CAPTAIN MARVEL VI: Page 14 of 14


After Hawkeye was acquitted by a jury that may have simply been glad the Hulk was gone, the Ulysses Initiative hit its first major stumble. On Ulysses’ direction, the Ultimates arrested a financer named Alison Green under the allegations that she was a sleeper agent for a terrorist cell. According to the vision, that day Green would be unleashing a mega-weapon of some kind from the briefcase she was holding. When Captain Marvel retrieved the briefcase, however, it was completely empty. Green had no criminal record, no suspicious browser activity, no weapons or exotic tech on her person. However, Captain Marvel refused to release her until they found the proof they needed to justify Ulysses’ vision.

Captain Marvel's stubborn defiance of the facts finally broke the Ultimates, who had been under increasing strain during the Ulysses Initiative. Designed as a cooperative movement (without leaders) to address cosmic problems, many members chaffed about continually being designated Carol's support team for addressing national or even just municipal threats arising from Ulysses’ visions. Blue Marvel couldn't condone the arrest and continued detention of Alison Green in light of the complete lack of evidence against her. Ms. America came to blows with Carol over the issue, and their battle only ended when Thanos briefly escaped his cell. The Ultimates united to stop him, but the team unity had cracked under the pressure. [Civil War II #4, Ultimates (2nd series) #10-11]

Carol also found a wedge driven between her and her Alpha Flight teammates. Ulysses had a vision of Carol fighting Aurora, seemingly connected to other evidence that there was a mole inside Alpha Flight feeding information to Iron Man. Aurora was behind the predictive justice program as it now stood, but was reticent about the direction it was heading, pre-profiling potential threats based on past criminal records or mental health problems. The idea was that proactively feeding Ulysses intelligence on specific targets might improve the odds of him having a vision of their future crimes. Aurora struggled with mental health concerns herself, and objected to profiling people based on their mental history, or being mutants (another potential factor being considered).

Ulysses’ vision came true when Captain Marvel suggested Aurora's split personality might mean she was the mole and not even know it. The brawl between Captain Marvel and Alpha Flight that followed had been orchestrated deliberately by the Master of the World, a former foe of Alpha and Carol's who had infiltrated the Board of Governors as the Canadian representative months ago. Carol knew the Master was manipulating them, though, and had only accused Aurora to draw him out of hiding. Because she refused to confide in Alpha Flight beforehand, however, Carol damaged the trust between her and her allies. [Captain Marvel (9th series) #9-10]

Tony Stark's brain scan of Ulysses finally returned an explanation for the NuHuman's powers. Ulysses did NOT see the future -- his mind intuitively accumulated information from the present and extrapolated it through a highly advanced algorithm to create visions of statistically probable future events. In other words, Stark said... profiling. Hosting another meeting, Tony had Steve Rogers mediate the dispute between him and Carol as he presented this information to her. Carol remained unconcerned about the origins of Ulysses’ powers -- all she cared about was if they worked, and if they weren't correct 100% of the time, so be it. [Civil War II #4]

Carol was beginning to feel the weight of the pressure on her, though, and needed an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to steady her resolve. She wanted to avoid the meeting she regularly attended with Tony (her sponsor), and found an out-of-the-way open meeting to attend. Unfortunately, Tony had the same idea. They crossed paths incognito at AA, and had what would be their last peaceful talk. Each retained a deep respect for the other, but each remained unwilling to shake from their chosen path. It was clear: the kid gloves were off, and the next fight would be for real. [Invincible Iron Man (2nd series) #14]

Carol realized the direction events were taking, and so she summoned Star-Lord and the Guardians of the Galaxy to Earth as her secret weapon in case Iron Man tried anything. Sure enough, Stark gathered a contingent of Earth's heroes to rescue Alison Green and stop Carol from pursuing the Ulysses Initiative any further. Captain Marvel and her own allies opposed them in a mighty battle that took place on the Triskelion. The fight was devastating, causing massive damage to the Triskelion and destroying the Guardian's spaceship in the process. It only ended when Ulysses imposed another vision on everyone present: Steve Rogers, Captain America, apparently dead on the steps of the Capital Building in Washington D.C. at the hands of the new Spider-Man, Miles Morales. [Civil War II #4-5, Guardians of the Galaxy (4th series) #10-12]

Captain Marvel reacted to the news by attempting to take Miles into custody, but Stark refused to let her. The young Spider-Man had been nothing but a hero since he joined Tony's Avengers, and he didn't deserve to be manhandled because of some possible future vision. Steve Rogers himself spoke to Miles, and gave him permission to leave, despite Carol and Maria Hill fighting otherwise. Another bomb dropped when the Black Panther openly denounced Captain Marvel and the Ulysses Initiative, throwing the support of him and Wakanda to the other side. Done in full view of news cameras and the world, Carol recognized this declaration for what it was: a deliberate tactical strike by T'Challa, planned in advance to do maximum damage to the predictive justice program. [Civil War II #6]

As both sides attempted to recover, Miles Morales chose to appear at the Capital Building in defiance of Ulysses’ vision. Captain Marvel pulled back S.H.I.E.L.D. and the local authorities in another attempt to have Miles surrender himself voluntarily into her custody. When she attempted to reach for him, however, Iron Man appeared and cast a force field around the boy to protect him. Decked out in his largest, most advanced War Machine armor yet, Stark made a final stand against Carol for the fate of Miles and the Initiative. Captain Marvel fought Iron Man single-handedly until his shields failed under her stellar-powered onslaught. Unaware of how vulnerable Tony had just become, Carol struck him with all her strength, critically wounding him.

Tragically, mere minutes after Stark's fall, the entire conflict became academic. Ulysses’ powers had continued to grow in scope and power, and he now evolved beyond humanity to rise into the ranks of the higher powers of the universe alongside Eternity. The whole predictive justice program was no longer viable. Carol had Hank McCoy examine Stark aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, and Beast determined Stark's personally designed bio-enhancements and repulsor arc generator were the only thing keeping him alive, albeit in a coma. The "war" was over, the fight was now moot, and Captain Marvel was left to pick up the pieces, having alienated virtually all of her close friends and allies in the name of doing what she thought was right. [Civil War II #7-8]

The aftermath of the Ulysses Initiative radically reorganized Captain Marvel's operations. The Ultimates program was unceremoniously shut down -- T'Challa's public denouncing of Ulysses and Carol ended any hopes of improved American and Wakandan relations through the Ultimates, and so funding and oversight for the program would no longer be provided. A presidential order was even signed, forbidding the five from working together at all, for the cosmically proactive team was deemed too powerful to operate without some form of oversight. Carol and T'Challa remained bitterly at odds over his deliberate deconstruction of their proactive dream. [Ultimates (2nd series) #12]

Alpha Flight Space Station remained active, but their Board of Directors was dismantled after they failed to detect the Master of the World infiltrating their ranks. Until a new oversight committee was established, Carol essentially had free reign and control over Alpha Flight. This dovetailed nicely into the other fallout from the Ulysses Initiative, which was Carol's rising star in the public eye. Captain Marvel was more popular than ever with the people following her stand on predictive justice, earning her the nickname of Earth's Mightiest Hero. Carol had lost the respect or friendship of Jessica Drew, Rhodey, Tony Stark, Ms. Marvel, the Ultimates, A-Force and many of her fellow Avengers new and old, but now she had the ear of the President of the United States and influence over Congress. Despite her losses (or perhaps because of them) Carol was now committed to making the most of her newfound position in the world. [Civil War II #8, Captain Marvel (9th series) #10]

That commitment, however, almost immediately placed her at odds with another old friend, Steve Rogers. Maria Hill had been on probation as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s director pending an internal judiciary review of her illegal experiments regarding the Cosmic Cube. Hill's "Hail Mary" play at her trial was to bribe the deciders with a planetary defense shield technology to protect the Earth, but she was ultimately found guilty anyway and removed from office. Hill escaped custody and passed on the defense shield plans to Carol Danvers as a snub towards her accuser and replacement, Captain America. Although Cap was now S.H.I.E.L.D. director and carried more power than ever thanks to the passing of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Act in Congress, Captain Marvel went around him to get the President and Congress to agree with the planetary defense shield plan against his wishes. From Alpha Flight station, Carol had noted an increase in Chitauri raids on Earth for an unknown reason, culminating in long distance reports of an enormous invasion fleet that would reach Earth in a matter of months. Carol lobbied the President to give her the authority to protect the skies, while Cap and S.H.I.E.L.D. focused on the ground. Although she was successful, Steve told Carol he was disappointed in how reactionary she was being, and that she may come to regret her decision. [Civil War II: The Oath #1, Captain America: Steve Rogers #8-10]

Time passed and Carol began slowly rebuilding her support network. The burdens of command had made her restless, unable to sleep for weeks. She was forced to begin therapy sessions after misinterpreting NASA space junk as an alien sneak attack. Carol finally reached out to Jessica Drew and helped her care for her son during a crisis, leading the best friends back together, tentatively. [Mighty Captain Marvel #0, Spider-Woman (6th series) #14-17]

Meanwhile, circumstances led to the reformation of the Ultimates. T'Challa secretly contacted a distrustful Carol about rebuilding the team. Carol could not bring herself to trust Black Panther after his last bit of maneuvering, but soon they were drawn to Taa II, Galactus's worldship. Ms. America had formed an alliance with the former Devourer, and together they wished to reassemble the Ultimates as agents of Eternity to free him from his imprisonment. Despite the Presidential Order, Captain Marvel agreed the universe was in peril and the Ultimates must reform. [Ultimates 2 (2nd series) #1]

Philip Vogt of the NSA had been tasked with covertly monitoring the Ultimates during their existence to ensure they didn't become a cosmic threat instead of cosmic paramedics. His mandate evolved to making sure they complied with the Presidential Order to disband once it was signed. Vogt grew suspicious when Carol and T'Challa excused themselves from an Alpha Flight meeting, and sent his Troubleshooters to survey them. The Ultimates had uncovered the remains of the Shaper of Worlds, an evolved Cosmic Cube who saw the rebirth of the multiverse and the chains around Eternity as well.

The Troubleshooters tracked Captain Marvel and the Ultimates to Taa II and charged them with violating the order. The fight that followed revealed that Rodstvow of the Troubleshooters was an agent of the true foe, the First Firmament. The insane sentience of the first infinity had survived into the seventh and, when Battleworld fell and gave rise to the eighth infinity, it took advantage of the reincarnated Eternity's "newness" to enchain him. The First Firmament was also behind the Celestial Destructor who kicked off the Ulysses Initiative and many other threats to existence. The Ultimates and Troubleshooters joined forces with Galactus to defeat Rodstvow, and the NSA agreed to allow the Ultimates to reform, operating out of Alpha Flight station when needed. Although they now knew the identity of the multiverse's great threat, learning an infinite malevolent entity existed did nothing to reduce Captain Marvel's paranoia and desire for control. [Ultimates 2 (2nd series) #2-6]

The threat of the Chitauri loomed over the Earth as alien refugees began arriving from the cosmos in advance of the army ravaging across space. Carol befriended a young Kree girl nicknamed "Bean" in the refugee settlements as a bounty hunter attempted to kidnap her. It was discovered that Bean and other Hala children had spontaneously manifested a new HLA marker in their genes after the destruction of Hala and reincarnation of the multiverse. Exposure to Bean's HLA anomaly radically increased Carol's powers, driving her out of control. A scientist named Dr. Eve intended to use the Hala children to prime Carol like a superweapon and unleash her. Captain Marvel stopped the plot but lost Bean, who evolved into pure energy as a result of her HLA marker's influence. [Mighty Captain Marvel #1-4]

The day of the Chitauri invasion finally came, and the world was in crisis. An Army of Evil attacked New York City that same day while Hydra was on the rise in Eastern Europe with their own nuclear missiles. A Hydra suicide bomber damaged the planetary defense shield's generator on the ground, meaning Earth's heroes were divided and vulnerable to the Chitauri. Captain Marvel assembled the Ultimates, Alpha Flight, Guardians of the Galaxy and other fighters like Hyperion and Quasar to hold the line in space until the generator was fixed. Wave upon wave of Chitauri drones assaulted Captain Marvel's troops in the outer atmosphere. Eventually the shield came up, annihilating the drones who continued past the heroes and detonated against the impenetrable barrier.

Carol's victory turned to ashes, however, when she contacted Captain America to drop the shield and let her wounded back down to Earth. Captain America refused. Steve Rogers revealed he was a sleeper agent for Hydra, and had orchestrated all the events leading up to the invasion. The Chitauri were coming because Rogers held a Chitauri queen somewhere on Earth, calling out to her drones. More Chitauri would come, over and over, from throughout the universe to clash with Alpha Flight. The shield technology was his own idea, planted for Maria Hill to find, and which Rogers now controlled to keep Carol and many of Earth's greatest defenders off-planet. Further, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Act, which ceded power of the executive branch to the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the direst of emergencies, had been invoked. Captain America now ruled America, through S.H.I.E.L.D. and on behalf of Hydra. And he couldn't have succeeded without Carol Danvers, her desperate need to be treated as a hero, and her reactionary efforts to defend the Earth at any cost.

Steve warned Carol she would regret her decisions. And he was right. [Secret Empire #0]

Nevertheless, she persisted. Captain Marvel spent months in space holding the line with her ever-weakening allies. The Guardians helped with supply runs to provide food for the space station, but no other alien race was interested in coming to the aid of Earth in their "internal dispute". Galactus was too weak from his conflict with Logos to help the Ultimates without risking himself. Indeed, he called upon their aid during the crisis as the First Firmament manipulated agents into breaking down the walls of the multiverse so that it could assimilate Eternity. Eternity survived, however, thanks to two groups of Ultimates, the Maker, the High Evolutionary, Galactus's Eternity Watch, and even the other surviving infinities of the multiverse, the Ultimate Ultimates. With the First Firmament under control, Galactus Lifebringer returned Captain Marvel and her team to Alpha Flight Space Station with the best gift he could offer: the spirit of hope returning to the universe. [Ultimates 2 #100]

Carol maintained her defense of Earth, eliminating vast swaths of Chitauri but losing the war by attirition. After going to great risk to receive a signal from Earth through the shield, Carol's cadets gathered information in order to pinpoint the location of the Chitauri queen on the world below them. Now all they needed was to breach the shield and get to it. Rocket Raccoon had acquired a mad weapon called the Nullifier Bomb which needed the impact of the entire Alpha Flight Space Station to trigger it. Abandoning their home, Alpha Flight relocated to their ships in order to launch the space station at the planetary defense shield. Even the Nullifier Bomb wasn't enough to breach the barrier, but it weakened it enough for Quasar to push through the rest of the way, sacrificing her life in the process. Captain Marvel zipped through the fallen barrier and destroyed the Chitauri queen's hiding place, ending the invasion threat. She then joined the rest of Earth's heroes in opposing Steve Rogers, the Hydra Supreme. They removed the power of the Cosmic Cube from his control and restored the original Captain America to existence, bringing down Hydra and all it had done. [Secret Empire crossover]

In the aftermath, Carol was at loose ends. She was a protector of space with no space station, and Alpha Flight's funding was proving particularly hard to maintain in the aftermath of Hydra's America. Alpha Flight was placed on indefinite paid leave until the reconstruction was finished. Her "apartment" in the Statue of Liberty had been destroyed under the Darkforce dome, and so she was crashing in Jessica Drew's baby room while trying to find her own lodging. Searching for purpose, Carol began seeing Bean's energy form, calling to her for help. [Mighty Captain Marvel #9]

Dr. Eve and her Mim unit returned and stole a genetic sample from Carol, leading her on a chase into another reality. This dark galaxy was populated by the thief and smuggler Colonel Danvers and her Zeta Flight as well as their nemeses Lord Starkill and the Ravagers. Carol stepped into the shoes of her counterpart and discovered Eve was searching for the Reality Stone, formerly of the Infinity Gems. With Bean as an energy "multiform", combined with Carol's enhanced abilities and the Reality Stone, Eve intended to transport the Hala of the dark galaxy back to their reality, recreating the destroyed Kree homeworld back home. Bean was willing to assist Eve, but once she and Carol forcibly merged to carry out the transition, Bean was able to perceive the damage her actions would cause. Captain Marvel and Bean instead transited themselves back to the prime Earth, finding the Alpha Flight station rebuilt and Bean restored to physical form. Whether Hala also came with them in the process, however, remains to be told. [Captain Marvel (10th series) #125-129]