Ms. Marvel (Binary, Warbird, Catherine Donovan)

Ms. Marvel

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Ms. Marvel
250px Ms.Marvel1 Ms. Marvel (Binary, Warbird, Catherine Donovan)
Ms. Marvel featured on the cover of Ms. Marvel vol. 2, #1 (Mar. 2006). Art by Frank Cho.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (Mar. 1968)
Created by Roy Thomas
Gene Colan
In-story information
Alter ego Carol Susan Jane Danvers
Species Human (empowered)
Team affiliations United States Air Force
Mighty Avengers
New Avengers
Notable aliases Binary, Warbird, Catherine Donovan
Abilities Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, and durability
Energy projection and absorption

Ms. Marvel[1] 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 (1977). Writer Gerry Conway played a significant role in the character’s subsequent development, who created her as the modern woman’s “quest for raised consciousness, for self-liberation, for identity.”[2]

The character starred in her own series in the late 1970s before becoming associated with the Avengers and X-Men. As of 2009 Ms. Marvel appeared in two monthly titles – a second solo series penned by Brian Reed and Patrick Olliffe, and New Avengers, by Brian Michael Bendis and Frank Cho. Ms. Marvel also makes frequent appearances in other titles. The character has also been known as Binary and Warbird and has featured in other Marvel-endorsed products including arcade and video games; animated television series and merchandise such as trading cards.


  • 1 Publication history
    • 1.1 1960s
    • 1.2 1970s
    • 1.3 1980s
    • 1.4 1990s
    • 1.5 2000s
  • 2 Feminist legacy
  • 3 Characterization
  • 4 Powers and abilities
  • 5 Bibliography
  • 6 Alternate versions
    • 6.1 Exiles
    • 6.2 Marvel Mangaverse
    • 6.3 Ultimate Marvel
    • 6.4 X-Men: The End
  • 7 In other media
    • 7.1 Television
    • 7.2 Video games
  • 8 See also
  • 9 References
  • 10 External links

[edit] Publication history

[edit] 1960s

The character debuted as an officer in the United States Air Force and Security Chief of a restricted military base (revealed to be the career of choice when the character’s father did not wish for her to attend college[3]), where she meets Dr. Henry Lawson, who is in reality the alien Kree hero Captain Marvel.[4] The character only made minor appearances until the 1970s.

[edit] 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[5] at first written by Gerry Conway and later by Chris Claremont.Ms. Marvel guest-starred alongside the maverick superhero team the Defenders[6] before assisting the Avengers[7] against the robot villain Ultron. The character then had a series of semi-regular appearances in The Avengers, with additional appearances with the Defenders;[8] Spider-Man;[9] the Thing[10] and Iron Man.[11]

150px Msmarvel1 Ms. Marvel (Binary, Warbird, Catherine Donovan)

magnify clip Ms. Marvel (Binary, Warbird, Catherine Donovan)

Cover to Ms. Marvel #1 (Jan. 1977). Art by John Romita.

[edit] 1980s

The 200th issue of the Avengers[12] 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.”[13] 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.

Former writer of the solo title Chris Claremont also commented on the inappropriateness of the storyline,[14] and effectively “undid” the story in Avengers Annual #10 (Dec. 1980).[15]

The character 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 the character 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 wipes old government files on the X-Men.[16] During an adventure in space with the mutant team the X-Men, the character is changed courtesy of experimentation by the alien race the Brood into a newly empowered character called Binary.[17] 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; [18]New Mutants;[19] a solo adventure[20] and with the offbeat team Excalibur.[21]

Claremont expanded on the incident with the character Rogue by having the Ms. Marvel persona slowly assert itself on the villain-turned-hero. This happens to Rogue on two occasions[22] before she eventually completely falls under its control to the extent of donning an old Ms. Marvel costume.[23] Magneto is eventually able to destroy the persona and free Rogue.[24]

[edit] 1990s

The character continued to make sporadic appearances,[25] and two additional issues planned for the original title — prevented by cancellation — were printed in a quarterly anthology series.[26] The same year the character was also used extensively in the storyline Operation Galactic Storm.[27] By the conclusion of the story the character has expended almost all her new abilities, reverting to use of the original Ms. Marvel powers.

After several more team and solo appearances[28] the character then rejoins the Avengers[29] 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 [30] and is soon suspended from active duty.[31]

After a brief appearance in Marvel’s alternate universe title What If?,[32] the character features in Iron Man; [33] Wolverine;[34] the Avengers and Iron Man once more[35] before making a cameo appearance in X-Man.[36]

150px Uncanny164 Ms. Marvel (Binary, Warbird, Catherine Donovan)

magnify clip Ms. Marvel (Binary, Warbird, Catherine Donovan)

Cover to Uncanny X-Men #164 (Dec. 1982). Carol Danvers’ first appearance as Binary. Art by Dave Cockrum.

[edit] 2000s

The character then featured as “Captain Marvel” in a false reality created by mutant the Scarlet Witch in limited series House of M.[37] 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[38] Together with fellow Avenger Iron Man, Carol also becomes a principal advocate of the Superhuman Registration Act during the events of Civil War.[39] The story also continues in Ms. Marvel’s own title as the character battles the anti-registration heroes led by Captain America.[40]

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.[41] Carol enters into a relationship with fellow member Wonder Man;[42] appears in a crossover series with the robot Transformers[43] and becomes eventual leader of the team.[44]

After a humorous encounter with Spider-Man[45] Ms. Marvel also plays a significant role in the limited series Secret Invasion[46] 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[47] and joins the New Avengers,[48] becoming second-in-command.[49] Osborn appoints former Thunderbolt member Moonstone as the “new” Ms. Marvel to his Dark Avengers team; Moonstone wears a variation of Ms. Marvel’s original costume.[47][50][51] Osborn engineers a battle that results in Danver’s powers overloading, causing her apparent death. The character Moonstone takes over the title role in the Ms. Marvel ongoing series as of issue #38.[52]

[edit] Feminist legacy

Writer Gerry Conway wrote 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.”[53] The character’s costume and powers were also 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).[54]

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. . . .[55] ”

Another reader had issue with the hero’s costume: “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.”[56]

[edit] Characterization

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.” [57] 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.”[58] “Writer Brian Reed has had Ms. Marvel overcome worthy challenges ranging from alien invasions, time-traveling sorcerers and former teammates turned enemy.”[58]

[edit] Powers and abilities

Ms. Marvel initially possessed superhuman strength, endurance, stamina, flight, physical durability and a limited precognitive “seventh sense”. As Binary, she 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 is 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.

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

[edit] 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 #1-37 (2006-2009)
  • Mighty Avengers #1-20 (2007-2009)
  • Ms. Marvel Special #1 (2007)
  • Giant Size Ms. Marvel #1 (2006)
  • New Avengers #48-present (2009-)

[edit] Alternate versions

[edit] Exiles

An evil version of the character joins the alternate universe explorers Weapon X in Exiles #38 (Feb. 2004), becoming the lover of master villain Hyperion. The character is later killed in Exiles #45 (June 2004).

[edit] Marvel Mangaverse

As seen in Marvel Mangaverse: Avengers Assemble #1 (Mar. 2002), the character retains her military persona as Lt. Carol Danvers USAF.

[edit] Ultimate Marvel

100px Danvers2 Ms. Marvel (Binary, Warbird, Catherine Donovan)

magnify clip Ms. Marvel (Binary, Warbird, Catherine Donovan)

Ultimate Carol Danvers as featured in Ultimate Spider-Man #115 (Oct. 2007)
Art by Stuart Immonen.

In the universe of the Ultimates, Agent Danvers has no super powers, and instead relies on advanced S.H.I.E.L.D. technology. In Ultimate Power #9 (Feb. 2008), the character becomes acting Director of spy organization S.H.I.E.L.D. after Nick Fury’s disappearance.

[edit] X-Men: The End

In the limited series X-Men: The End 1 – 3 (Oct. 2004 – Aug. 2006), the character exists as pure energy and controls the spaceship the Starjammer.

[edit] In other media

[edit] Television

  • Carol Danvers appears in the X-Men animated series in the Season 2 episode “A Rogue’s Tale”.

[edit] Video games

  • Ms. Marvel appears as a playable character in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance voiced by April Stewart.

[edit] See also

  • Portrayal of women in comics
  • Women in Refrigerators

[edit] References

  1. ^ Roy Thomas (w), Gene Colan (p), Paul Reinman (i). “Where Walks the Sentry” Marvel Super-Heroes 1 (13) (March 1968), Marvel Comics
  2. ^ Conway, Gerry. “Ms. Prints,” Ms. Marvel #1 (Jan. 1977).
  3. ^ Uncanny X-Men #164 (Dec. 1982)
  4. ^ Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (Mar, 1968)
  5. ^ Ms. Marvel #1 – 23 (Jan. 1977 – April 1979)
  6. ^ Defenders #57 (Mar. 1978)
  7. ^ Avengers #171 (May 1978)
  8. ^ Defenders #62 – 63 (Aug. – Sep. 1978)
  9. ^ Marvel Team-Up #77 (Jan. 1979)
  10. ^ Marvel Two-In-One #51 (May 1979)
  11. ^ Iron Man #125 – 126 (Aug. – Sep. 1979)
  12. ^ Avengers #200 (Oct. 1980)
  13. ^ Strickland, Carol A. “The Rape of Ms. Marvel,” LoC #1 (1981).
  14. ^ In the publication X-Men Companion 2 (Fantagraphics Books, 1982): “Actually, my reaction was a lot stronger than that. But how callous! How cruel! How unfeeling! Considering that [the Avengers] must have seen Ms. Marvel only a couple of days before, or even a couple of months before. She wasn’t pregnant then. How could she be eight months pregnant now?”
  15. ^ Avengers Annual #10 (Dec. 1980)
  16. ^ Uncanny X-Men #158 (June 1982).
  17. ^ Uncanny X-Men #164 (Dec. 1982).
  18. ^ Uncanny X-Men #166 – 167 (Feb. – Mar. 1983); #171 + 174 (July + Oct. 1983) & #200 – 201 (Dec. 1985 – Jan. 1986)
  19. ^ New Mutants #19 (Sep. 1984) & #50 – 51 (Apr. – May 1987).
  20. ^ Marvel Fanfare #24 (Jan. 1986)
  21. ^ Excalibur #17 (Dec. 1989)
  22. ^ Uncanny X-Men #182 (June 1984); #203 (Mar. 1986) & #235 – 239 (Oct. 1988 – Feb. 1989)
  23. ^ Uncanny X-Men #246 – 247 (July – Aug. 1989)
  24. ^ Uncanny X-Men #269 (Oct. 1990).
  25. ^ X-Men Spotlight On… Starjammers #1 – 2 (May – June 1990)
  26. ^ Marvel Super-Heroes #10 – 11 (1992)
  27. ^ A multi-issue arc that was published from March to May and spanned the titles Avengers and Avengers West Coast, and the individual hero titles Captain America; Iron Man; Quasar; Thor and Wonder Man
  28. ^ Avengers #350 – 351 (both Aug. 1992); Starblast #1 (Jan. 1994); X-Men Unlimited #1 (Dec. 1996) & ‘Excalibur #116 (Jan. 1998)
  29. ^ Avengers (vol. 3), #4 (May 1998)
  30. ^ Iron Man vol. 3, #7; Captain America vol. 3, #8; Quicksilver #10 and Avengers #7 (all Aug. 1998)
  31. ^ Avengers #8 (Sep. 1998)
  32. ^ What If? vol. 2, #111 (Aug. 1998)
  33. ^ Iron Man #12 (Jan. 1999)
  34. ^ Wolverine #133 – 134 (Jan. – Feb. 1999)
  35. ^ Avengers vol. 3, #17 – 18 (June – July 1999) & #21 (Oct. 1999); Iron Man #18 (July 1999)
  36. ^ Mutant X #14 (Nov. 1999)
  37. ^ House of M #1 – 8 (Aug. to Dec. 2005)
  38. ^ Ms. Marvel vol. 2, #1 (Mar. 2006)
  39. ^ Civil War #1 – 7 (July 2006 – Jan. 2007)
  40. ^ Ms. Marvel #6 – 8 (Oct. – Dec. 2006)
  41. ^ Mighty Avengers #1 (May 2007)
  42. ^ Mighty Avengers #6 (Sep. 2007)
  43. ^ New Avengers/Transformers #1 – 4 (Sep. – Dec. 2007)
  44. ^ Mighty Avengers #7 (Oct. 2007)
  45. ^ Ms. Marvel Annual (2008)
  46. ^ Secret Invasion (June 2008 – Jan. 2009)
  47. ^ a b Dark Avengers #1 (Jan. 2009)
  48. ^ New Avengers #48 (Dec. 2008)
  49. ^ New Avengers #51 (Mar. 2009)
  50. ^ “The Osborn Supremacy: Dark Avengers“, Comic Book Resources, January 22, 2009
  51. ^ Brian Reed: The ‘Dark’ Future of Ms. Marvel, Newsarama, January 22, 2009
  52. ^ Brian Reed: The ‘Dark’ Future of Ms. Marvel, Newsarama, January 22, 2009
  53. ^ Conway, Gerry. “Ms. Prints,” Ms. Marvel #1 (Marvel Comics, Jan. 1977).
  54. ^ Klorese, Roger. “Ms. Prints,” Ms. Marvel #6 (Marvel Comics, June 1977): “Even the colors of her costume . . . suggest that another Danvers was there first, before Carol-come-lately.”
  55. ^ Hollingsworth, Jana C. “Ms. Prints,” Ms. Marvel #5 (Marvel Comics, May 1977).
  56. ^ Lipp, Debbie. “Ms. Prints,” Ms. Marvel #8 (Marvel Comics, Aug. 1977).
  57. ^ ‘Heroines shine in 3 titles. Shawn Munguia. Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Texas). LIFESTYLE. March 26, 2008.
  58. ^ a b She’s just MARVEL-ous. JEROME MAIDA. Philadelphia Daily News. FEATURES; Pg. 35. January 8, 2007.

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