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Ms. Marvel

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Ms. Marvel features on the cover of Ms. Marvel vol. 2, #1 (March 2006). Art by Frank Cho.
Real Name = Carol Susan Jane Danvers
Species = Human (empowered)
Publisher = Marvel Comics
Debut = Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (March 1968)
Creators = Roy Thomas
Gene Colan
Alliances = United States Air Force
NASA
S.H.I.E.L.D.
X-Men
Starjammers
Avengers
Mighty Avengers
New Avengers
Aliases = Binary, Warbird, Catherine Donovan
Powers = Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, and durability
Energy projection and absorption
Flight

'''Ms. Marvel''' is the name of a fictional character appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Roy Thomas and designed by artist Gene Colan, the non-powered Carol Danvers debuted as a member of the US Air Force in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (1968) and as Ms. Marvel — a fusion of alien Kree and human genes — in Ms. Marvel #1 (Jan. 1977).

Debuting in the Silver Age of comic books, the character featured in a self-titled series in the late 1970s before becoming associated with superhero teams the Avengers and X-Men. The character has also been known as Binary and Warbird at various points in her history, and has featured in other Marvel-endorsed products including arcade and video games; animated television series and merchandise such as trading cards. In 2000s, the increased use of her as a character eventually prompted some commentators to note that "she's now the House of Ideas' premier heroine."

Contents

Publication history

1960s

The character debuts in the title Marvel Super-Heroes as an officer in the United States Air Force and Security Chief of a restricted military base, where Danvers meets "Dr. Walter Lawson," the human alias of alien Kree hero Captain Marvel.

1970s

Caught in the explosion of a Kree device, the character gains superhuman abilities and becomes the hero Ms. Marvel. In January 1977, she is featured in a self-titled series at first written by Gerry Conway and later by Chris Claremont. Ms. Marvel guest-starred alongside the maverick superhero team the Defenders before assisting the Avengers against the robot villain Ultron. The character then had a series of semi-regular appearances in The Avengers, with additional appearances with the Defenders, Spider-Man, the Thing, and Iron Man.

1980s

The 200th issue of the Avengers proved controversial when Ms. Marvel was kidnapped by a character named Marcus — the apparent son of Avengers foe Immortus‚ and taken to an alternate dimension, where she was brainwashed, seduced, and impregnated. The character gives birth on Earth to a child that rapidly ages into another version of Marcus, who takes Ms. Marvel back to the alternate dimension with no opposition from the Avengers. Feminist and comic book historian Carol A. Strickland criticized the storyline in an essay titled "The Rape of Ms. Marvel. Citing Marcus's line "...Finally, after relative weeks of such efforts — and admittedly, with a subtle boost from Immortus' machines — you became mine," Strickland posited that Ms. Marvel's impregnation was simply rape by another name. As former writer of the solo title, Chris Claremont also commented on the inappropriateness of the storyline, and effectively "undid" the story in Avengers Annual #10 (Dec. 1980).

Carol Danvers appears as Ms. Marvel on the cover of Ms. Marvel #1, published in Jan. of 1977. John Romita Sr. drew this cover.
Cover to Uncanny X-Men #164 (Dec. 1982). Carol Danvers' first appearance as Binary. Art by Dave Cockrum.

In that story, Danvers is revealed to have returned to Earth — courtesy of Immortus' technology after Marcus continued to age and die of old age — but is attacked by the mutant Rogue, who permanently absorbs the character's abilities and memories. Danvers' memories are later restored by Professor X, and an angry confrontation with the Avengers concerning their apathy follows. Claremont continued to develop the character in the title Uncanny X-Men, as using espionage, Danvers enters the Pentagon and wiped old government files on the X-Men. During an adventure in space with the mutant team the X-Men, Danvers is changed courtesy of experimentation by the alien race the Brood into a newly empowered character called Binary. Drawing on the power of a cosmic phenomenon called a white hole, Danvers becomes capable of generating the power of a star. As Binary, the character has a number of encounters with the X-Men, New Mutants, a solo adventure, and with the offbeat team Excalibur.

Claremont expanded on the incident with the character Rogue by having the Ms. Marvel persona slowly assert itself on the villain-turned-hero. This happened to Rogue on two occasions before she eventually completely falls under its control to the extent of donning an old Ms. Marvel costume. Magneto is eventually able to destroy the persona and free Rogue.

1990s

The character continued to make sporadic appearances, and two additional issues planned for the original title — prevented by cancellation — were printed in a quarterly anthology series. The same year the character was also used extensively in the storyline Operation Galactic Storm. By the conclusion of the story the character has expended almost all her new abilities, reverting to use of the original Ms. Marvel powers, but retaining the energy manipulation powers she had as Binary, albeit on a smaller scale.

After several more team and solo appearances the character then rejoins the Avengers with the new alias Warbird. Writer Kurt Busiek adds a new dimension to the character and casts her as an alcoholic, struggling to come to terms with the loss of her cosmic powers and memories. Danvers disgraces herself during the "Live Kree or Die" storyline and is soon suspended from active duty.

After a brief appearance in Marvel's alternate universe title What If?, the character features in Iron Man, Wolverine, the Avengers, and Iron Man once more before making a cameo appearance in X-Man.

2000s

The character then featured as "Captain Marvel" in a false reality created by mutant the Scarlet Witch in limited series House of M. This reality pandered to Carol's subconscious desire to be accepted as she proved to be the most popular superhero on Earth. Ms. Marvel then came to prominence again when the character was launched in a second self-titled volume. Together with fellow Avenger Iron Man, Carol also becomes a principal advocate of the Superhuman Registration Act during the events of Civil War. The story also continues in Ms. Marvel's own title as the character battles the anti-registration heroes led by Captain America.

The storyline has major consequences for the New Avengers, with the team splitting and the pro-registration heroes - including Ms. Marvel - forming their own team, debuting in Mighty Avengers. Carol enters into a relationship with fellow member Wonder Man, appears in a crossover series with the robot Transformers, and becomes leader of the Mighty Avengers. The character makes an agreement with Tony Stark, director of S.H.I.E.L.D., to lead a covert strike team called Operation: Lightning Storm, its' designated mission the elimination of super villains before they become global threats.

After teaming with Spider-Man Ms. Marvel also plays a significant role in the limited series Secret Invasion against the alien shape-shifting Skrulls. At the conclusion of the war with the Skrulls, Norman Osborn is placed in charge of the registered Avengers team. Refusing to serve under Osborn, Ms. Marvel flees Avengers Tower and joins the New Avengers, becoming second-in-command. Osborn appoints former Thunderbolt member Moonstone (Karla Sofen) as the "new" Ms. Marvel to his Dark Avengers team; Moonstone wears a variation of Ms. Marvel's original costume. Osborn engineers a battle that results in Danvers' powers overloading, causing her apparent death. The character Moonstone takes over the title role in the ongoing Ms. Marvel series. Carol Danvers returns with the aid of the New Avengers, a group of MODOK embryos (creations of organization Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM)) and a character known as the Storyteller and reclaims the title of Ms. Marvel from Karla Sofen.

2010s

In the conclusion of the second volume of Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers battles her old nemesis Mystique and a clone of Captain Marvel created by the Skrulls during the Secret Invasion, after they carry out a series of tragedies at temples belonging to the Church of Hala, a church dedicated to Mar-Vell. Danvers later aids the allied forces of Captain America against Norman Osborn during the Siege of Asgard.

Characterization

Writer Gerry Conway played a significant role in the character's subsequent development, writing in his introduction to the series, ". . . you might see a parallel between her quest for identity, and the modern woman's quest for raised consciousness, for self-liberation, for identity."

Ms. Marvel's uniform and abilities, however, were derived from the character's then-contemporary male counterpart: Captain Marvel. Furthermore, the character's blonde hair and civilian name of Carol Danvers form a clear connection to DC Comics's Supergirl, a character created entirely in imitation of a male counterpart--and whose secret identity was Linda Lee Danvers.

The Ms. Marvel letters page ("Ms. Prints") featured letters debating whether or not the character was feminist. Reader (and frequent letterhack) Jana C. Hollingsworth took issue with Ms. Marvel's entire origin: "For the eleven years I've been a comics fan, I've been proud of how Marvel resisted the temptation to create male-based heroines à la Supergirl. It's been proudly proclaimed that Ms. Marvel is not Marvel Girl; well, maybe the early Marvel Girl did have weak powers and an insipid personality, but at least her powers were her powers and her personality was her personality....I hope you can change her costume if it's all possible, and keep her on her own instead of associating her with Captain Marvel...."

Another reader had issue with the character's outfit: "Question: where is a woman who wears long sleeves, gloves, high boots and a scarf (winter wear), and at the same time has a bare back, belly, and legs? The Arctic equator? That costume requires a few alterations." These questions, and the controversial rape of Avengers #200, caused many readers to question the character's portrayal, and whether she was a good role model for female readers.

It has been noted that "Danvers's initial appearances portrayed her as a strong character, but that changed over time — even after she gained super powers." When Ms. Marvel received her own title in the 2000s, Marvel was "determined to have the character take center stage in the Marvel Universe" with "Joe Quesada and the other powers [having] had the character play major roles in their huge 'House of M' crossover, in the 'New Avengers' and in the gargantuan success that is "Civil War." "Writer Brian Reed has had Ms. Marvel overcome worthy challenges ranging from alien invasions, time-traveling sorcerers and former teammates turned enemy."

Powers and abilities

Ms. Marvel initially possessed superhuman strength, endurance, stamina, flight, physical durability and a limited precognitive "seventh sense". As Binary, the character could tap the energy of a "white hole", allowing manipulation of stellar energies, and therefore control over heat, the electromagnetic spectrum and gravity. Light speed travel and the ability to exist in the vacuum of space were also possible.

Although the link to the white hole was eventually severed, Ms. Marvel retains her Binary powers on a smaller scale, enabling her to both absorb energy and project it in photonic form. The character, however, lacks a constant source of energy to maintain the abilities at their previous cosmic level.

At the moment, Ms. Marvel possesses incredible superhuman strength and durability, can fly at roughly twice the speed of sound and discharge explosive blasts of radiant energy, which she fires from her fingertips. She also demonstrates the ability to absorb other forms of energy, such as electricity, to further magnify her strength and energy projection, up to the force of an exploding nuclear weapon. When sufficiently augmented, she can withstand the pressure from a 92-ton weight, and strike with a similar level of force, although Hank Pym theorized that this likely was not her limit. Carol cannot absorb magical energy without consequence, though she aided Dr. Stephen Strange in the defeat of the mystic menace Sir Warren Traveler.

Carol Danvers is also an exceptional espionage agent, pilot, hand-to-hand combatant and markswoman.

Other versions

Exiles

An evil version of the character features in the title Exiles, joining the alternate universe explorers Weapon X and becoming the lover of master villain Hyperion.

Marvel Mangaverse

A powerless version appears in the title Marvel Mangaverse: Avengers Assemble, retaining the military persona as Lt. Carol Danvers USAF.

Ultimate Marvel

The Ultimate Marvel imprint features a version of the character without superhuman abilities. In the title Ultimate Power the character becomes acting Director of spy organization S.H.I.E.L.D. after Nick Fury's disappearance.

X-Men: The End

The limited series X-Men: The End features a version of the character that exists as pure energy and controls the spaceship the Starjammer.

In other media

Ms. Marvel appears in the X-Men animated series (1992) voiced by Roscoe Handford, and The Super Hero Squad Show (2009) voiced by Grey DeLisle.

The character appears in the video games Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (2006) and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (2009), voiced by April Stewart on both occasions; and Marvel Super Hero Squad (video game) (2009) voiced by Grey DeLisle.

Bibliography

  • Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (1968)
  • Ms. Marvel #1-23 (1977–1979)
  • Avengers Annual #8 (1978), #10 (1980)
  • Marvel Super-Heroes vol. 2 #10-11 (1992)
  • Ms. Marvel vol. 2 #1 - 50 (2006–2010)
  • Giant Size Ms. Marvel #1 (2006)
  • Mighty Avengers #1-20 (2007–2009)
  • Ms. Marvel Special #1 (2007)
  • Ms. Marvel Annual #1 (2008)
  • New Avengers #48-64, Annual #3 (2009-2010)

Collected Editions

  • Ms. Marvel: Volume 1: Best of the Best (#1-5, Giant Size Ms. Marvel)
  • Ms. Marvel: Volume 2: Civil War (#6-10, Ms. Marvel Special)
  • Ms. Marvel: Volume 3: Operation Lightning Storm (#11-17)
  • Ms. Marvel: Volume 4: Monster Smash (#18-24)
  • Ms. Marvel: Volume 5: Secret Invasion (#25-30)
  • Ms. Marvel: Volume 6: Ascension (#31-34, Storyteller #1-2, Annual)
  • Ms. Marvel: Volume 7: Dark Reign (#35-41)
  • Ms. Marvel: Volume 8: War of the Marvels (#42-46)
  • Ms. Marvel: Volume 9: Best You Can Be (#47-50)

See also

Footnotes

External links