What the D'ast? Genis-Vell
(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with Marvel Cosmic and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
By Byron Brewer
Here is another one of those characters I have heard a lot about but never actually read in the comics – until know. Much of my feel for the character comes, of course, from his sister, Phyla-Vell, who discussed him at length during her time as Quasar in Guardians of the Galaxy. Let’s take a look at the third being to call himself Captain Marvel.
After the death of Mar-Vell, his lover Elysius decides to have a son. As one of the Eternals of Titan, she uses the advanced technology of her race to impregnate herself with some of Mar-Vell's genetic material. Elysius seeks to protect her new son, Genis-Vell, from Mar-Vell's powerful enemies by taking him to a distant planet. There, she artificially ages him and implants false memories in his brain, making him believe that he had a natural childhood and that he is the son of Starfox (Eros, brother of Thanos).
When the Destiny Force resurfaces in Rick Jones for a second time, it triggers a time-spanning conflict known as the Destiny War. A motley crew of Avengers are gathered. Among them is a future version of Genis, now known as Captain Marvel. At the climax of the Destiny War and with Rick Jones' life in jeopardy, Genis re-creates the Nega-Band connection with Rick in order to save him. After the war, Rick returns to the current day and the Genis of the present finds himself unwillingly bonded with Jones, a process which triggers his latent Cosmic Awareness. Rick and Genis spend a considerable time adventuring together, in an arrangement somewhat reminiscent of the one that existed between Genis's father and Rick years before. During their time together, Mar-Vell and Rick exchanged places with each other between the regular universe and the Negative Zone and could hear each other's thoughts unaided.
Genis, now known as Captain Marvel, suddenly acts in an unpredictable and volatile fashion. The cause of Genis-Vell's irrationality is his inability to deal with the potentially infinite information generated by his Cosmic Awareness. Furthermore, foreseeing the potential outcome of any action shows Genis that all of the good he does results in just as much, or more, evil. Genis goes on a self-destructive spiral, joining the Kree space navy, and eventually destroying the universe at the behest of Entropy and Epiphany. Captain Marvel also helps the two recreate the universe with a Last Thursdayism effect on the new universe's population, although with several alterations.
The Captain Marvel of the new universe becomes the hero that Genis-Vell had always wanted to be. This Genis-Vell had never gone on the insane binge that resulted in the universe's destruction. In the new universe, Genis's mother Elysius still lives. In fact, Genis's recreation of himself is such a success that Elysius genetically engineers another offspring with the
Delirious with power, Genis orders Rick's death while giving the Kree, the Shi’ar and the Skrull coalition aligned against him three days before he kills them all. In response, they call in a delegation of Titans -- including the mother he still thinks dead.
Confused and enraged by the discrepancies of this new reality, he raises Rick from the dead and leaves for Titan with Elysius and Eros in pursuit. Elysius warns Titan of their impending arrival, and tells Phyla that the Captain Marvel title will now belong to her. When Genis arrives, he finds that all the other Titans are unreachable and out of phase with reality.
As Genis begins doubting his own perceptions of reality, Phyla makes her presence known, and he becomes further disoriented. The two fight, and Genis eventually gains the upper hand. Before he can hurt her too severely, Elysius and Eros intervene. In response, Captain Marvel opens a portal which sucks in Phyla, Eros and Elysius. As Phyla is sucked in, she forms an energy lasso and pulls Captain Marvel into the portal with them.
Now in a realm of different physical laws, the more experienced Eros, Elysius, Phyla and Rick Jones overcome the less experienced mind of Captain Marvel, leaving him a crying heap. He then changes to a white and navy version of the costume which was first seen in the series Avengers Forever. Although he swears to do good throughout the universe, a hallucination of Epiphany tells him that he is still insane. Genis-Vell is later separated from Rick Jones by the cosmic entity Expediency.
Genis later travels to Earth and joins the Thunderbolts. During this time, he develops an interest in Songbird. The manipulations of the Purple Man cause Atlas to attack Genis in a rage, apparently killing him and throwing his body into the Hudson River. Although Genis would have recovered on his own, former Thunderbolt Baron Zemo uses a pair of alien moonstones to form a cocoon of energy, feeding him energy from the beginning and end of the universe to speed his recovery. When he emerges, he has absorbed the Nega Bands into his body.
Zemo soon realizes that his mistake of siphoning energy from the beginning and end of time created a link between Genis and the universe that threatens to end existence. Zemo explores all future timelines with the moonstones, but fails to find a way to save both Genis and the universe: In every possible future timeline, Genis destroys the universe. Genis is aware of this, but keeps trying to tune his Cosmic Awareness in order to find a way to prevent this from happening. Finally, in a fight with Zemo, Genis is defeated. Zemo traps Genis in a moment in time. He then uses a combination of Blackout's Darkforce powers and the moonstones to separate Genis into individual pieces, trapping them in separate, far-off parts of the Darkforce Dimension so that they cannot be reunited.
This is definitely one nutso hero I hope the Marvel U. has said good riddance to. Medical drama besmirching the good name of Mar-Vell (and Elysius!) is definitely not my cup of DnA Brew anyhoo.