Warning: contains spoilers for Captain Marvel #26!
Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, has just reminded her fans that she is the darkest Avenger because she really, really enjoys hurting – and even killing – her enemies. Carol walks a fine line as one of Marvel’s most powerful heroes, and all too often admits to herself that she really likes exercising that power as violence. In Captain Marvel #26, she once again expresses the joy that she feels while hurting her opponents. Carol is currently in the future and she is going toe to toe with the son of Namor the Sub-Mariner and Thor’s enemy the Enchantress. Ove is one of Marvel’s best new villains; a conceited, power-hungry Atlantean/Asgardian hybrid, whose deadly plan is to go back in time and rule society at its peak, something that he is coming close to accomplishing.
In Captain Marvel #26 – from Kelly Thompson and Lee Garbett – Carol is thrilled to finally get a crack at Ove. As she takes a particularly hard, powered-up swing at Ove she thinks to herself, “Been wanting to hit this guy for what feels like a week. It’s perhaps tacky to revel in it, but it feels glorious. And we’re just getting started.” She then follows up with the fact that she wants to throw him into space to suffocate but can’t because of Armor’s radiation dome, which is surrounding the city. Instead, she settles for slamming him into an unbreakable wall.
Flying Ove into space to watch him die isn’t something that would be new to Captain Marvel. Back in Ms. Marvel #28 – a tie-in to Marvel’s Secret Invasion event from Brian Reed and Adriana Melo – she did this very thing with an enemy, flying a Skrull warrior up into space for the sheer joy of watching him die in Ms. Marvel #28. With a look of sheer joy on her face, Carol reflects, “I take it into outer space and I watch it die. And say what you will about me… I enjoy it.”
It isn’t like an Avenger to enjoy hurting others – especially when it comes to the extreme of seeing them die slowly. Most Avengers pull their punches so they don’t do serious damage, and while some flirt with the line between justice and vengeance, it’s generally a huge, character redefining deal if they cross it. With her military history in the Air Force, Carol is more comfortable taking lives than most of her other Avengers colleagues, but her repeated glee in bringing down the hammer goes beyond comfort and into self-confessed enjoyment. It’s not as if Carol even offered her Skrull opponent a quick death, taking it to space so she could watch it happen with a smile on her face and a gleam in her eye.
Ove doesn’t deserve any quarter, but it’s a little disturbing for a modern hero to take so much pleasure not in stopping evil or preventing harm to innocents, but in hurting someone she hates. Ove ends the issue back in the present day, more committed than ever to killing off Carol and able to target the people she loves. Considering her history and the joy she took in hurting him this issue, it’s possible Captain Marvel will soon cross a line she cannot return from. As a hardline thinker with a different outlook than most other heroes, Carol has come close to villainy before – such as in Civil War 2 where she went all-in on pre-emptive justice – but with her incredible power levels and commitment to what she thinks is right, Captain Marvel would be a huge threat if she ever truly gave in to her darker impulses. Hopefully, her better angels will keep that from happening, if only for the sake of her fellow Avengers.