After the death of Mar-Vell (Captain Marvel), his lover Elysius decides to have a son. As one of the Eternals living on 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.
Elysius like her son was created artificially. Elysius was created by the Titan computer ISAAC which had been corrupted by Thanos.
When the Destiny Force resurfaces in Rick Jones for a second time (the first time occurring during the Kree-Skrull War), 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, eventually revealed to have been selected because of the role his interaction with Rick Jones would play in shaping the final outcome of the storyline. At the climax of the Destiny War and with Rick Jones' life in jeopardy, Genis recreates 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' father, Mar-Vell, 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-Vell and Rick, however, alternate between the Microverse and the regular Marvel Universe and can not only hear each other's thoughts unaided but can also see each other in reflective surfaces or as red ghostly visions.
Whereas Mar-Vell and Rick formed a strong friendship during their time together, Genis-Vell and Rick have a much harder time getting along. Genis' alien (and immature) perspective make him unfathomable to Rick's jaded-sidekick sensibilities. Their ability to see and hear what the other is experiencing lead to awkward situations with Rick's wife, Marlo Chandler, and Genis' many amorous partners. Eventually, however, they become good friends
Genis' inability to control his Cosmic Awareness results in insanity. After a string of irrational adventures, Genis destroys the universe at the behest of Entropy and Epiphany. The universe is recreated with a Last Thursdayism effect on the universe's population, although with several alterations. No one remembers Genis' insanity, and he has an adult sister named Phyla-Vell. Although he swears to do good throughout the universe, a hallucination of Epiphany tells him that he is still insane.
Genis sets up an office for his superhero activities on Hyperion. Phyla arrives to mock his efforts, but they are interrupted when a future version of Marlo attacks them. Genis travels through time to find out why Marlo became a villain, and hopefully prevent it. Genis learns that his son (who has not yet been born in Genis' timeline) is evil and plans to use both Marlo and Genis to trigger a near-universal extinction event. Unable to overcome his son in battle, Genis defeats him by choosing to kill his son as an infant (an event still in his future). By making the decision, his adult son fades away. Genis returns to the present, suffering great anguish from his choice.
Genis was separated from Rick by the cosmic entity Expediency
Genis 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. Though 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.
Genis' subsequent adoption of the name "Photon" causes him to quarrel with Monica Rambeau, who had also called herself "Photon" and "Captain Marvel." In the end, Genis is allowed to use the name "Photon" and Monica decides to use the codename "Pulsar".
However, Zemo realises 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
Powers and abilities
Due to his Titanian Eternal mother, Genis is far more powerful than his father, although he still needs the Nega-Bands to make full use of his abilities. He was able to go toe-to-toe with King Thor, a more powerful incarnate of Thor with Odin's powers. His powers were also increased further when he merged with his future versions. His energy projection is so vast that he was able to kill the cosmic entity Eternity. He was even able to help Eternity's son Entrophy in restarting the universe - 616.
Initially, he only uses the Nega-Bands for flight, energy siphoning, energy blasts, and transportation to and from the Negative Zone. He is also able to augment his strength beyond 15 tons to the point where he was able to hurt the Maestro Hulk or Drax the Destroyer. After bonding with Rick, his latent Cosmic Awareness, inherited from his father, is activated. His link to another dimension is redirected from the Negative Zone to the Microverse. In the comic New Thunderbolts #6 it is revealed that he can revive himself from certain death. He was also able to give the Punisher insight into his future which in turn had Castle in tears. It is later revealed that he can exist in the past, present and future of multiple realities at the same time, this allows him to open portals to different timelines.
Originally, he can focus his cosmic awareness, allowing him to realize exactly what he needs to know at a particular time. When his powers grew, however, he is driven mad by the vast scope of his awareness, despite this he was an omniversal level telepath. While insane, he returns from the dead, raises Rick Jones from the dead, controls other dead bodies, creates holograms, empowers an alien serial killer, and survives a combined assault from multiple alien spacefleets.
After Zemo accidentally links him to other areas of time, Genis absorbs the Nega-Bands and develops teleportation powers that could transport him through both time and space.
Photon's fellow Thunderbolt, Dr. Chen Lu, the Radioactive Man, theorises that Genis could control the photons of which everything is composed, implying large scale reality altering powers.