There are a lot of comic book characters with similar or completely identical names. One such case is the case of Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel, two superheroines from the Marvel Universe. With the release of the Ms. Marvel TV show, people are wondering if Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel are the same heroes?
Both Captain Marvel’s and Ms. Marvel’s powers originate from the Kree race, and that is the only thing Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel have in common. On the other hand, Captain Marvel is stronger than Ms. Marvel in every possible way, it isn’t even a close match.
In the rest of the article, we are going to introduce the characters of Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel, before we finally list and explain the differences between the two so that you know who you’re dealing with.
Ms. Marvel and Her Powers
As we are soon going to see, Ms. Marvel – although being a completely different and independent character – has a history very similar to Captain Marvel, with the exception that Ms. Marvel was always female (as the name suggests).
Namely, throughout the history of Marvel Comics, a total of four characters have donned the costume of Ms. Marvel, a superheroine that debuted in the 1977 comic book Ms. Marvel #1. The character was created by Gerry Conway and designed by John Buscema. Like Captain Marvel, the Ms. Marvel character also got her superpowers through Kree technology or genetics.
The first Ms. Marvel was, believe it or not, none other than Carol Danvers, the current Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers was introduced as a pilot in the United States Air Force. During an explosion of a Kree device in the base, her DNA got mixed with that of Kree Mar-Vell, who was at the time on Earth posing as Dr. Walter Lawson, which gave her superhuman abilities. She reappeared in the comics with her superhuman abilities as the superheroine Ms. Marvel, She was a truly progressive character at the time, since female superheroes weren’t all that popular.
Carol Danvers soon took up another superhero name and was replaced by Sharon Ventura, who became the second Ms. Marvel in the comic The Thing #27 (1985), by Mike Carlin and Ron Wilson.
She was a stunt performer when she met the superhero The Thing and later volunteered for an experiment that gave her superpowers. She wanted to join Thing’s group and took the name Ms. Marvel. She later became a member of the Fantastic Four and, due to her mutations, changed her name to She-Thing.
The third Ms. Marvel was actually a supervillain. Dr. Karla Sofen was introduced in 1975 but did not become Ms. Marvel until some time later. As the psychiatrist of the supervillain Moonstone, she tricked him into giving her the source of his powers, thus becoming Moonstone herself.
She later joined Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers and became a dark version of the Carol Danvers iteration of Ms. Marvel. She was known as Ms. Marvel until 2010.
Finally, the fourth and current Ms. Marvel is a Pakistani-American girl named Kamala Khan, who was introduced as a big fan of Carol Danvers. In 2014, Kamala Khan became the fourth and current Ms. Marvel, which is why we are going to focus on her.
Kamala Khan was first introduced in Captain Marvel #14 (2013) as a Pakistani-American girl from New Jersey. She was a big fan of the Avengers, especially Carol Danvers, who was at the time operating as Captain Marvel. Her first appearance was a brief cameo, but as time passed, her role became more important.
Soon, it was announced that Kamala Khan would be inheriting the role of Ms. Marvel from Carol Danvers, making her Marvel’s first Muslim character to headline her own comic; this move was received with widespread critical acclaim. As it was revealed, Kamala Khan is an Inhuman with shapeshifting abilities who got her powers during the epic “Inhumanity” storyline.
In 2014, she inherited the role of Ms. Marvel from her idol, Carol Danvers, and soon became the protagonist of the Ms. Marvel comic book. She is one of the most popular superheroines, even becoming a member of the Avengers. Most recently, she was introduced as the protagonist of The Avengers video game.
Captain Marvel and Her Powers
The character of Captain Marvel has a very long and interesting history. The first Captain Marvel wasn’t actually a Marvel Comics character, but rather the superhero that we today know as Shazam, who is part of the DC Comics universe. The original Captain Marvel debuted back in 1939/1940, while Marvel’s character of the same name appeared in 1967.
It is interesting to know that the original Captain Marvel wasn’t even a DC Comics character, but a character created belonging to Fawcett Comics; in 1953, DC Comics sued Fawcett over Captain Marvel, alleging that he was a copy of Superman, after which Fawcett stopped publishing Captain Marvel stories, before selling the rights to the character to DC in 1972. But, since this text is about the Marvel Comics character, let us see how that character developed.
Jumping in the void created by the DC-Fawcett lawsuit, Marvel Comics created their version of Captain Marvel in 1967, with the character debuting in Marvel Super-Heroes #12 (1967). The first among several iterations of the character was a member of the Kree race known as Mar-Vell, who donned the costume until 1982, when he was replaced with Monica Rambeau, after dying from cancer.
Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel until 1993, when she gave the title to Genis-Vell, Mar-Vell’s son. After more than a decade, Genis-Vell gave the mantle to his sister, Phyla-Vell, who would be known as Captain Marvel from 2004 to 2007.
A Skrull sleeper agent known as Khn’nr became the fifth Captain Marvel in 2007, donning the name for just a couple of years, until 2009, when he was by Noh-Varr.
The most recent and current Captain Marvel is Carol Danvers, who inherited the title in 2012 and has been further popularized by MCU, where this iteration appeared in the movie Captain Marvel and in other Avengers movies. Because of this fact, we are going to use Carol Danvers as the protagonist of our article.
Carol Susan Jane Danvers is a fictional superhero appearing in comic books published by Marvel. Carol Danvers is best known as the current Captain Marvel, although she has a much longer history within the Marvel universe. She was created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan.
The character of Carol Danvers debuted in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (1968) as an officer of the United States Air Force. She was a colleague of Dr. Walter Lawson, the human alias of Mar-Vell, the first Captain Marvel. The first major event of her history happened when she was hurt in an explosion of a Kree device; Mar-Vell saved her life, but she was seriously injured. During the explosion, her DNA got mixed with Mar-Vell’s, which gave her superhuman abilities.
Carol Danvers returned during the 1970s with her superhuman abilities as the superhero Ms. Marvel, debuting in the comic Ms. Marvel #1 (1977). She was a very progressive character at the time and has since become one of the foremost female superheroes in the Marvel universe.
Carol Danvers worked with the Avengers and has appeared in titles involving other characters. She herself has changed superhero identities again in 1982 (when she became Binary) and in 1998 (when she became Warbird), before finally becoming Captain Marvel in 2012’s Avenging Spider-Man #9 (2012).
The role of Captain Marvel has increased Danvers’ popularity so much that she has now become an essential Marvel superhero.
Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel has appeared in several animated movies and TV shows, video games and the MCU, where she appeared in both her own stand-alone movie and the Avengers saga. In the MCU, she is played by Brie Larson.
Differences Between Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel
Now that we’ve given you an introduction to the two superheroines, let us see what the differences between these two similarly named characters are.
First of all, we’d like to state that we presume that the confusion regarding these two characters doesn’t just stem from their similar names, but also from the fact that the current Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers, started her superhero career as Ms. Marvel.
So, when you have the same character that uses two different, but very similar superhero names, it should not come as a surprise that people often think that Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel are the same. Luckily for you, we at Fiction Horizon are here to help you learn the differences between the two of them.
Generally speaking, the only two similarities between Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel, besides the name, of course, are (1) that Carol Danvers has used both names, and (2) that their powers originate from the Kree race, i.e., their technology or genetics. Other than that – Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel are completely different characters.
Firstly, the character of Captain Marvel is much “older” than Ms. Marvel. Namely, as you’ve read above, the first iteration of Captain Marvel appeared as early as 1967, while Ms. Marvel did not appear until ten year later, in 1977.
A total of six people have donned the Captain Marvel costume – Mar-Vell, Monica Rambeau, Genis-Vell, Phyla-Vell, Khn’nr, and Carol Danvers – while Ms. Marvel was represented by only four – Carol Danvers, Sharon Ventura, Karla Sofen, and Kamala Khan. Likewise, the name Captain Marvel is not exclusive gender-wise (both male and female characters have donned the costume), while Ms. Marvel is exclusively female, which actually makes a lot of sense.
Another thing is that Captain Marvel is a cosmic-based superhero(ine) and is quite often off-Earth, while Ms. Marvel is an Earth-based superheroine. Both were (are) members of the Avengers.
Powers and abilities
This part is actually where the differences really matter, as Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel are two completely different characters based on their powers and abilities. We are, of course, going to focus just on Carol Danvers and Kamala Khan. Well, as far as Captain Marvel goes, the powers of this superhero were usually similar if not completely identical, but Ms. Marvels have changed a lot, which is why we are going to focus on just Kamala Khan.
Before we elaborate, let us see how the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z (2010) compares the two of them in the following table:
(a.k.a. Carol Danvers)
(a.k.a. Kamala Khan)
Captain Marvel vs. Ms. Marvel: Who Would Win?
As you can see, Captain Marvel is just so much more powerful than Ms. Marvel and that is a very important distinction between the two of them.
But even if the numbers in the table above suggest that they are characters with similar traits, the structure of their powers is completely different, as we are soon going to see.
What you need to know now is that Captain Marvel overpowers Ms. Marvel in practically every aspect.
Now, let us see what powers each of these characters possess.
Carol Danvers, as Captain Marvels, has a very strong plethora of abilities, but those powers are still not nearly as strong as the powers of some other characters, like Thor or Thanos.
On the other hand, they surpass Ms. Marvel in every aspect. Captain Marvel has several superhuman traits (strength, stamina, durability, speed) and can even fly.
She has regenerative abilities and can harness and use different types of energy for both offense and defense. Her real powers are unlocked when she manages to activate her Binary Powers.
As far as Ms. Marvel is concerned, she is an Inhuman whose primary power is her morphogenetics, which allows her to morph and change her body by manipulating her own molecules.
This allows her to elongate herself similarly to Mr. Fantastic, but also change her size and even change her appearance. She also has a very strong healing factor and, interestingly enough, bioluminescence, which is a consequence of her Inhuman powers.
This covers the differences between these two characters and brings our analytical segment to its end.
This concludes our analysis of Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel. As you could’ve seen, despite the similar name and the fact that Carol Danvers donned both costumes during her career, the two characters are completely different in both the general sense and in the sense of their powers and abilities.