(Carol Danvers) (Ms. Marvel "Year One" 2/3)
This profile is part of a large, marvellous series.
For orientation you definitely should first check our guide to Ms. Marvels.
History (part 2)
Resuming right where the previous chapter stopped…
Another step toward integration
Ms. Marvel retained control, the Elementals were stopped… but Petrie and her crew died in the meantime.
Furious, Danvers forced the change from Ms. Marvel into Carol, then decided that it was all Hecate’s fault. She started hitting Hecate with superhuman brawn. But the Witch-Queen psychically stopped her.
Perhaps intending to make up for Petrie’s death, Hecate magically changed something within Danvers. This resulted in a much better integration between the two sides.
Suspiciously enough, Carol also immediately accepted that Petrie’s death had been a necessary sacrifice.
Danvers soon returned to New York City as a new, improved, integrated Ms. Marvel.
Carol now had the typical life as a super-heroine with a secret identity. She would leap into action as Ms. Marvel whenever she stumbled upon super-villain attacks.
She encountered Sapper and Golden-Blade when she came back to Boston.
Ms. Marvel then rescued her father as he clashed with corrupt construction industrialist Maxwell Plumm, a.k.a. Steeplejack.
Spending time with her father infuriated her – he was as macho and chauvinistic as ever. Furthermore, Mrs. Danvers immediately realised that Ms. Marvel was her daughter.
The shark is a very dangerous beast
Back to New York City, Ms. Marvel clashed with Tiger Shark (Todd Arliss) to rescue young Namorita Prentiss. But he eluded her.
She therefore requested help from the Avengers. After a short brawl with the Beast (Dr. Henry McCoy), Ms. Marvel convinced the Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) to let her use the Avengers’ engineering labs.
Using Kree science, Ms. Marvel built herself a tracker and a water-breathing serum to chase Tiger Shark. Burning every Hero Point she had, she narrowly defeated Arliss. But Ms. Marvel would have drowned had Namorita not rescued her in turn.
After this case she developed a good relationship with the Avengers.
Ms. Marvel then clashed with an ex-CIA man named Geoffrey Ballard. She apparently knew from her time with the Agency.
Back then, Ballard was an ally of Mystique (Raven Darkhölme). She helped him procure the powerful Centurion ordnance.
Ms. Marvel was nearly killed again. The Avengers helped her prevail, though even the likes of Wonder Man (Simon Williams) or the Vision found Centurion a tough nut to crack.
During the fight with Ballard, Ms. Marvel realised that he could detect her Kree costume. She thus ditched her clothing to improvise something the Centurion suit couldn’t track. It was also an occasion to get rid of the impractical scarf.
Lastly, Ballard had firebombed Danvers’ apartment. This forced her to move to a large studio (14 Carrol St., Greenwhich Village, New York).
Ms. Marvel soon helped the Avengers in turn. They were hunting down Ultron. Ms. Marvel had come to rescue the Scarlet Witch, whom she had foreseen falling into an awful trap.
Carol was successful, swiftly rescuing the Witch after the trap was triggered.
What comes before “assemble”
Carol stuck around a bit after that, helping the Avengers defeat the Atlantean villain Tyrak. She also made a lighthearted flirting pass at Simon Williams.
Ms. Marvel soon returned to help the Avengers when her seventh sense detected their upcoming clash with Michael Korvac. Thus, she was among the small army of heroes who took Korvac down.
During this cosmic crisis, she was reunited with Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell).
During the Summer of 1978, Ms. Marvel was attacked and kidnapped by the powerful Ronan the Accuser.
She was brought to the Kree Supreme Intelligence on Kree-Lar. The S.I. wanted to use Carol’s incredible merged genetics to make her the mother of a new kind of Kree.
Captain Mar-Vell, having sensed Ronan’s return, intervened but was also captured. The Supreme Intelligence then attempted to break Ms. Marvel’s psyche – but failed.
After Captain Mar-Vell distracted Ronan, Ms. Marvel defeated the surprised Accuser. However, she broke her arm in the scuffle.
The encounter left Ms. Marvel wanting to affirm her humanity over her Kree side. She also now thought that it’d be better to wear a costume not based on Mar-Vell’s.
Ms. Marvel is taller, more broad-shouldered and more muscular than Carol is.
She wears her hair in a bob whereas Carol sports a strait long cut. This astounding feat of capillary transmogrificationMagically transforming something into something else. puzzled some for decades.
Ms. Marvel seems to have less of a Boston accent than Carol. Perhaps it’s more like a generic East Coast accent, or even a Kree one.
Once they fully integrate, Ms. Marvel has the exact same voice as Carol. Or at least, she can talk exactly like Carol when needed.
Initially, Ms. Marvel wears a Captain Marvel-like costume that leaves her belly, diaphragm and most of her back exposed.
It comes with an itsy bitsy teeny weenie bikini bottom from the 1960s (comparable to modern volley-ball “boy shorts”). Wot looks like skin-tight, thin black leather.
The upper half of the costume later changes to cover the previously exposed areas, though her legs remain bare. This slight change in costume cut (in issue #9) was never explained.
Carol is a 1970s liberated woman, in the process of regaining her assurance.
Since things are finally looking up after several disastrous years, Carol is upbeat, dynamic and warm.
She’s obviously smart and independent.
However, this is partially an act. Yes, her journey to find herself again was successful. Her life is now pretty good. But it doesn’t compare with her adventures as an elite agent and ace pilot.
Carol never mentions her youth, but she yearns for what her wounds made unfeasible. To be a fighter again, to fly again, to be strong and proud again. And to somehow erase all the damage rather than accept to work within her post-Lubyanka limitations.
As the editor of Woman, Carol works hard and manages well. She also constantly fights Jameson’s inept, dated vision of what a women’s magazine should be.
Her drive to be independent, and to impose her personal vision despite social conventions and tradition, has returned. Whereas she had to largely suppress it back during her NASA days.
I am woman, hear me roar
Carol’s struggle to be her own woman and to affirm herself as a great something (a great writer and journalist, a great publisher, a great warrior, a great heroine…) reflects a broader societal context.
While the comic was a bit behind the times, Carol is also a symbol of women’s lib .
Her ambition is therefore not solely about herself. It’s about proving her socially conservative father wrong. And to prove that a woman can win, even within a society that still considers her as childlike.
“To be as competent and independent as any man” was far from quaint during the 1970s. It is a major goal of hers.
(For context, by this point no-fault divorce didn’t exist, it was still legal to exclude women from many recruitments, abortion wasn’t legally protected, contraception could be illegal, housing discrimination against women was legal, etc. etc.).
Question – tell me what you think about me
Danvers oscillates between being one of the boys (especially when she’s working and managing her staff) and being appropriately feminine (especially in her clothing and jewelry, and the decoration of her apartment).
She’s assertive, and sometimes aggressive. But almost never butch.
Though Claremont was already using soap opera elements into his writing, Carol’s private and professional life were only superficially explored during this era.
Early on she has a romantic relationship with her psychiatrist (!) Dr. Barnett. But this is given so little screen time that it’s easy to forget about it. Presumably to the APA ’s relief.
This relationship was apparently brief. Though they stayed good friends, Carol was planning to remain single after that.
Freelance reporter Frank Gianelli had a longstanding interest in her and even stole a kiss. But Carol did not intend to follow up on that. She liked him, but that was it.
Ms. Marvel is a born warrior, heroine and protector. She instinctively stops robberies, rescues kidnapping victims and the like. She is always in motion and never hesitates.
When she’s not in action, she’s far more confused. Originally, she does not even know her name, whom she is, why she is here, or why she knows these places and people. She is struggling as her mind frames her both as an Earth woman and a Kree warrior.
But this only bothers her when there is nothing to fight or no catastrophe to stop. And in such circumstances, she will soon fade into becoming Danvers again anyway.
Eventually the issue recedes as she understands that she is Carol Danvers with something more.
Marvel in action
Ms. Marvel is proud and gung-ho. While she fights smartly, she obviously believes in the virtues of a hard charge and her right hook.
She does not actually kill. But given how verbally and physically aggressive she gets in the heat of combat, observers can come to doubt that.
This is especially true if one considers what was allowable for a super-heroine in the late 1970s. She’s vigorously competitive, unladylike, and fights to *win*. The gloves are *off*.
Ms. Marvel later realises that, while as a Kree warrior she fights to kill, her Carol Danvers side prevents her from doing so.
Are we not Kree ?
Ms. Marvel’s style is very much in the Kree tradition. Fight like hell, battle gloriously, rejoice in taking risks, never back down, don’t go for stealth or low profile actions.
Therefore, she frets when Carol wants to use her spook training for infiltration and intelligence. The Kree are warriors, not skulking thieves !
In some ways she is a cross between a one-woman assault squad and a daring firefighter. Rescuing innocents and protecting people is critical to her. She will always choose to take some blows, lose a fight, flee, etc. if it’s necessary to save lives.
Ms. Marvel employs Kree exclamations and minor trash talk when she fights. Many of those are semi-obscure 1970s geek references.
- Astarte is a Phoenician goddess of love and war.
- Calots are vaguely dog-like creatures in John Carter of Mars pulpsCheap, often lurid novels in the US during the 1920s and 1930s. adventures.
- The “Hala !” exclamation may be a wink toward the “Hera !” exclamation of Wonder Woman.
Ms. Marvel’s personality eventually merges with Carol’s — see below.
I sing the persona synthetic
It is unclear whence the Ms. Marvel Kree personality came. It might be a duplicate of Carol’s – but altered by extensive exposure to Kree history, values and military training.
Most of the “Ms. Marvel memories” are from the military Imperial Academy, on Kree Lar. This conveys the impression that she’s a young warrior-in-training – probably the equivalent of a cadet.
Ms. Marvel once vividly remembers an incident from the Academy. She assaulted a blue-skinned fellow cadet after he made a racist remark about her pink skin.
Since during this scene she is improbably wearing her Ms. Marvel costume, this “memory” is probably a fabrication.
The past is another planet
It is *possible* that those memories are “Kree-ified” versions of Carol Danvers’s Air Force/WAF memories. For instance an altercation about her gender which was “translated” as an altercation about alien skin tones.
But it seems more likely that those memories are based on the memories of Kree war hero Captain Mar-Vell. Vell was pink-skinned and did run into issues of blue privilege and racism.
There’s too little material to hazard a solid guess. But it would be odd if the Psyche-Magnitron had just made everything up.
Multiple Personalities New Order
At first, Ms. Marvel and Carol Danvers are two distinct persons.
- The Kree persona (“Ms. Marvel”) and the Carol persona are unaware of each other.
- Carol cannot remember what Ms. Marvel did. She only knows that she blacks out, and that something happens whilst she’s unconscious.
- While Ms. Marvel can to a degree access Carol’s memories (for instance to speak English) she does not understand where this knowledge comes from.
When she returns to Cape Canaveral, the Ms. Marvel half gains the knowledge that she is also Carol Danvers. She starts thinking of herself as “Carol”.
This awareness is initially one-way. But Carol slowly accesses her Ms. Marvel side. Ms. Marvel thus becomes framed as the stronger, better and more decisive side of Ms. Danvers. She is protective of her weaker, more mundane Carol form and persona.
Meanwhile, Carol feels that she cannot compete with her other self, whom she resents for being so strong. She feels outclassed by Ms. Marvel, as if she had to compete against a superhuman opponent.
By Ms. Marvel vol. 1 #07, Carol becomes able to witness Ms. Marvel and her actions. It is as if she were a ghost floating behind Ms. Marvel.
This experience makes her less afraid of her “other self”.
Then Ms. Marvel gets captured, tortured and interrogated. Oddly enough, seeing Ms. Marvel in pain and nearly defeated makes Carol more confident, and able to deal with her Ms. Marvel side on a more equal footing.
In hindsight, it is possible that this incident helped Carol deal with traumatic memories from Lubyanka.
From then on, Carol can :
- Remember what happens when she’s Ms. Marvel.
- Change into Ms. Marvel of her own will.
- Try to force Ms. Marvel to become Carol.
- Resist when Ms. Marvel attempts to force the transformation.
However, the latter two usually fail.
At this point Carol and Ms. Marvel’s relationship is a bit like that of two sisters. They can more or less communicate and work together.
They also know each other and trust each other, though Ms. Marvel is occasionally surprised by how rash and aggressive Carol is becoming.
The sense that they aren’t actually two different persons also grows stronger.
Once Ms. Marvel and Carol Danvers fully merge with Hecate’s help, they become one person with the best qualities of both.
Carol Danvers is now an assertive, determined, brash fighter. But early on, said brashness causes more problems than it solves. She gets into unnecessary fights by punching first and asking questions later.
Even after she moderates her fires, Ms. Marvel is a woman of action. She’s certainly not dumb, but she prefers to *do* things rather sit and ponder mysteries.
She’s bad at standing still or staying in place, and enjoys attention.
She also now has to balance managing Woman as the EIC, while also responding to crisis as a good super-heroine should. It’s a classic secret identity situation, but unlike Clark Kent she can’t feign milquetoastness, if… if that’s a word.
This means that the merged Ms. Marvel/Carol has regained the oomph, determination, élan, etc. she had before Lubyanka. Plus Kree skills, and a bit of Kree attitude.
Source of Character: Marvel Universe.
Helper(s): Chris Cottingham, Darci, Frank Murdock.