy projection, up to the force of an exploding nuclear weapon. When sufficiently augmented, she can withstand the pressure from a 92-ton weight, and strike with a similar level of force, although Hank Pym theorized that this likely was not her limit. Although it seems that Carol Danvers possess a lot of unbelievable powers and strengths, they all come with conditions and even bigger weaknesses.

For example, Carol is very susceptible to losing her powers. When captured by the Brood on Monster Island, a confrontation with the Brood Queen led to Carol’s powers being temporarily disabled, forcing her to fight as Carol Danvers. In 2008’s storyline, Secret Invasion, Norman Osborn instigates a battle that results in Carol’s powers overloading, causing her death. Carol returns with the help of the New Avengers but this shows that when met with intense battles Carol as Ms. Marvel can be easily defeated.

Her split personality is also a huge weakness. In her time as Ms. Marvel she was unaware of Carol Danvers and as Carol, she was unaware of her actions as Ms. Marvel. She would have blackouts, leaving both identities unaware of the other. Although she is definitely categorized as a hero, any situation where you don’t know what you do half the time is dangerous.

Carol is also extremely vulnerable to mind control and possession. In one storyline, Marcus, the son of Immortus, became obsessed with Carol and decided to brainwash her and manipulate her into falling in love with him. He kidnapped Captain Marvel and used technology from Immortus to brainwash her. In an even stranger turn, he caused Carol to have perhaps the weirdest pregnancy in comic book history. Marcus impregnated her with his "essence," which caused a sped-up pregnancy for Carol that brought her to full-term labor in a just a few days. When she gave birth, her son quickly aged into Marcus, who tried to win the love of his "mother" and manipulated her yet again. Definitely a creepy storyline, but it also shows that Carol’s mental strength is severely lacking.

Carol also had an encounter with X-Men’s Rouge. Fearing that Carol would end her life, Rouge attacked Carol absorbing not only her powers but her memories as well, leaving Carol’s mind wiped and her powers depleted. Even after the storyline was resolved, this fateful encounter left Rogue with some of Carol's incredible powers, allowing her to fly and granting her superhuman strength in the comic books. Captain Marvel was able to regain her powers through the Brood's experiments, but it shows that Carol is susceptible to abilities that affect her powers at large.

Although Captain Marvel's main power is energy absorption and manipulation, her ability to absorb energy without consequence does not extend to magical energy. Her powers are often ineffective against magic, and she requires the assistance of other heroes to bring down magic-powered opponents. This should be interesting in Infinity War as the MCU’s magical threats, as well as their heroes, are growing.

Though Carol is strong, she is by no means “the most overpowered hero” in the comics or in the MCU. Mr. Kevin Feige simply doesn’t know how to use the heroes he has, nor does he seem to understand the comic books he is lifting stories from. 

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