Carol Danvers has been a lot of different people over the years. A normal human woman. Half-human/Kree warrior. Rogue from the X-Men (kind of). As a result, she’s had quite a few different outfits. Most of them all stick to one or two different core themes, meaning to try to debate which is the best is often debating what aspect of one is better than the other.
The good and the bad are often all in the details. Here are the five costumes from across all media that made Captain Marvel look cool, and five that made her look lame.
10 Lame: Warbird
There is nothing wrong really with the costume Carol Danvers wore when she didn’t have her superpowers. It’s a perfectly fine standard S.H.I.E.L.D. kind of armor. Except it’s just not her. Her legacy as first Ms. Marvel and later Captain Marvel involved a lot of colors and some striking and simple iconography that this off the rack standard-issue set of fatigues just doesn’t.
If she had colored it up a little, maybe, but otherwise this is one look that didn’t do her any favors.
9 Cool: Ms. Marvel
While the bathing suit look might be a little outdated at this stage, it at least one fan in Brie Larson. Carol’s classic 70s look lasted quite a while, and it’s easy to see why. Besides accentuating her beauty, it introduced the lightning bolt icon which was synonymous with her for years.
The black (or was it blue?) costume was certainly of its time but served her well. This particular look also introduced the red sash, which would later become a distinguishing feature of her iconic modern look.
8 Lame: Ms. Marvel (Original)
Though some elements of her later more successful costume are present here – the star icon and red and blue color elements – Carol’s first costume as Ms. Marvel is a disaster. If the black bathing suit outfit she wore in the 70s was a little too revealing, this was barely passable. Basically a bikini with a bare mid-riff and for some reason a scarf, it’s based in part on Carol Danvers’ Kree bestie Mar-Vell’s costume. Needless to say, it would not have won a competition on Making The Cut.
7 Cool: Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
There were some positive aspects in the original Ms. Marvel costume, as her current outfit was able to suss out. Another iteration that found the good in the bad was the version of Carol Danvers from the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes animated series.
Reducing the awkward and needless gratuitous parts of the costume, the animated version emphasizes the domino mask and scarf. With added elements of blue, it gets real close to what she eventually arrives at in the comics.
6 Lame: Binary
Binary Carol Danvers is cool. The costume, not so much. Like the Warbird costume, the Binary look goes pretty far off course from where Carol usually is. As a result, it doesn’t entirely work for her. This glowy woman could be anybody. There’s nothing distinctive really about the design, though the white and red contrast is striking. Carol first achieved her Binary form after finally escaping the mental prison she was in after being absorbed by Rogue. Still, it all made for a really good book.
5 Cool: The Mighty Ms. Marvel
Not too long before Carol officially became Captain Marvel, she was still going by Ms. Marvel and back in the black 70s costume. Then things got hairy on Asgard, as they are wont to do, and Carol along with the other Avengers geared up with some serious Asgardian hardware. After she picks up an ax, she gets a bit of a makeover, too. The bathing suit becomes a bodysuit, and the yellow lightning bolt becomes a glowing pattern throughout. Definitely the best version of her Ms. Marvel looks.
4 Lame: Silver Modern
As a simple color variation on her current costume, this one should do better, but it commits the cardinal sin of lame Captain Marvel costumes: no color. Carol Danvers wore this particular version when she worked with the Avengers to track down the Illuminati back in 2014. She looks like she would fit in more with the black and gray uniforms of Wolverine’s X-Force than she does the Avengers. The design is a winner (watch this space), but the color brings it down. Way down.
3 Cool: MCU
The MCU version of the Captain Marvel costume takes the current comics one and brings it to life. Like all the generally successful film adaptations of comics costumes from the MCU, Carol Danvers sees a costume rendered in practical materials and with practical concerns. There are pockets and zippers (and seams!) that weren’t there before.
The costume also de-emphasizes her figure in a way other female superhero costumes tend not to do. Carol’s early comic costumes oversold her figure, but the current version doesn’t and the film version goes even further, with a quasi-military feel that is virtually unisex.
2 Lame: Extra Binary
The general direction on costume design for Carol Danvers seems to be up or down. No in-between. For a brief time, while she was still in her binary form, she went back to her classic Ms. Marvel black and gold look. Combined with the red, angry fire woman of the Binary persona, it was a little much. Carol came off looking too much like Dark Phoenix, or maybe if Jean Grey had gone Dark Phoenix will still in her Black Queen get up from the Hellfire Club. Moving on.
1 Cool: Modern
Some characters show up with their signature looks right out of the gate. Some have to work up to it. Carol Danvers certainly put in the years, but with her inevitable and welcome ascendency to Captain Marvel, she finally finds her iconic look. The elements have been there all along: red, blue, the star. Gone are the needless designs showing off her figure and the crazy, colorless designs of her most extreme versions. This look was a slam dunk from the moment it hit the page and its translation to the big screen only cemented its status as the Captain Marvel costume.
Carol “Captain Marvel” Danvers has had a ton of costumes, but which are the coolest & best? And which are the worst that looked lame as hell?