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The New Captain Marvel Is The Answer to DC's Starfire

While they may both be innocent, glowing, and space heroines, Starfire and Binary go down subtly different paths in DC and Marvel Comics.

The New Captain Marvel Is The Answer to DC's Starfire

Split in two, Carol Danvers, Binary, the new Captain Marvel, isn't just a character revamp: it's also Marvel's answer to one of DC Comics' most famous heroines, Starfire. As two extraterrestrial characters making a home in an unfamiliar land, both characters are remarkably similar in design and temperament. This isn't to say Binary is a perfect carbon copy, however, as her adventures seem to be based more on introspection and self-reflection while Starfire often finds herself dealing with social dynamics and relationships.

The embodiment of the cosmic power of Carol Danvers, Binary is no longer a nickname assumed by Captain Marvel but has become an entity in its own right after the Last of the Marvels event. After appearing in the fight against the Vox Supreme, Binary has since settled on the ground. Now, she works as a surrogate for Captain Marvel in the New York Heroes Society while Carol has mysteriously disappeared.

We get our first glimpses of the actual Binary character in Captain Marvel #37 and #38, by Kelly Thompson, Julius Ota, Juan Frigerei, and Alvaro Lopez. The duo is portrayed as a newcomer to the existence, almost childish in their unfamiliarity with sensation and death, not to mention human customs and culture. Her speech is fickle due to her lack of contractions, and she is overwhelmed with simple sensations like good food, music, and dancing. Spider-Woman and Hazmat take her under their wing, helping her adjust to her new life on Earth.

The New Captain Marvel Is The Answer to DC's Starfire

Comparisons to DC's Starfire abound. The two share strikingly similar designs: reddish-orange skin and long, flowing hair that often transforms into a mane of energy. Much like Binary's newfound joy in the simple pleasures of the senses, Starfire can appear "incredibly" wonderful with its zest for life and the joy of life. Even their power is similar, with Binary Photon explosions comparable to Starfire's Tamaranean star bolts. They even share an aversion to using contractions.

It wasn't until near the end of Captain Marvel #38 that we started seeing one of the major differences between the pair. Binary sits in Carol's apartment watching the news covering her latest heroics and reflecting on Carol's influence and legacy. "I'm not Carol. I'm a binary," she said, staring into the mirror as Carol's reflection stared back (it's not clear if this is a visual metaphor or if the Binary's appearance has changed). Binary's primary conflict is a self-identity conflict: born of someone else's power and taking on someone else's name, it is set up to deal with who or what is outside of being the ultimate form of Carol Danvers. Starfire, by contrast, is self-confident; Her struggles revolve around other people, such as the fraught relationship she has with her sister or the infamous love affair with Nightwing.

Starfire's emotional honesty made her one of DC's heroines. With Binary, Marvel appears to be taking a more deliberate approach, pairing the same sense of innocent joy with a deeper inner struggle as it tries to figure out who she is and who she wants to be. Starfire is a lovable character, but Marvel has found an elegant answer to it in the new Captain Marvel.

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