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Comic Book / Ms. Marvel (1977)

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Ms. Marvel is a 1977 ongoing comic book by Marvel Comics. Originally written by Gene Colan for the first few issues, it was then written by Chris Claremont for the remainder of its run of twenty-three issues. The series is the first volume of Ms. Marvel and the first starring Carol Danvers.

The series revolves around Carol Danvers, who has recently had to leave her job at NASA, not least because of a mysterious bout of fainting she keeps suffering. Unknown to Carol, who has gotten a job at the new Women Magazine, the blackouts are a result of a run-in with a member of the alien race known as the Kree she had a few years prior. Back then, a device known as the Psyche-Magnetron went off, and now whenever Carol blacks out, she becomes the all-new female fury known... as Ms. Marvel.

The comic ran for 23 issues before being canceled in 1979 with issues #24 and #25 partially written. The remaining two issues would eventually be published in a Marvel anthology series.

The first issue was published January 01, 1977. The final issue was published April 10, 1979.

Ms. Marvel (1977) provides examples of:

  • Actually a Doombot: The driver of the Stark Industries truck Vision is protecting turns out to be an AIM android working for MODOK.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Carol expresses some sympathy for Grotesk after his apparent death in Issue 8.
    I was thinking of Grotesk. In his own way, he was a man of honor, fighting for the noblest of causes. I didn't win, Mike — he lost.
  • Alliterative Name: Dr. Kerwin Korman, secret identity of the Destructor.
  • Amplifier Artifact: The Ruby Skarab, once the Transformation Trinket of the Invaders character Scarlet Scarab, shows up in issues 11-13 being tussled over by Hecate and the Elementals, a fight Ms. Marvel gets dragged into. Merely holding it boosts anyone's power to ludicrous levels, and the fight ends with a very pissed Carol holding it, turning her into a Physical God.
  • Ancient Astronauts: Hecate claims she's this. Later retcons a few decades down the line will make her the actual mythology Hecate.
  • Big Bad: M.O.D.O.K. and AIM as a whole are probably Carol's biggest and most recurring foe, though Mystique looked set to try and take a big stab at stealing the crown, had the series not been cut short.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: There may only have been twenty-three issues, but Chris Claremont still manages to squeak in one of his favorite tropes. It's Ronan the Accuser who's brainwashed, by the Supreme Intelligence, and sent after Carol.
  • Breeding Slave: What the Supreme Intelligence wants Carol for (not with itself, obviously. It's just a disembodied head in a jar). Of course, there's that pesky personality she's got that he's going to have to get rid of first...
  • The Bus Came Back: Before this series, Carol had sort of vanished from Captain Marvel's own title for some years. Now she's back, in her own series, and has superpowers.
  • Cain and Abel: Death-Bird yells out mid-fight how her berserker traits made her kill her own sister, and she actually sounds pretty upset about that one.
  • The Cameo:
    • Jean DeWolff, a then-supporting character in Spider-Man stories, makes a momentary appearance in one issue.
    • Dr. Peter Corbeau makes an appearance in a flashback, explaining some scientific stuff to Carol.
  • Cape Snag: On several occasions, a story's villain will grab hold of Ms. Marvel's scarf to swing her around and slam her into things.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: The Ms. Marvel persona feels a compulsion to help whenever she senses danger, which starts some problems for her and Danvers in issues 12 and 13.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: In Issue 14, Carol rescues her father from a supervillain who was holding him at gunpoint on a girder forty stories above the ground. Is he grateful? Hell, no. He argues with her the whole time, complaining that he can fight his own battles and doesn't need the help of a "bunny in a bathin' suit". Once he's out of danger, he barely acknowledges her beyond a curt "Yeah, thanks." Understandably, Carol is ready to strangle him at that point.
  • Costume Copycat: Carol's initial outfit is a gendered version of Mar-Vell's outfit. When they finally meet up, he notes this.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: The new Steeplejack had stolen the previous Steeplejack's costume and equipment and had originally planned to sell it to get rich. He held off on that long enough to change his mind, and become a supervillain instead.
  • Description Cut: At the end of one issue, Ms. Marvel is in a lab that is starting to blow up, and wonders about her chances of getting out of there. The next panel is a mildly singed but otherwise unharmed Ms. Marvel walking out just fine.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: Death-Bird first appears randomly attacking Ms. Marvel for no reason. It's soon explained she was already working for AIM, saw Ms. Marvel while in passing, and having heard of her tussles with them prior figured "what the hey".
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: Hecate says as much to a supremely pissed Carol in issue 13, but she thinks to herself this is only a half-truth. Since Carol's holding the Ruby Scarab at that point, it wouldn't actually be that easy for her. Also, she doesn't want to kill Carol.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Death-Bird goes berserk (well, more berserk) when Carol expresses sympathy for her plight.
    Death-Bird: I don't want your sympathy, woman - or your help! I don't need it! I am what I am! I am DEATH-BIRD! AND I LIVE ONLY TO KILL!
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: A few issues in, Carol gains prescience.
  • Enemy Civil War: Two factions of A.I.M. duke it out, M.O.D.O.K. loyalists and non-loyalists. Carol gets caught in the middle.
  • Epiphany Therapy: Hecate helping Carol along to the realization of the truth about herself and Ms. Marvel causes the DID problem to instantly resolve itself.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Joe Danvers, sexist arsehole and terrible dad that he is gets into an argument with his daughter. He only gets worse later on. Stories by Claremont in Uncanny X-Men will add physical abuse to his list of dad flaws.
  • Evil Is Petty: In issue 24, Mystique beats Carol's boyfriend to death while shapeshifted to look like her.
  • Fake Memories: One of the side effects of Carol's identity problems is the Ms. Marvel persona has memories of living as a Kree, despite not being a Kree (well, at the time), having borrowed some from Mar when the Psyche-Magnetron went off.
  • Fanservice: While there is an in-character justification for the change, Carol's shift to her Leotard of Power has been openly admitted by Dave Cockrum as simply this: Leather T'n'A.
  • Fight Dracula: Defied in issue 14. Dracula sees Carol walking down a dark street at night and plans to make a meal out of her. Carol, sensing something amiss, transforms into Ms. Marvel, at which point Dracula backs down. Carol then flies away, never realizing that she was being stalked by a vampire.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: Carol Danvers is Ms. Marvel, and she doesn't know it. This isn't made fully clear until issue 2. Carol doesn't learn for a few issues more.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Several of Death-Bird's comments, such as her unusual curses, make clear whatever she is, she's not human long before she outright says so.
    • Similarly, she mentions she has (or had) sisters in the plural. One of them would turn up over in Claremont's own Uncanny X-Men run (or technically, had already done so. It just hadn't been established they were sisters yet).
  • Freak Out: The Destructor manages to blind himself grabbing the power source of the Psyche-Magnetron, and the loss of all his senses immediately makes him go mad, blasting everything around himself in a panic.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Issue 23 has Carol having adventures with Major Victory of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Henshin Hero: Whenever the Ms. Marvel persona takes over Carol's body, her clothes and hairstyle instantly transform into those of her superhero alter ego.
  • Hidden Elf Village: "The people" live in an underground community within a cavern in New Mexico. They are terrified of being discovered by humanity at large, so they kidnap anyone who sees them when they go out to forage for food.
  • How Would You Like to Die?: Carol's father is captured by Steeplejack, who offers him a stark choice: step off a girder and fall forty stories or be shot. Carol intervenes before her father is forced to decide, not that he appreciates it.
  • In Medias Res:
    • The series skips over the formative time of Carol developing her powers and the split personality. By the time it begins, Carol's set up shop in New York and become an accomplished writer, while Ms. Marvel's started making a name for herself as a heroine.
    • Chris Claremont likes using this one, often beginning mid-story then winding back a bit to explain how it started.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: In issue 19, Ronan the Accuser is attacking Ms. Marvel when Captain Marvel suddenly shows up. Ronan claims that there is no need to fight and even puts down his Universal Weapon before explaining the situation. It's all a trick: the instant Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel take their eyes off him, he picks up his weapon and stuns them both into unconsciousness.
  • It Was Here, I Swear!: Carol escapes from a hidden AIM base (inside another AIM base), and then gives SHIELD a tip-off. They send agents to comb the place, but thanks to AIM's tech they're unable to find anything.
  • Kill All Humans: Grotesk's goal is to exterminate humanity in revenge for their unwitting extermination of his own people. He tries to accomplish this by stealing the cavorite crystal and supercharging it so it will produce an explosion powerful enough to devastate the Earth.
  • Killer Robot: The Doomsday Man, which is sadly less impressive than its name might suggest.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: How the conflict with "the people" is resolved. At Carol's urging, one of the Lizard Folk uses his psychic powers to scramble the memories of their human prisoners, ensuring that no one will remember the people or their secret underground community.
  • Last of His Kind: Grotesk is the last survivor of a race of Mole Men, which were inadvertently wiped out by nuclear tests conducted on the surface world.
  • Legacy Character: The Steeplejack that Carol fights is not the first man to go by that name. After the original Steeplejack died, the new Steeplejack stole his identity and equipment.
  • Let's You and Him Fight:
    • In issue 5, Carol foresees that a Stark Industries "super-truck" carrying hazardous materials will somehow cause the deaths of millions. She tries to stop the truck by force, convincing its protector, the Vision, that she is up to no good. Cue the obligatory superhero-vs-superhero fight.
    • In issue 16, Carol breaks into the Avengers mansion in the dead of night to ask them for help in tracking down Tiger Shark. Unfortunately for her, the Avengers have just had a string of break-ins, and a fed-up Beast is in a "punch first, ask questions later" mood.
  • Lizard Folk: The antagonists of issues 20-21 are "the people", a secretive community of anthropomorphic reptiles. They were once ordinary lizards, but the Trinity nuclear test mutated them into creatures with humanoid proportions and intelligence. Some of them possess superpowers.
  • Malicious Slander: Jameson hires Carol and has her do a piece on Ms. Marvel, fully expecting (nay, demanding) she make it an attack piece, simply because he hates all superheroes. He's miffed when Carol doesn't do that.
  • Mama Bear: Why is Mystique hellbent on destroying Ms. Marvel? Because Destiny has foreseen that Ms. Marvel's actions will endanger Rogue, and anything that endangers Mystique's daughter must be destroyed.
  • Mind Probe: AIM's Mind-Ripper, which Modok tries to use on Ms. Marvel. Thanks to her personality, it doesn't quite work.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: The cover for one issue declares Ms. Marvel is up against the full might of AIM!... and Death-bird (who is working with AIM).
  • My Suit Is Also Super: Initially, Carol's Flying Brick powers are amplified by her costume, until a big dose of radiation shorts it out.
  • Narrating the Obvious: With Chris Claremont at the helm, there is a lot of this.
  • The Needs of the Many: In issues 12 and 13, an astronaut friend of Carol's is endangered, but at the same time Ms. Marvel is fighting the Elementals, a group of wizards tussling with Hecate over the Ruby Scarab. Ms. Marvel knows Carol's friend is in danger, but the Elementals present the larger threat thanks to the sheer destructive power of their brawl and have to leave Carol's friend to die. Carol starts reasserting control through sheer rage.
  • Noble Demon: Deathbird is out to kill Ms. Marvel, not innocent bystanders. When their brawl in issue 22 results in some civilians getting trapped in an overturned car under a collapsing overpass, Deathbird stops fighting and holds up the overpass so Carol can get those civilians out of the car. The second these people are out of danger, Deathbird sucker punches Carol and drops the overpass on her.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Death-Bird's first encounter with Carol has her apparently immolated, and Carol saying pretty much this. Death-Bird did, in fact, survive it.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Ms. Marvel admits during her tussle with Vision that nothing she's done has actually helped her case, and only convinced him she's probably a villain.
  • Oh, My Gods!: Ms. Marvel is prone to swearing typical Kree oaths. She continues to do this even after the two personalities merge.
  • One Degree of Separation: Carol's new job as a magazine editor brings her into contact with members of Spidey's supporting cast, including J. Jonah Jameson, her new boss, Robbie Robertson, and Mary-Jane Watson. Funnily enough, at no point during the series proper do Ms. Marvel and Spidey have an encounter, beyond one extremely brief meeting between Peter and Carol in the first issue (though they did have a team-up in Marvel Team-Up, written by Chris Claremont.)
  • Parents Know Their Children: While Joe doesn't peg the resemblance between that uppity new superheroine and his daughter, his wife does, and tells Carol to her face.
  • Persona Non Grata: Carol's not exactly welcomed back by everyone at Cape Canaveral after writing a tell-all book about her time at NASA.
  • Power Crystal: The almighty Cavorite, which NASA is using in tests for making a faster-than-light engine. The problem is that when they explode, they can take out entire planets.
  • Put on a Bus: Sort of. In the early issues, Carol hangs out a little with Mary-Jane Watson, but once her own supporting cast is established, her friendship with MJ is dropped like a hot potato.
  • Rogues' Gallery Transplant:
    • Carol gains two recurring enemies in this series, Deathbird and Mystique, who after this series ended would be transferred over to the X-Men in the 80s, not coincidentally also written by Chris Claremont, and never really look back.
    • The Doomsday Man was a one-off Silver Surfer villain that became one of Ms. Marvel's enemies in Issues #3-4.
    • Grotesk had previously tangled with the X-Men back in the 60s.
  • The Shrink: Carol's love interest is the psychiatrist she goes to see about these mysterious blackouts she's having. After she resolves her memory problems, they start dating.
  • Split-Personality Merge: Eventually, in issue 13, Carol and the Ms. Marvel persona are merged via magic.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: It was the 70s, so this attitude abounds, directed at Carol. J. Jonah Jameson is particularly huffy about the idea of women doing anything outside the kitchen, but he is as nothing compared to Joe Danvers.
  • Talk to the Fist: After rescuing Joe Danvers from Steeplejack, Carol punches him out. It's partially to stop him from running back to fight the guy who just tried to murder him at gunpoint out of pig-headed stubbornness, but as she admits there's a little element of satisfaction to it as well.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Subverted. Carol constantly butts heads with Jameson over her choice of content for the Daily Bugle's Women magazine, and she often disappears to go do superhero work. Eventually, Jameson gets fed up with this behavior and fires Carol.
  • Underestimating Badassery:
    • AIM recovers the Scorpion after his first bout with Ms. Marvel and sticks him in a Healing Vat, thinking that they can brainwash him while he recuperates. He heals much faster than they expected, however, breaking free and going on a rampage through their base. They also don't expect him to be able to escape by climbing up an empty elevator shaft, which he does.
    • Ms. Marvel underestimates how tough the Vision is during their fight, and how long he can stay down after getting zapped.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • Ms. Marvel saves Jameson from yet another Scorpion revenge scheme. Jonah shows his expected usual level of gratitude by trying to make Carol run a smear article on her.
    • Joe Danvers is such a sexist wad he can't even say thanks to Ms. Marvel for saving his life.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Relatively speaking. Carol is superhumanly strong, but many of her enemies are even stronger. She relies on her judo skills to get an edge over these bruisers.
  • Weaponized Headgear: The Destructor's helmet has a built-in Energy Weapon which fires deadly "tachyon blasts".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Issues 11 and 12 have Carol drawn into a fight involving the cast of Supernatural Thrillers. Issue 13 skips past that, leaving the resolution to a flashback before moving on entirely, not answering what becomes of Hecate or the Ruby Skarab, or of Zephyr, Oldan and Asp, who were last seen being held hostage by the Elementals.
  • Wolverine Publicity: In case the prospect of a new superhero wasn't enough to lure in readers in 1977, the first cover also has Spidey's supporting cast on it, as was the Marvel tradition.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Carol actually feels a little sympathy for Death-Bird when she explains her backstory a bit, but Death-Bird's not in any mood to be sympathized with and is still trying to kill her.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Ms. Marvel's first tussle with Grotesk takes place in a burning building, and while Flying Brick she may be, she still needs to see and breath. Their next go-around is not in a burning building, giving Ms. Marvel more of an even chance.
  • Worthy Opponent: Several of Carol's opponents compliment her on her fighting prowess. This usually does nothing to deter them from trying to kill her.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: MODOK has an agent 'borrow' Ms. Marvel's costume so they can test it, but since the circuitry no longer works, he decides she's surplus to requirements, and instead figures testing his brainwashing technique by having Ms. Marvel kill her is the way to go.