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Captain Marvel was Nick Fury’s Avengers Plan B, new Infinity War prequel shows

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Carol Danvers sounds as powerful as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Hulk combined

captain marvel (brie larson) in the desert Marvel Studios

Nick Fury has always believed in the Avengers, this week’s official Captain Marvel preview comic reminds us, before it shows us how the superhero team failed to live up to his expectations.

But Fury has always had a back up plan. And his Plan B for an entire team of superheroes is one woman: Captain Marvel.

Marvel Captain Marvel Prelude shows us the road that lead to Nick Fury grabbing his beeper and contacting Captain Marvel is a lot longer than you might expect — the issue begins with a reminder of the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. The events of Age of Ultron directly led to the Sokovia Accords, a call for the Avengers to accept government oversight or disband, and the fallout from the Accords led directly to the Avengers breaking up.

Yes, Bruce, exactly like that.
Marvel Studios

To Nick Fury, that’s a problem. After all, he brought the Avengers together in the first place — he even used the death of one of his subordinates to manipulate Captain America, Iron Man and Thor into setting aside their differences to work together.

“Otherworldly threats are one thing,” he tells Agent Maria Hill in Captain Marvel Prelude, shortly after the events of Captain America: Civil War, “but this rift [the Sokovia Accords] caused between Stark and Rogers might be something neither one can ever come back from. We can’t afford that kind of infighting.”

But still, Fury believes that if something truly existential threatened humanity, the Avengers would reunite. Maria alludes to the old adage that you should never meet your heroes, because they’ll just disappoint you.

“Not all of them,” Fury says.

“You got one we haven’t called yet? Might be helpful to have a backup plan in case the worst should ever come.”

He has a simple answer.

Nick Fury and Maria Hill in Marvel Captain Marvel Prelude #1, Marvel Comics (2018).
Boy, Nick, that sure is a conspicuous shot of you slipping a beeper into your duffle bag!
Will Corona Pilgrim, Andrea Di Vito/Marvel Comics

The next few scenes in the comic show Fury and Hill trying to entice an underground Captain America that it’s time to come in from the cold, and convince a prideful Tony Stark that everyone’s cooled down enough to get the band back together. But neither is interested.

By then, it’s too late: The next scene is the end credits scene of Avengers: Infinity War, in which Fury and Hill both crumble into dust after Thanos’ Snap, and Nick just manages to ping Captain Marvel.

Marvel’s string of Marvel Cinematic Universe prelude books are usually mostly recaps of existing films, and Marvel Captain Marvel Prelude is no different, but it does has one subtle message, and one significant point.

First, the Avengers didn’t fail in Infinity War just because Thanos was powerful, the comic points out, but because they didn’t come together as a team.

Second, Nick Fury didn’t think he needed a back up Avengers team: Just one back up Avenger.

What did Captain Marvel do to earn not just his trust, but his esteem? We’ll find out in March, 2019, when Captain Marvel hits theaters.