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 United States Air Force in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (March 1968) and as Ms. Marvel—a fusion of alien Kree and human genes—in Ms. Marvel #1 (January 1977).
Debuting in the Silver Age of comics, the character featured in a self-titled series in the late 1970s before becoming associated with superhero teams the Avengers and the 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 video games, animated television series, and merchandise such as trading cards. In the 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." She was ranked 29th in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.
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. Danvers is caught in the explosion of a Kree device, after being kidnapped by Yon-Rogg. Although Captain Marvel manages to save her life, Danvers sustains serious injuries.
Danvers resurfaces with superhuman abilities and becomes the hero Ms. Marvel in a self-titled series in January 1977, at first written by Gerry Conway and later by Chris Claremont. It was revealed that the energy exposure from the explosion caused Danver's genetic structure to meld with Captain Marvel's, effectively turning her into a human-Kree hybrid.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. During this period, she became the first superhero to encounter the mutant terrorist Mystique, who kills Ms. Marvel's lover, Michael Barnett.
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. 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 (1981).
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, the British team Excalibur as well as a solo adventure.
Claremont expanded on the incident with the character Rogue by having the Carol Danvers persona manifest itself within Rogue's mind, sometimes overpowering Rogue's personality. This happened to Rogue on several occasions, which caused an uneasy armistice between them. Sometime later after Rogue was blown through the ancient supernatural gateway called the Siege Perilous, the Ms. Marvel persona was separated from her as an independent entity. However as the two battled, they each discovered there was not enough lifeforce between them to allow them both to exist. Just as the Ms. Marvel persona was on the verge of killing Rogue, Magneto intervened and destroyed her, saving Rogue's life.
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 had lost her connection to the white hole she drew her powers from, reverting to use of the original Ms. Marvel powers, but retaining the energy manipulation and absorption 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, and The Avengers before making a cameo appearance in Mutant X.
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 The 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 being the elimination of super-villains before they become global threats.
Ms. Marvel was captured by the Brood on Monster Island, whereupon she found the Brood Queen. An intense confrontation ensued during which Ms. Marvel was temporarily cut off from her powers and had to fight the Brood Queen as Carol Danvers and, at one point, she was stripped of her civilian clothing, forced to drift through space until she was able to access her powers.
Ms. Marvel also plays a significant role in the limited series Secret Invasion against the alien shape-shifting Skrulls. She befriends the Skrull impostor of Captain Marvel and proves to him that she is not a Skrull by revealing intimate details about their life together. 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 the organization Advanced Idea Mechanics [AIM]), and a character known as the "Storyteller" and reclaims the title of Ms. Marvel from Karla Sofen.
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. Carol also begins to develop a friendship with Spider-Man. Though he infuriated her the first time they worked together, the two become closer when he helps her during the Dark Reign storyline, and she later admits to having feelings for him. They have both also rejoined the newly formed New Avengers.
With Ms. Marvel #1 in 1977, writer Gerry Conway played a significant role in the character's 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' 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 in <i.Avengers</i> #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' 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 Comics 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." Brian Reed's characterization of Ms. Marvel (in the "War of the Marvels" story arc) has been said to be "an engaging mix of bravado and aggression juxtaposed with compassion and empathy."
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. After Rogue was purged of Danvers' memories and abilities by the mysterious mutant infant, Carol Danvers' memories and abilities were returned to her years later.
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 half 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.
Age of Apocalypse
A powerless Carol Danvers helps Logan and Gateway escape at the price of her life, only to be "healed" and used by Pierce as a living weapon against her friends.
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.[
Ms. Marvel is one of the first on the scene when a zombified Sentry bursts onto Earth-2149, and was one of the first heroes to be infected. Ms Marvel, and the rest of the Avengers continue their rampage until their appetite is sated, at which point their minds clear a little, and they decide to go back to Avengers Towers to work out how to beat the zombie plauge. By the time they arrive back, the hunger has taken hold once more and they consume Jarvis. After this snack, and being joined by Giant Man, they are still hungry, and so send out an “Avengers Assemble” message, and wait for the others to arrive.
A version of Carol appears in the title New Mangaverse: The Rings of Fate briefly using the callsign Warbird. She later adopts the shield, costume, and name of Captain America at the end of the series. She displays superhuman strength and a near-invulnerability in the miniseries. No genuine explanation is given to how her powers came to exist in the Mangaverse (though it is implied that she somehow gained them after exposure to attacks from the Rings of the Mandarin, as she claims she can feel the power of the Rings while climbing Mt. Fuji in the final issue of the series, indicating she followed them back to their present location on foot from the air base.), as she appears at first as a normal human, piloting what appears to be a variant design of an F-22 while assigned to the Yokota Air Force base and survives her plane being destroyed by agents of the Hand, as well as a number of direct attacks which leave her briefly hospitalized, only to awaken with her injuries more or less fully healed and exhibiting superhuman strength as she destroys a heart monitor and needle, then lifts up a bed one handed with no effort. She further displays this enhanced strength when she cleaves Elektra in half with a single swing after climbing Mount Fuji with little real effort, making handholds on her own due to her new strength.
The MAX version of Carol Danvers which is retconned back to the original Marvel line appeared in the comic Alias. More of her persona is displayed. Despite being a heroine, she comes off as superficial, picky, and has no problems setting people up. She set up Jessica Jones on a blind date with one of the Ant-Man. During the date Jessica Jones stated to him that Carol was her idea mate on paper, but declined him, because he had served time in prison.
The Ultimate Marvel imprint features a version of the character without superhuman abilities. In the title Ultimate Power, the character becomes acting director of S.H.I.E.L.D. after Nick Fury's disappearance. Her first mission she works on is to apprehend Norman Osborn after he escapes from the Triskelion. Things got difficult for her when Norman lied to the press that S.H.I.E.L.D. wrongly imprisoned him for trying to make the world a safer place, putting the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents out of a job. She receives help from Spider-Man after she arrests him in public, hoping that it would lure Norman to her. She summoned a press release and had Harry tell the reporters the truth that Norman was a horrible person for experimenting on himself and killing his mother. Outraged, Norman went to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and attacked his son along with her, Spider-Man, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on board. Norman accidentally killed Harry and, feeling guilty, tells the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to kill him. Peter becomes angry at Danvers because Harry died on her watch and told her to stay out of his life. She did not do as he asked, but she still felt sorry for him.
Reed Richards saves her life, but damages himself while stretching to stop her fall.
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
Carol Danvers appears in the X-Men episode "A Rogue's Tale" voiced by Roscoe Handford. The episode tells the story of how Rogue is tricked by Mystique into permanently stealing Ms. Marvel's powers, leaving Carol comatose. Ms. Marvel appears in The Super Hero Squad Show, voiced by Grey DeLisle She is depicted as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who is the strict superior of the Super Hero Squad. Carol Danvers first appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "459", voiced by Jennifer Hale. She appears as a military officer that works at a research center in the near mountains. When it came to an attack by a Kree Sentry, Walter Lawson protects her from the attack with energy from him getting into her. She ended up hospitalized. Following the Nega Bomb in the Kree Sentry being averted, Ant-Man ended up in the same hospital room that she was in. Wasp and Ant-Man's (slightly uncomfortable) conversation ends up interrupted when Carol, who before was asleep/unconscious, asks why the ceiling is so low, and she is shown floating above her bed, a few inches from the ceiling. She will be joining the group as Ms. Marvel in season 2.
Ms. Marvel appears as a playable character in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance voiced by April Stewart. April Stewart reprises her role of Ms. Marvel as a playable character in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. Ms. Marvel appears in the Marvel Super Hero Squad video game voiced by Grey DeLisle. Ms. Marvel is a playable character in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online, voiced again by Grey DeLisle.
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