sherkahn: (Default)
sherkahn ([personal profile] sherkahn) wrote in [community profile] scans_daily2010-06-12 10:48 pm

Death Week - The Death of Captain Marvel

Marvel's very first graphic novel was also one of it's most fascinating and mature in terms of the handling of the important topic of the death of a hero. Up until this point we've seen heroes check out and get taken down facing "big bads" and saving others. The great ultimate sacrifice for the great reward that lies beyond this life. Glorious deaths worthy of champions.

Here, one of the mightiest and stalwart defenders falls to a common man's death. Despite many attempts at a ret-con resurrection, the significance and value of this death within Marvel 616 lore and continuity shows just how important this moment in time was. A death that made this hero as frail and as mortal as any of us, yet because of that fragility he rose to great heights all the more.

The year: 1982.
The company: Marvel Comics.

These are the final moments of Captain Mar-Vell of the Kree.

*Note: Not my scans.

How did we come to this moment....

Years earlier, Captain Marvel had defeated the villain Nitro the exploding man, but not before being exposed to Compound 13. The nega-bands that he wears and power him have so far kept the exposure from killing him instantly, but as he learns in combat against the followers of the fallen death god Thanos, that protection has worn off as the cancer is now stronger than his bands. As he learns and deals with death, we see him contact his friends and loved ones to inform them of the short amount of time Mar-Vell has left.

As his life-partner, Dick (I sat at a gamma bomb test site and watched an innocent man become a monster to save my ass and all I got was a t-shirt) Jones, in bitter denial of Captain Marvel's fate, and Rick, I mean, Dick's anger for accepting death so easily.

For a dying man Mar-Vell can still give "comfort" to others.... "Rick! You came!" indeed.
Now it was Rick's turn....

The other heroes that Marvel has fought alongside with gather to try to cure him, as the best minds of science and sorcery try their best. But death comes for all, and his final moments come too soon (the nega bands that keep him alive also hinder all attempts for a cure), before any can save him from cancer. With his friends and loved ones beside him, the Protector of the Universe breathes his last.

In the visions Mar-Vell has as his life flashes before his eyes, his most respected adversary returns from the other side of the veil for one last battle. Enter Thanos of Titan, who's followers started off this story.

Captain Marvel battles Thanos, and the hundreds of minions that he summons from untold worlds. Captain Marvel cannot be defeated, he will not be defeated. Against impossible odds, Marvel defeats everyone, through sheer willpower and courage alone and he faces off against the big bad, the avatar of death, Thanos, one more time. With one punch, he brings his foe down. And Captain Marvel is much surprised by the results.

The rest is the draping of the body, and the honor guard assembled at the end to pay respects to the Protector of the Universe. Marvel's legacy lives on in the heroes who have taken up his mantle, or fought in his name. To this day the true Captain Marvel of the 616 has only been seen by the Silver Surfer as he ventured to the world of dead, and even then he couldn't tell if it was a fever dream. The honored dead retain their honor, diginity and place in history.

And when the end comes for us, may we be defiant to the last and savoring each precious moment we have, but may we pass on gracefully with our loved ones besides us.

suggested tags:
title: The Death of Captain Marvel
character: Captain Marvel/Mar-Vell of the Kree
character: Thanos of Titan
character: Mentor of Titan
character: Rick Jones
character: Death
group: The Avengers

creator: Jim Starling

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