(Before Ms. Marvel, part #2)
This profile is part of a large, marvellous series.
For orientation you definitely should first check our guide to Ms. Marvels.
This part is mostly about military and intelligence service.
And the previous soundtrack was sung by Terri Nunn.
So there’s no choice, really.
(Context – Under the gun was a stray, but notable, 1993 tune by the Sisters of Mercy with Ms. Nunn on co-vocals. The Sisters were one of the major gothic rock bands of the late 1980s, with the sort of cold and dark sound you can hear here).
History (part 1)
(The dates mentioned in this section all assume our suggested timeline. But you know that from the previous writeup.)
Carol is the eldest child of a Boston couple.
Her father was a stubborn man, with a strong personality and conservative mores. He prized self-reliance, courage and persistence – which he perceived as manly. He was disappointed that his first child was a girl.
Carol therefore spent much of her childhood and adolescence proving that she could be as tough as any boy.
She excelled in traditionally masculine pursuits. Such as ball games, poker or helping with building the family’s summer house near Cape Cod.
Yet this was not enough to smooth over her relationship with her father. She spent most of her teens fighting with him.
Onward and upward
Ms. Danvers developed an interest in cutting-edge aviation.
As a child, she spent her Saturday afternoons assembling model kits of WWII fighter planes. During her teens, she hitchhiked away on the sly to go watch test flights. Her furious father beat her over the later.
(The flight in question was stated to be an Apollo launch. If we stick with our suggested, hypothetical late 1930s birth date, Carol likely went to watch a test flight of the groundbreaking X-Plane experimental program instead).
She also was fascinated by the then-contemporary “golden age of American sci-fi”. She avidly read Clarke, Heinlein, Pohl, Asimov and other landmark authors.
We do need an education
Excelling as a high school student, Carol wanted to go to college. However, her father again objected. He could afford to send but one of his kids to college.
Joseph Danvers Sr. predictably decided it would be Steve, the elder son. Furthermore, Steve’s grades were higher than even Carol’s.
According to Mr. Danvers, girls did not need a higher education. They just had to find a good husband.
Carol worked part-time from age 16 to 18, chiefly at Filene’s Basement . But that wasn’t enough to pay for her tuition, and her father refused to loan her the missing amount.
(These bits of background are more reasons to establish a timeline. A woman born during the 1930s wanting to go to college instead of marrying has a very different charge than with one born decades later. And “she loves reading sci-fi” is different from “she grew up during the golden age of sci-fi and read much of it fresh off the printing press”).
You’re in the Air Force now
Tough, smart, having graduated as the valedictorian of her high school, and ahead of her times, Carol joined the Air Force.
She signed on the day after her 18th birthday, without warning her family.
In the military, she soon met Colonel Michael “Ace” Rossi. He became her mentor, then her friend.
In the Chair Force, Danvers rapidly became a Major — and qualified as a test pilot. Her callsign, assigned under unrevealed circumstances, was “Cheeseburger”.
Cheeseburger was often thought to be the top pilot in the WAF and even the USAF. Her career progression was something of a record.
Above and beyond
In unrevealed circumstances, Danvers was decorated by the President for service above and beyond the call of duty. She received the Medal of Honor .
The most logical hypothesis is that it took place during her career as a pilot, helping explain her senior rank.
Carol’s final mission as a military pilot was a test flight. She flew an experimental Stark Industries spy plane over Afghanistan, while Tony Stark was present.
However, she was shot down by a missile that unexpectedly defeated all counter-measures.
Major Danvers was captured and tortured by a local armed force headed by one Rashid Ghazi. But she escaped, killing several guards and grabbing documents in the process.
She thus learned that her captors were working for the CIA. They apparently thought that Danvers’ mission was to kill them as part of an American treason.
With a broken arm, a broken leg and five missing fingernails, Danvers crossed 30 miles (48 km) of bad terrain to rendezvous with Rossi. He was in Afghanistan to establish the groundwork for downed pilots recovery operations. Danvers ended up being his first customer.
Carol now had highly sensitive information about CIA ops in Afghanistan. Rossi told her to play dumb and not mention what she had found to the USAF.
But once she was stateside and out of the hospital, Danvers had her military flight licence revoked.
History (part 2)
This shocked Major Danvers. But she soon learned that it was a necessary step for her transfer to Rossi’s Air Force intelligence unit.
It was known as “Strategic Operations” or “Special Operations”.
Danvers completed intelligence and combat training. She then became Rossi’s field partner within Strategic Operations — and eventually his lover.
This duo was among the top American intelligence assets during the Cold War. During this era, Carol made Colonel.
However, Rossi and Danvers’ attempts to follow up on the information she had found in Afghanistan were less successful. They were foiled in Berlin by an American mercenary — Rick Mason, the Agent — working for unrevealed parties.
After years with Strategic Operations, Colonel Danvers — still looking in her 20s — apparently transferred to the CIA.
(There are conflicting accounts as to whether she was with the CIA. And whether she even transferred at all. But the CIA remains the most likely possibility).
As an Agency operative, Danvers did several missions with the legendary Nick Fury as her partner.
She also became a friend of star agent Logan (James Howlett).
In matters agricultural
One documented operation paired Colonel Danvers with Colonel Fury. They acted upon a tip about a secret weapon hidden within the Department of Agriculture.
The weapon turned out to be Logan, whose memories had recently been heavily edited. Fury and Danvers helped him escape from apparently American agents.
After receiving unexpected help from the Black Widow (Natalia Romanova), Fury decided to just let Logan leave for Canada. He told Danvers that he had his reasons to disobey orders.
Years later, Logan would become the Canadian costumed agent Wolverine.
Though Carol cherished her relationship with Michael Rossi, the couple drifted apart. They eventually broke up. Presumably Danvers was sucked into her work – and the constant travel and danger.
Though no longer lovers, they remained good friends and close allies.
From Russia with wings
In 1964 or 1965, Colonel Danvers was detailed to a special mission by Colonel Nicholas Fury. He presumably still was CIA, though he would soon be recruited to head S.H.I.E.L.D..
Hotshot test pilot Benjamin J. Grimm and Canadian operative Logan were her teammates. The trio was provided with an experimental YB-49 Northrop flying wing packed full of special equipment.
Their goal was to gather intelligence about a Soviet experimental site.
However the Soviets were expecting them, and shot down the flying wing. Being the flight engineer, Carol set the aircraft’s nuclear self-destruct charge. She then ran into the woods with the black boxes, whilst Grimm and Logan bought her time.
But the Black Widow disarmed the charges, and the plane was captured intact.
While Logan and Grimm escaped from the guards, Colonel Danvers stole a Yak aircraft. Spotting her colleagues shortly after taking off, she airlifted them away.
The trio went on to recapture their flying wing. From there they dodged the Black Widow long enough to escape.
A crack Canadian special agent — and friend of Logan’s — was then murdered.
Danvers and Logan made unofficial inquiries. They felt that there was something amiss with the official investigation.
They unearthed a mutant conspiracy, involving Canadian intelligence services and the Hellfire Club. Back then, mutants were only known of by a few cutting edge specialists, such as Professor Charles Xavier.
Logan did not yet know that he was a mutant, though he strongly suspected a link. Therefore, he and Danvers kept digging. Even though it seemed to be swivel-eyed conspiracy nonsense about secret supermen and improbable shady organisations.
Victor Crreed, working for this conspiracy, killed the witnesses and destroyed the scant evidence. But Danvers and Logan still procured concrete intelligence.
In a fateful moment, Carol transmitted this evidence to “a freshman Senator who seemed on the up and up” – Senator Kelly.
Thus did Colonel Danvers unwittingly play a major role in what would become Project: Wideawake and the anti-mutant policies of the US government.
Meanwhile, Fury went on to become the head of S.H.I.E.L.D.. He also recruited Mike Rossi.
Killed in action
Some months later, Carol’s brother Steve was killed in Việt Nam.
Steve’s death had a dire effect on the Danvers. Devastated by the loss of his son, Joe Sr. started drinking too much whilst pretending that everything was all right.
This worsened his relationship with Carol. And foreshadowed his daughter’s own bout with alcoholism decades later.
(A later account has Steve dying much earlier, just before Carol joins the Air Force. This seems to be a continuity mistake.)
End of an era – Lubyanka
In 1966, Carol was caught by the KGB and sent to the Lubyanka prison.
Her superiors gave up on her, and forbade any rescue attempt.
However her close friends Rossi and Logan went AWOL. They busted her out of Lubyanka, exfiltrating her back to the US.
How she had been captured, what happened in prison, and how the rescue mission went was never explored.
Carol was left badly diminished — physically and psychologically — by her imprisonment. She therefore had to leave the US intelligence apparat.
Danvers’ youth and attractiveness are frequently commented upon by the men she encounters. To the point of monotony.
Officially she is 5’11” (1.80m). Yet she does not seem that tall in any of the flashbacks or period art. Furthermore, a 5’11” woman would not have been a common sight during the 1960s.
We therefore assume that her successive mutations as Ms. Marvel and Binary are what gradually boosted her stature.
CAhrul haza nOtabull Bahstonahhxent — AAndd prahsueMAbleetha Bahstondikshun azwell. Just… just be thankful I didn’t rewrite the quotes in propah Bahstonhehglish.
For people unfamiliar with it, here is a gripping, wicked documentary about said accent. It’s also hilarious if you’ve lived in Boston.
Despite her youthful appearance, Agent Danvers is a consummate professional. She’s calm, smart, in control, highly trained, dedicated.
She may be a spy, but she’s a good person – not a casual killer or a torturer. She maintains an idealistic sense of patriotism and of the greatness of the US of A.
Still, if sacrifices are necessary, she will execute on them with little hesitation.
Carol soon grew tired of being treated either as a kid to be protected – or as some sweet piece of behind to be wooed. Even her good friend and most trusted ally, Logan, tended to see her somewhat like a child.
Carol is clearly ahead of her times. During her entire life, she butted her head against conservative views of women’s roles.
That made her cranky about the subject. But she apparently wasn’t exposed to feminist thought until the mid-1960s.
“[My plane] is on fire, I’ve got no landing gear and I don’t have a parachute. This does not bode well.”
“Let him go, Logan. He isn’t worth it. Get control of yourself.”
“Somebody in our government has got to listen. Has got to care.”
(Test-flying a Stark Industries experimental plane after Tony Stark used a lamentable pickup line on her) “Colonel, you can tell Stark the plane operates better than he does.”
DC Universe Adaptation
(This section proposes ways of using this character in DC Universe stories).
“Flashbacks Carol” is connected to the key spies of the Marvel Universe in the 1960s. So it would make sense for her to be a colleague of King Faraday on the danger trail, giving her a similar role in the DCU.
Carol could conceivably have worked with the Suicide Squad. You might even substitute Rick Flag Sr. for Rossi to an extent. Depending upon which Mission X Suicide Squad timeline you use.
Other likely DCU links for the highly-connected Carol include Nathaniel Adams and Steve Trevor in the USAF. Trevor was the son of a lady pilot, and would likely have supported WAF and similar organisations.
A DCU character is somewhat similar to Carol at this stage. Namely Captain Jillian Pearlman of the USAF, call-sign Cowgirl, a friend of Hal Jordan. Pearlman was briefly turned into Star Sapphire.
With the “small world effect” in super-heroes stories, Pearlman could be Danvers’ niece.
DC Heroes RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
Carol Danvers – in her 20s
|Dex: 05||Str: 03||Bod: 04|
|Int: 05||Wil: 04||Min: 05|
|Inf: 04||Aur: 04||Spi: 05|
|Init: 016||HP: 020|
Artist (Actress): 04, Artist (Cooking): 02, Martial Artist: 04, Thief (Stealth): 04, Vehicles (Land): 05, Vehicles (Air): 06, Vehicles (Space): 03, Weaponry (Firearms, Heavy): 05
Bonuses and Limitations:
Vehicles (Space) is Contingent Upon Vehicle (Air). It represents Danvers using her experience as a pilot or test pilot as it transfers to space shuttles and the like. It is thus only usable with Earth space vehicles.
- Credentials (US Air Force, Low ; Central Intelligence Agency, Low).
- Expertise (Poker ; Making her personal soup recipe).
- Familiarity (SCUBA, Military equipment and protocols, Avionics and related systems).
- Language (Russian ; some vocabulary in a number of languages, including Arabic).
- Rank (former Major with the Air Force).
- Slowed Ageing.
Logan (High), Colonel Michael “Ace” Rossi (High), Colonel Fury (Low). Low Connections with the USAF and the Agency (from her Credentials).
Misc.: Carol is young, attractive and in a very unusual role for a woman in the 1960s and 1970s. This results in credibility issues and social awkwardness. In game terms this is very much like the Age (Young) Drawback.
- .45 ACP Colt M1911A1 [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 08, R#02].
- XM16E1 rifle [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 06, Ammo: 06, R#03, Advantage: Autofire, Rec. STR 03].
DC Adventures RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
Carol Danvers (flashback youth) — Averaged PL 6.2
Defensive roll 2, Evasion, Precise attack (Close, Concealment).
Benefit 1 (Slowed ageing), Connected, Contacts, Equipment 5, Language 1 (Russian), Skill mastery (Vehicles).
Athletics 4 (+5), Close combat (Unarmed) 3 (+7), Deception 5 (+6), Expertise (Fighter pilot) 8 (+10), Expertise (Espionage) 6 (+8), Insight 3 (+4), Perception 4 (+5), Persuasion 1 (+2), Ranged combat (Firearms) 3 (+7), Stealth 4 (+6), Vehicles 5 (+9).
|Unarmed +7, Close, Damage 1|
|Light pistol +7, Ranged, Damage 3 Ballistic|
|Assault rifle +7, Ranged, Multiattack Damage 5 Ballistic|
* Without Defensive Roll.
- Prejudice Carol is a young woman in a macho occupation and a chauvinistic time.
- Identity Carol is a spy working undercover.
- Trade-off areas Attack/Effect PL 6, Dodge/Toughness PL 6, Parry/Toughness PL 6, Fort/Will PL 7.
- Point total 90. Abilities 34, Defences 19, Skills 23, Powers 0, Devices 0, Advantages 14. Equiv. PL 6.
Source of Character: Marvel Universe .
Helper(s): roguetamlin, Darci, wikipedia, Chaplain Chris, Ryan Jones’ writeup .