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Fanfic / A Prize for Three Empires

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A Prize for Three Empires is a novelization of the life of Carol Danvers before her transformation into the new Captain Marvel, written by DarkMark.

Call her Ms. Marvel, Warbird, or Binary, Carol Danvers has had one of the toughest lives of any superheroine... and three star-spanning empires aren't out to make it any easier.

It can be read in and Dark Mark’s old Marvel fanfiction site.

Dark Mark has also written Hellsister Trilogy, Kara of Rokyn, A Very Kara Christmas, A Force of Four, Superman of 2499: The Great Confrontation, Superman and Man, Dance with the Demons, With this Ring... (Green Lantern), Funeral for a Flash, The Vampire of Steel, The Unfantastic Adventures of Bizarro No. 1, Here There Be Monsters, X-Men 1970, FIRE!, Devil's Diary, Everybody's Gotta Leave Sometime and Maybe the Last Archie Story.

Tropes found in this work:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Canon: Jean Grey still goes by Phoenix after returning.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Scenes where Carol is having a heart-to-heart talk with her mother or one friend may be and often are followed with Carol fighting off alien soldiers.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: Warbird and Gladiator, who hardly know each other in the canon universe, start a relationship.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Gladiator's pet name for Carol is "Ca-Rol".
  • The Alcoholic: Carol develops an addiction to alcohol when she starts losing her powers. It takes a while until she owns up her alcoholism and starts fighting it.
  • Alien Geometries: The walls of Marcus' palace are both solid and fluctuating, a sight which makes Carol queasy.
  • Alternate Universe: The second half is set in a continuity where Carol is hunted down by three alien empires determined to harvest her cosmic powers.
  • Alternate Universe Fic: The first half narrates Carol's early life, and the second half diverges from canon completely.
  • And I Must Scream: As Carol remained under Marcus' influence, her conscience was trapped inside her own body, struggling to break out, which was not possible until Marcus passed away.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • It happens when Carol questions Iva Kann’s reasons for fighting her to death.
      "Have you ever questioned Ronan, or his superiors? Have you ever asked yourself if they had your best interests in mind?"
      "I have asked questions of Lord Ronan when things were unclear to me," she said. "As for having my best interests in mind, I repeat: I enjoy my present status in society because of obeying his orders."
      "So far," said Carol. "But what happens when they feel you’re just another piece of meat to throw to the dogs?"
      Iva now definitely looked confused, and somewhat angry. "Explain yourself."
      "Look at it this way. They’ve probably thrown a lot of sparring partners at you, just to see how fast and how well you could kill them. Correct?"
      "Substantially, yes," said Iva.
      "Now they’re matching you against me, just for the pleasure of the big boys," Carol continued. "Just for the pleasure of seeing me killed. Isn’t that right?"
      "The basic idea of it is correct," Iva agreed.
      "This has all been done to make you into the perfect fighting machine. Would you agree with that?"
      Iva looked as though she were being drawn into a trap, but couldn’t bring herself to avoid it. "Not in those precise words, but the gist of it is valid."
      "So what happens when they want an even more perfect fighting machine, and throw you to her as a sacrifice?"
      Iva’s jaw was open. No sound came out.
      "The Kree are very functionalistic," said Carol. "You’re only good to them until they can get somebody better. Once they do, or they think they do, they’ll see you as nothing but meat for the grinder. And somebody else will be using you as a hamburger."
      She doubted that Iva knew exactly what a hamburger was. But she got the meaning of it. Iva was furious. For some reason, that heartened Carol.
      "In the arena, you will beg me for your destruction," hissed the blue woman. "That is when your agonies will only have started."
    • Carol gets one from her mother which makes her consider she judged her ex-teammates too harshly.
      Carol reached out for her mother. Marie pushed her hands away. "No, you don't. You're not hugging me until I'm finished. And I've got a lot more to say yet.
      "Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the Avengers are made up of the dumbest, most cowardly people on the face of the Earth. Am I right? I think I am. They maybe should have known what was going on with you and Marcus. But they didn't. Maybe they couldn't. All they saw was you, acting like you wanted to go with him, and you did. That's the information they had to go on. Honestly, Carol, do you think they would knowingly have let you go off with a rapist?"
      "No," said Carol, snuffling.
      "Well, then," she said. "We have established that they were dumb, yes, or maybe just deceived. But not malicious. Can we agree on that?"
      "I didn't say they did it deliberately," Carol said. "I just said they should have known."
      "Maybe they couldn't have, Carol," said Marie. "If they didn't know you were being controlled, how could they have known?"
  • Awful Truth: Carol is told a Guardsman whom she killed during the Shi'ar Civil War was her friend Raza's brother. She reacts as well as you'd expect.
  • Badass Boast: Iva Kann delivers a good boast during an argument with Carol.
    Warbird: How many have you already destroyed, Iva?
    Iva Kann: (shrugging) You can get the count from Ronan. I stopped worrying about such things after my 25th.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Avengers, The X-Men, the Shi'ar Imperial Guard and the Starjammers arrive just in time to rescue Carol from the Kree.
  • Big "NO!": Carol lets one out, combined with remorseful tears, when she finds out Zenith, a Shi’ar guardsman whom she killed, was her ex-teammate Raza’s brother:
    Warbird looked up, her eyes closed and tearing, her fists clenched, and shouted one great word that filled the cabin.
    Then she put both her hands to her head again and sobbed.
  • Blessed with Suck: Carol was granted incredible powers that make her a target to very nasty people.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • Wolverine attacks Carol while mind-controlled by an alien spirit known as Zennan.
      Wolverine had lashed out with his six claws of bone and torn three gashes in Carol Danvers's stomach.
      For a nanosecond, she wondered why he had done it. He must, some rational, stand-apart portion of her mind said, be under outside control. Logan was a bosom friend of hers from before she had even gone to work at NASA.
    • Subverted when Carol convinces the Avengers that Raza has been brainwashed by the Kree into assassinating Black Knight. He was merely blackmailed, but Carol lied so he was allowed to go free and keep searching his son.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: Jean Grey and Oracle mentally influenced the Kree who analyzed Carol's genetic sampling to convince him that Carol no longer has Binary powers, so the Kree leave Carol alone.
  • Broken Bird: Carol has been through several kinds of Hell. She has lost lovers, friends and family. She has been almost murdered several times. She has been raped once. The trauma she suffered causes her jerkassery and cynicism to go several levels up for a while, and she develops a drinking problem without realizing it, but fortunately she gets better.
  • Broken Pedestal: Carol lost her faith in the Avengers and the X-Men after the former let her rapist walk away with her and the latter let her would-be murderer join the team.
    Carol: I don't hate you, Cap. It's just hard for me to trust you all as fully as I once would have.
  • Brought Down to Normal: It happens to Carol twice: she is depowered after her run-in with Rogue, and later she gradually loses her Binary powers after closing a white hole during a joint mission with the X-Men.
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Carol is shocked when she is said she is pregnant: both she and her lover used protection, and he has been dead for longer than she has been pregnant.
  • But We Used a Condom!: Carol's reaction when she learns she is pregnant is thinking it impossible because both she and her lover used protection, and he had been dead for longer than she had been pregnant.
    Wanda took her to the doctor and they found out she was three months pregnant.
    She'd been on the Pill when she was with Michael. He'd used protection.
  • Captain Obvious: After the Shi'ar Imperial Guard captures Carol, Oracle warns Gladiator that their prisoner will try to escape.
    Oracle: Gladiator, I must warn you of my vision. I have a sight that she will try to escape before we make planet. Be on your guard.
    Gladiator: (rolling eyes) That I needed you to tell me? Thank you, Oracle.
  • Cartwright Curse: Most of Carol's potential or actual lovers end up dead. Those who don't are Wolverine -who has a healing factor and was more like a friend with benefits for some while- and Gladiator -who is a Superman expy-.
  • Casual Interplanetary Travel: During the story's second half, the Avengers, the X-Men and the Starjammers travel quickly between the homeworlds of three diferent galactic empires thanks to their ships' FTL engines.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: Every team of super-heroes owns at least one starship with faster-than-light engines.
  • Collapsed Mid-Speech: It happens to Carol after fighting Iva Kann to death and winning.
    Gladiator knelt down to support Carol in one arm, Ronan’s weapon in his other hand. "Can you speak, Ca-Rol? Are you conscious?"
    Warbird managed to get out, "I'm fi–" before the black and white sparks danced and she slumped against the Guardsman’s chest.
  • Continuity Porn: The firs half of the fic is a detailed novelization of Carol Danvers' life, covering the first three deaces of existence of the character and delving deeply into the Marvel Universe mythos.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: At one point, Carol visits her friend Mar-Vell's grave and embraces the memorial stone, crying because of her inability to save him.
    She called the X-Men, as little as she liked it, and learned from them the location of the world where Mar-Vell had breathed his last. Then she went there, and saw his memorial stone, and embraced it.
    She thought of the alien who had been a friend to her, who had enabled her to become a super-hero through a genetic gift. She wondered if, somehow, a transplant of genes or blood from her body to his could have saved him.
    Probably not. The cancer was too far into him. But at least she would have tried.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Marie Danvers forces her daughter Carol to face the fact she has been blaming everyone else for her own issues so Carol can finally overcome her trauma instead of wallowing in anger and self-pity.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Deathbird's threats usually include promises of ripping off eyes, tongue or face.
    Deathbird showed Carol her teeth, and held both hands full of claws before her face. "For such impudence, I would strip another’s flesh from her face. Then I would let them bleed to death in their bonds."
  • Dark Action Girl:
    • Deathbird, the Shi'ar Majestrix, is both evil and a vicious fighter.
    • Iva Kann is a Kree gladiator groomed into being a warrior since her childhood.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Marie Danvers' sarcasm proves to be unexpectedly sharp.
    Marie: Right. Should have, should have. That's a really useful phrase, isn't it, Carol? Bound to be a million uses for it. I should have gone to college. I should have been a working wife. I should have this, I should have that. I should have won ten million dollars in the lottery. But you know what, Carol? I didn't.
  • Dirty Business: Carol killed Zenith, Raza's brother. She didn’t enjoy it, but they were fighting in opposite sides during a war.
    Titan: How did it feel when you killed Zenith? Our brother Guardsman?
    Carol: Well, it wasn’t something I enjoyed. If there was a different way to go back and do it, I would. But we were in battle. It’s the age-old soldier’s question. 'Who's it gonna be, me or him?' I didn’t have anything against him. But I imagine every one of you knows about war.
  • Doorstopper: This story is twenty-nine chapters long with 118,387 words, which is unusual for a fanfiction starring Carol Danvers.
  • Dysfunction Junction: After considering the number of heroes with psychological issues, deep-seated traumas, troubled pasts… Carol comes to the conclusion that super-teams are essentially dysfunctional families.
    Like the Avengers and the X-Men before them, they had shown her that super-teams, at best, are little more than dysfunctional families.
  • Easily Forgiven: Carol finds galling that everything Rogue had to do to be forgiven by her friends was to knock on the X-Mansion's door and say she was sorry.
    Storm was there, in a long coat, and looked like she was having difficulty with what she had to say. But she said it. "The child repents, my friend, and has been forgiven. Behold our newest X-Man."
  • Eldritch Location: Marcus' palace is located in a dimension beyond physical space and time called Limbo. The walls are shifting and fluctuating, and different time periods flash around of the building.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Immortus isn't quite a good guy, but even so he is speechless and disgusted when he finds out that his son Marcus kidnapped and raped a woman physically and mentally in order to try escape from Limbo.
  • Family of Choice: Logan admits he doesn't want to leave the X-Men because they have become his family.
    Wolverine: First: there's no way I'm leaving the group. I had me a solo stint a short while back, an' I'll probably have more of 'em. Sometimes it's easier not havin' Cyke or Storm lookin' over your shoulder. Don't tell 'em I said that. But the main reason, crazy as it seems, is... they're family. Does that make sense?
  • Fantastic Drug: The alien race Aakon make alcoholic beverages and drugs specifically designed according to the customer's tastes.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: The Starjammers and every alien empire use FTL drives to zip across the galaxy. Jean Grey and Carol Danvers as Phoenix and Binary, respectively, can zip across the cosmos under their own power.
  • Flaming Hair: Carol's hair becomes a crown of bright flares when she powers up. So does Jean Grey's.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Eventually Carol tries to forgive Rogue for stealing both her powers and memories and attempting to kill her but "she was never, a zillion times over, going to forget the terrible thing Rogue had done to her".
  • Forgiveness: At the end, Carol apologizes to her friends for using her personal issues as an excuse for becoming a jerkass.
    Carol: At one time or another, I was on the outs with a bunch of you. Sometimes the Avengers, sometimes the X-Men. Sometimes I had reason to be, sometimes... it was just my own stupid fault. Sometimes I was right, sometimes I was really, really wrong. But the thing... the thing I was most wrong about... was thinking that you, and you, and you, and all the rest of you, were anything but friends. You were there for me. I wasn’t always there for you. I messed up. Big-time. With the drinking. I hope I’ve... put all that behind me now. Can you... forgive me? And can we all... still be friends?
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Carol eventually realizes that she can't blame her bad attitude on every bad thing that has happened to her forever.
  • Freudian Slip: As arguing with her mother, Carol reiterates she has her drinking problem under control. Yes, really! She hasn't even touched that whisky bottle she brought home with... Oops.
    After the tale was told, Marie shook her head. "So now you've got a drinking problem, on top of all that. It's a wonder that I don't."
    "Mom, I'm tapering off," said Carol. "I haven't even touched that bottle I brought home with me." She caught herself, and cursed. Marie was staring at her.
  • Friendship Moment: When Captain America considers to step down because his values are deemed too old-fashioned and out-of-touch by a new generation of increasingly violent heroes, Carol encourages him to go on fighting because the Avengers need their moral pillar.
  • Friends with Benefits: Carol and Logan were partners during the former's CIA stint. They weren't a couple but friends who often slept with each other.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: In order to find and rescue Carol from the Kree Empire, the Avengers call in the X-Men and the Starjammers.
  • Gotta Get Your Head Together: Carol clutches her head when she finds out that Zenith, whom she killed, was Raza's brother.
  • Grave-Marking Scene:
    • Carol -and Rogue after absorbing her memories- sometimes visited Carol's brother Steve's grave.
    • Carol visits Mar-Vell’s grave after learning about his death.
      She called the X-Men, as little as she liked it, and learned from them the location of the world where Mar-Vell had breathed his last. Then she went there, and saw his memorial stone, and embraced it.
  • Headbutting Heroes: Carol really hates Rogue, who stole her memories and powers and almost murdered her in the past. Rogue has reformed since, and she's now a full-fledged hero, but Carol will never forget what Rogue did to her.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Carol's lover Mike Barnett is beaten to death by Mystique, leaving Carol immensely distraught.
  • Heroic BSoD: Carol goes through several of them: when she finds out her friend the original Captain Marvel got sick and died, when she has to own up to her alcoholism, and when she is told she killed Raza's brother.
  • He's Back!: Carol quits the Avengers and tries to lead a normal life until she sees a villain beating Iron Man down on TV.
    Carol cursed. Why did they both have to be in Seattle? Why couldn't he have stayed in New York City with all the rest of the super-freaks? Why couldn't she get off this merry-go-round of heroes and villains?
    Because there were more villains than heroes.
    And because she couldn't let a friend get killed, while she could do something about it.
  • Hit Me, Dammit!: During one fight between Carol and Rogue, the former wants to beat the latter to the ground for stealing her life, but she hesitates when she notices Rogue is perfectly willing to stay put while she is being punched.
    Binary sat there, kneeling on Rogue's legs, and held one fist cocked at the ready. The mutant's face was bruised, even bleeding a bit. But she was awake, and aware.
    "Go ahead, Carol," said Rogue. "Aren't ya gonna hit me with that big ol' fist? Or are ya gonna just let it hang till all the blood drains down t'your shoulder?"
    Binary said, "Give me a good reason. Tell me why I shouldn't do it."
    "Don't have to give you no reasons not to hit me," said Rogue, coughing a bit. "You wanna hit me, go right on ahead. Seems like it's pretty good therapy for you."
    "Damn you to hell, you soulsucking little bitch," rasped Carol. "Damn your bloody black soul all the way down to hell and New Jersey." She lowered her fist a bit, spread the fingers, made the fist again, and waited.
  • Hospital Surprise: Carol fights a Kree gladiator to death, and then she passes out as a result of her injuries. Later she wakes up in an infirmary, with her friends leaning over her.
  • Hypocrite: Subverted. Carol thinks her teammates are hypocrites for believing she has a drinking problem even though Iron Man has a drinking problem and both Thor and Hawkeye drink beer. Unflappably, her mother points out that they have never gone out drunk into battle.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Carol admits she killed an enemy spy during her C.I.A. years. Since that woman killed several of her partners, she isn't particularly regretful.
    Captain America: I also caused quite a few deaths, personally, on the other side. I killed a lot of people, Carol. A lot of people.
    Binary: You were a soldier, Cap.
    Captain America: Yes. We were all soldiers. I do not regret what I did. I regret that I had to do it. But I'm not a hypocrite, Carol. I knew what I was fighting for, and what I was fighting against. Given the situation again, put back there, I would do just what I did, again. Do you understand?
    Binary: You're not the only person in this room with blood on his hands, Cap. Or her hands. A long time ago, before I ever put on a funny suit, I was a CIA op. I did what I had to do. One of those things was doing a button woman from the other side. She'd killed 23 of our people, and I was supposed to be number 24. I don't regret shooting her.
    Captain America: I wouldn't expect you to.
  • I Have Many Names: Carol Danvers, Miss Marvel, Binary, Warbird… and Ca-Rol, the latter given by Gladiator.
  • Inner Monologue: Carol talks to herself every so often. For example, when a part of her doesn't want to pity Rogue.
    "Rogue, that's enough. Come on, snap out of it."
    (What the hell are you doing feeling sorry for her, girl? She's the one who stole everything but a non-controlling interest in your life. You ought to be glad to see her getting the whim-whams...)
    (Shut up.)
  • Innocently Insensitive: When Carol is introduced to the new Captain Marvel Monica Rambeau, she innocently and jokingly asks if Mar-Vell has retired or gotten a new look. She is told Mar-Vell got sick from cancer and died.
    She was a black woman in a black-and-white costume, and, when she chose to, she was composed of light. The Thing introduced her as the latest Avenger to the three, Nick, Logan, and Carol, who hadn't met her. "Carol Danvers, meet Captain Marvel."
    Carol dropped her jaw, and then asked if Mar-Vell had retired, or suddenly gotten a new look? She meant it as a joke.
    It wasn't taken as such.
    "Carol, didn't you know?" asked Nick Fury.
    "Know what, Nicholas?" she responded.
    "Mar-Vell's dead."
  • Interspecies Friendship: Carol Danvers is captured by the Shi'ar Imperial Guard, but she ends up earning their respect and befriending all of them.
  • Interspecies Romance: Warbird (human, since this was written prior to the half-Kree retcon) and Gladiator (Shi'ar)… which, considering who both characters are expies from, is ironic.
  • Intertwined Fingers: In chapter 23, Carol tells Gladiator about human courtship customs and the importance of the touch as a sign of intimacy. As their conversation gets more intimate, they end up entwining hands.
    "My God, I really cannot believe I’m having a conversation about American mating customs with a dad-blamed alien from the Shi’ar system. And I mean that in the most complimentary way, Glad. Really I do." She lay a hand gently on his wrist. "Really," she repeated.
    He looked into her eyes. "And is the touch usually a sign of a wish for intimacy?"
    "Often, it is," she said. "Just as... the right look... can be an even greater sign."
    He entwined the fingers of his hand with hers. "Would this also be a sign of some significance? In this context, that is?"
    "In this context, it would often be significant, indeed," she said.
  • Jaw Drop: Carol's jaw nearly hits the floor when she is introduced to the new Captain Marvel Monica Rambeau.
    She was a black woman in a black-and-white costume, and, when she chose to, she was composed of light. The Thing introduced her as the latest Avenger to the three, Nick, Logan, and Carol, who hadn't met her. "Carol Danvers, meet Captain Marvel."
    Carol dropped her jaw, and then asked if Mar-Vell had retired, or suddenly gotten a new look? She meant it as a joke.
  • Kangaroo Court: Subverted when Carol is summoned to an Avengers special tribunal. Carol believes she is being judged unfairly by hypocrites who have already made up their minds, but the Avengers were being fair.
    Carol: Well, fine. If that's the way you're going to be, I'll save you the trouble of finishing your kangaroo court's vote. Effective immediately— I quit.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: When the Avengers, the X-Men, the Starjammers and a Shi’ar warship storm its hideout after Carol has defeated the Kree champion, the Supreme Intelligence acknowledges it has been beaten and teleports away.
  • Little "No": Used by Captain America when Carol wants to take part in a mission right after being voted out of the team.
    "I've been on this from the start," she said. "And I know the battleground. You can't mean to—"
    "No, Warbird." He said it firmly. His face was stone.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Carol's father is unaware of his daughter's double life until the very end.
  • Love Hurts: Kree soldier Iva Kann sees no point in getting emotionally attached to someone and being hurt. Nonetheless, Carol argues that loving someone is worth of the risk of heartbreak.
    Iva Kann: You Earthers. Your emotions as corrupted as that of Captain Mar-Vell. You think by a heart-bonding with another individual, you can make them stay. How idiotic. Best to have one’s way with them, and let them go.
    Warbird: We don’t think that, Iva. Sure, our loved ones are going to go. Everybody goes, you know that. But the love-bond is so important to us that we risk the pain to forge it. Like the pain you have to go through in a battle to win it. It’s like that, Iva. Very much like that.
  • Love Is a Weakness: Iva Kann believes that loving someone makes you vulnerable, and so she has only ever gotten loveless sex.
  • Mama Bear: Was Marcus Immortus still alive, Marie Danvers would hunt him down and put an extra hole in his head.
    "You think I'm going to make apologies for Marcus? A man who virtually rapes my own daughter?" She looked cold, hard, and not at all like the mother Carol Danvers was used to. "Hell, no. If he wasn't dead, I'd find out where he was, no matter how long it took me, and shoot him down dead with your father's .38"
  • Manipulative Bastard: Cyclops thinks Carol and Rogue need to learn how to work together, so he engineers a meeting, confident that both women will be able to talk things over (and Carol will not kill his teammate). His plan works, but it makes Carol wonder why leaders are so manipulative.
    Carol: Just tell me one thing?
    Scott: I'll try.
    Carol: You and Xavier. Both leaders. And you've both turned out to be manipulative bastards, when you needed to. Why? Why is that?
    Scott: It comes with the territory.
  • Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex: Downplayed when Carol and Gladiator link hands. She is strong but he is still strong enough to shatter her bones accidentally, although he states he will be careful.
    Carol: In this context, it would often be significant, indeed. Just keep it as gentle as that, Glad. I know you could break my fingers.
    Gladiator: But I would not.
  • Mind Rape: Marcus Immortus lobotomized Carol so she didn't object to have sex with him.
  • Mistaken for Junkie: When Carol confesses she has developed a drinking problem, her mother Marie states she hopes she hasn't been doing drugs, too. Carol vehemently denies it.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Carol is a pretty successful novelist.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: On two separate occasions, Carol replaces her primary-color costume with a black leotard.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: The Shi'ar Imperial Guard captures Warbird in order to bring her to Deathbird. When Carol points out that Deathbird will get her killed her out of revenge, they reply Deathbird's presently the Queen and they're loyal to the Shi'ar's throne, regardless the morality of the ruler.
  • Name From Another Species: Carol is named Ca-Rol by Gladiator.
  • '90s Anti-Hero: Lampshaded by Captain America, who after Operation: Galactic Storm -a The Avengers storyline published in 1992- expresses concern about the rise of a new breed of heroes who appear completely unconcerned with killing.
    Captain America: I'm thinking of stepping out, Carol. This new age seems to be an age for killers—the Punisher, Wolverine, U.S. Agent. I've only killed one person in recent times. Flag-Smasher manipulated me into it. I didn't like it. I'm not a killer anymore.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: Carol successfully baits Deathbird into a one-to-one duel by calling her a coward.
    Deathbird: Do not tempt me overmuch, woman. Thus far I have shown you mercy. I could bring you to trial lacking your eyes or tongue, or both, and nothing would be said about it so long as you could speak or write your responses. You try my patience.
    Warbird: So far, Deathbird, all you’ve shown me is cowardice. Way back when, you weren’t afraid to face me one-on-one, mano y mano, with both my hands untied and you armed with those claws and a spear. I may have beaten you, but you gave me a hell of a fight both times. Now you talk about maiming me while I’ve got both arms locked up. That isn’t the mark of a monarch or a warrior. That’s just the mark of a coward.
    Gladiator: Te’ Warbird, have a care. Even I cannot protect you from everything.
    Warbird: Maybe she wants you to protect her from me. Ever think of that, Gladiator? Maybe she just doesn’t have what she used to, when she was a fighter.
    Deathbird: For such impudence, I would strip another’s flesh from her face. Then I would let them bleed to death in their bonds.
    Warbird: If you do that, everybody here will know you for a coward. They may not say it to your face, but they’ll know it in their hearts. You will, too.
    Deathbird: Your words would have cost another her tongue, perhaps her throat. Do you still call me coward?
    Warbird: More important, Majestrix, is what you call yourself.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: The Supreme Intelligence, the ruler of the Kree Empire and one of the most intelligent beings in the galaxy, abandons his ongoing scheme and teleports away as soon as the Earth's heroes storm his base to rescue Carol.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Back when she was a CIA spy, Carol was captured. Her bosses decided a rescue operation was too risky so they wrote her off. Logan and several more partners didn't agree, so they went and got her out.
  • No-Sell: Binary merely stands her ground when Rogue tries to take on her before punching her opponent across the landscape.
  • Obliviously Evil: Marcus Immortus' plan consisted in kidnapping a woman and implanting his "essence" in her in order to being reborn in Earth and use his father's science to make a Golden Age on Earth. It never occurred to him that his chosen mate would object to his actions.
    There had to be such a woman on Earth. There were billions of women. Certainly he could find one who would be suitable. And he'd show her a good time, oh, yes, he would. He'd make her have a good time. It was all so, so important. And after he was born on Earth, why, he'd mature in a few days and then permanently fix his age at maturity and use his father's science to make a Golden Age on Earth.
    Even if the woman didn't understand it at first, after it was all over, she'd be unutterably grateful to him for it all.
    He was certain of that.
  • Official Kiss: In chapter 23, Warbird kisses Gladiator as she is teaching him about human courtship practices.
    "No," she said. "And another sign of acknowledgment would be... this." She leaned over and kissed him on the forehead.
    Gladiator said, "I will reciprocate," and, taking her head gingerly between his own hands, applied his lips to her forehead just above her mask. She giggled. "Is this a proper zone of intimacy among your people?"
    "Not as good as this one," said Carol, and kissed him hard on the mouth.
    When they broke, Gladiator regarded her quizzically. "You are right. That is a more proper zone of intimacy."
  • Off the Wagon: Carol falls off the wagon once, unable to resist the temptation of drinking beer while waiting for a friend in a bar.
    She sighed. There was nothing much to do except wait. And play another solo game. And eat, if she thought she could stomach what this place called food, probably just nachos and hot dogs.
    There were three guys at the bar, and each had a stein of beer in his hand. She looked at them a long, long moment.
    It was awfully hard for even a place like this to screw up beer.
    A voice inside her told her to get out, don't even go there, don't even think about it, don't justify what the Avengers thought of her, don't let Mom and Daddy down.
    Another voice said that it was just beer, that she could keep it within her limit, that she knew how to drink like a lady, she wasn't a kid anymore, for cripes' sake, and beer would be the only thing that could make this place bearable while she was waiting for Logan the Late.
    She tipped the scales. Still holding the cue, Carol stepped hesitantly in the direction of the bar. The steps got a little bit easier as she kept taking them.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Both Deathbird and Ronan the Accuser stand back and order their minions to hunt down Carol instead of looking for her and fighting her personally.
  • Parents as People: Joe Danvers unquestionably loves and cares for his daughter Carol, but he is an old-fashioned man who can't understand why Carol would want to become a career soldier instead of a housewife. To his credit, he's at least trying.
    Joe Danvers: Does that suit have to be that small?
    Carol Danvers: All the fashion these days, Dad. I hope you understand.
    Joe: I’m not sure. But I guess we’ll have to live with it.
  • Playing with Fire: Both Carol Danvers and Jean Grey are able to produce and manipulate cosmic fire.
    Jean turned into Phoenix, and still stood between her and the car.
    Carol set her suitcase down, and, in a burst of flame, became Binary.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: Carol passes out after defeating Iva Kann.
  • Power Parasite: Rogue completely drains Carol's powers, as well as her memories. She only intended to steal them temporarily, but the transfer was permanent.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Binary to Phoenix when Jean tries to stop Carol from storming out.
    Binary: You really want to match powers? If you do, step away from my car. I don't want it turned into a puddle. It's a rental.
  • Primary-Color Champion: Carol's first costume was dark-blue, red and yellow, resembling the one belonging to the original Captain Marvel.
    She sometimes wondered about that suit and why she'd created it like that. Red shirt like Mar-Vell's, but with a big cutout that exposed her stomach. Black trunks that were really just a bikini bottom, even if they were attached to her shirt. Black gloves, a black mask that covered the upper part of her face, black boots with red tops, and a long red scarf that seemed fashionable but was always being grabbed by whomever she fought, so she did away with it early on. The costume had no leggings, so she showed off most of her legs.
  • Punched Across the Room: At one point, Binary punches Rogue across Xavier's Mansion grounds.
    Carol, not budging from her stand, ducked between them, swung her own fist up and across and tagged Rogue again with another blow. It had enough foot-pounds of force to cave in an elephant's skull.
    For her part, Rogue went flying again, but in a direction parallel to the ground. She impacted on one of the sturdy oaks near Xavier's mansion and smashed it to splinters.
  • Quit Your Whining: Marie urges Carol to stop her ongoing pity party and get her life in order.
    Marie Danvers: Carol. Listen. It's time you pulled yourself out of that pity-pool and got on with your damned life. And part of it is realizing where you may have been wrong, and trying to do something about it. And part of it may be trying to see something from beyond your own perspective. Okay?
  • Really Gets Around: Iva Kann, according to herself:
    Carol: Don’t you have any feelings about life, or love? Have you ever been in love, Iva?
    Iva Kann: I have mated, Ca-Rol Danvers. Probably more times than you.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: Carol stops looking up to The Avengers after they allow her rapist to walk out with her. Later she accepts they had no way to know she was being mind-controlled, and the fact they made a terrible error of judgement doesn't mean they aren't her friends.
  • Recovered Addict: Carol kept getting drunk in order to deal with her past trauma and her fading powers. After she is kicked out of the Avengers and forced by her mother to own up to her addiction, Carol makes a recovery. She slips once, but afterwards she manages to stay clean.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: The X-Men reluctantly agree to give just-reformed Rogue a chance, but Carol refuses to. It took a long while for Carol to accept Rogue wasn't the villain who ruined her life anymore, and even so Carol knew they would never be close.
  • Revenge: The Supreme Intelligence and Ronan the Accuser's primary purpose for capturing and killing Carol Danvers is to harvest her special DNA, but eliminating a hated enemy who has constantly thwarted their plans is a nice bonus.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Mystique and Rogue attack Carol because Destiny foretold Carol would somehow harm Rogue in the future... which comes to pass only because Carol was attacked by them in the first place.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Invoked by Captain America, who believes Carol is risking the same kind of burnout that his fellow soldiers suffered during the War.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To certain DC heroines when Carol complains that "[The Avengers will] be expecting Binary, super-wonder girl who punches out plasma. They're getting something closer to Ms. Marvel."
    • A subtle one to Kingdom Come. At the end of Operation: Galactic Storm the Avengers kill the Supreme Intelligence in punishment for his massive death count. Captain America fears they come to see killing as a solution, wonders if his ideals still have his place in an age of super-heroes who kill without a second thought, and considers stepping out.
  • Skyward Scream: Carol lets a big one after Marcus' mind-control is lifted.
  • So Proud of You: Carol's father feels proud of his daughter after finding out she has fought alongside Captain America himself.
  • Split Personality: At the beginning of her Miss Marvel career, Carol developed a split personality.
    She had also become a superheroine called Ms. Marvel.
    And she didn't know about it.
    The exposure to the Kree Psyche-Magnitron had finally manifested its effects in Carol's body. She gained a split personality, and her other half had the consciousness and powers of a Kree warrior, complete with a red, yellow, and deep blue costume patterned after Captain Marvel's, but with a feminine slant. It automatically appeared on her when she switched to Ms. Marvel, triggered by her unconscious. In a way, it was like a fugue state.
  • Spot the Imposter: Deconstructed when Mystique impersonates Carol, and is spotted by Carol's lover Mike Barnett. Mystique proceeds to beat him to death.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Joe Danvers didn't want for his daughter becoming something other than a housewife. So when she went and joined the Air Force, he didn't take it well. But Carol didn't budge an inch and was backed by her mother, so he was left with no other choice but to accept it.
    And not even Carol, his favorite, could convince him to spend the money on a college education. Her grades were good enough. Her test scores were high enough to have some schools sending her brochures asking them to consider spending four years worth of time and tuition money with them, and even offering some incentives in the way of scholarships.
    Joe wouldn't have it. Sure, he'd taught Carol to fight. He'd taught all his kids to fight. That didn't mean she wasn't supposed to be a lady, and a lady's place was in the home, not acting like some harlot on a movie screen or in Vogue or being some spinster career girl. She was going to get married, and that was that. No sense in spending tuition money when she could have her pick of men right there in Boston. But, he said, she could go to secretarial school, or learn to be a nurse. Those were useful things.
    So she went and joined the Air Force.
  • Stress Vomit:
    • Carol once killed an enemy spy during her time in the CIA. She threw up after the deed.
      Carol: You're not the only person in this room with blood on his hands, Cap. Or her hands. A long time ago, before I ever put on a funny suit, I was a CIA op. I did what I had to do. One of those things was doing a button woman from the other side. She'd killed 23 of our people, and I was supposed to be number 24. I don't regret shooting her.[...] I threw up after that one. But I waited till I was in private to do it.
    • Later, when she is imprisoned in Marcus’ palace, the distress of her situation causes her to vomit. She makes sure to do this on Marcus’ ashes.
  • Stunned Silence: Iva Kann is left speechless when Carol points out that she is nothing but cannon fodder for her superiors, no matter how good Iva believes she is.
    "Now they're matching you against me, just for the pleasure of the big boys," Carol continued. "Just for the pleasure of seeing me killed. Isn't that right?"
    "The basic idea of it is correct," Iva agreed.
    "This has all been done to make you into the perfect fighting machine. Would you agree with that?"
    Iva looked as though she were being drawn into a trap, but couldn't bring herself to avoid it. "Not in those precise words, but the gist of it is valid."
    "So what happens when they want an even more perfect fighting machine, and throw you to her as a sacrifice?"
    Iva's jaw was open. No sound came out.
  • Superheroes in Space: Carol joins the Starjammers and fights far from Earth for several years.
  • Superhero Paradox: It is pointed out that Captain Marvel was the reason that Cape Canaveral was targeted by all kind of villains.
    This began a series of events which lasted for about a year and threw her into contact with Lawson and Captain Marvel over and over again. Cape Canaveral was targeted by aliens, monsters, rampaging androids, even the Sub-Mariner and Iron Man, with Captain Marvel the apparent reason they were there, and Carol just trying to help General Bridges keep the thing from falling apart.
  • Superpower Lottery: Carol's powers at the very least include super-strength, invulnerability, flight, the capability to survive in space and the ability to shoot energy blasts.
    Carol: I won the super-power lottery twice, maybe three times. Now I almost wish I hadn't.
  • Super-Strength: Carol is usually super-strong. Depending on the time, it ranges from Spider-Man to nearly Hulk-level.
    Carol, not budging from her stand, ducked between them, swung her own fist up and across and tagged Rogue again with another blow. It had enough foot-pounds of force to cave in an elephant's skull.
  • Talking to the Dead: After absorbing Carol's memories, Rogue visited Carol's grave's brother and wept.
  • Tears of Remorse: Shed by Carol when she finds out she unknowingly killed Raza’s brother.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Carol and Rogue don't like each other, but they manage to leave their private feud aside for the sake of a mission.
  • Tempting Fate: After losing two jobs, her brother and her lover, Carol was sure that her life couldn't get worse. Cue Marcus Immortus kidnapping her.
    Carol had lost two jobs, her brother, and her lover. It was hard to put the mask and bathing suit costume on, now. It was hard to play soldier.
    She cried over some long phone calls at night to her mother and made arrangements to ask for time off at the end of the week. She was sure nothing could knock her lower than this had done, certain that, after this, God or whoever had something better in store for her.
    In this, Carol was very, very wrong.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Carol quits the Avengers twice in order to lead a normal life. The first time, her retirement was disrupted by Rogue. The second time, she put her costume back on to help Iron Man out.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Captain America killed people when he was a soldier, but he doesn’t want to kill anymore; and he doesn’t like heroes who kill, either. Part of it is because he is worried that killing becomes regarded as an easy solution rather than a last resort.
    Captain America: I'm thinking of stepping out, Carol. This new age seems to be an age for killers— the Punisher, Wolverine, U.S. Agent. I've only killed one person in recent times. Flag-Smasher manipulated me into it. I didn't like it. I'm not a killer anymore.
    Carol: But that's just why they do need you, Cap. To keep them from going down that slope anymore. I don't think we feel the same way about killing... but I won't do it unless there's no other way. I agree, I don't think the Avengers should become killers. You may be the only guy that can make sure they don't.
    Cap: They weren't killing a man, and they were killing a killer. But I'm more worried that they might come to see this as a solution. Super-villains outnumber super-heroes by at least a 3 / 1 ratio, Carol. But guys like the Punisher never seem to have trouble with repeat offenders.
    Carol: Guys like the Punisher end up hunted down as murderers. I don't want that to happen to the Avengers.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: Carol decides she can't trust the Avengers because they allowed Marcus take her away. Later she quits the X-Men when they let Rogue join. She becomes so jaded that she decides to leave Earth for a while.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Carol gains cosmic powers when she becomes Binary.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Due to the level of trauma suffered coupled with a gradual power loss, Carol becomes angrier, more mean-spirited and more unpleasant until a talk with her mother makes her realize that she is just making things worse for herself.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After being called out by her mother on excusing her jerkass behaviour on her past trauma, Carol stops pushing everybody away and apologizes to her friends for her rudeness.
  • Touched by Vorlons: Carol first gained powers due to Kree villain Yon-Rogg's Psyche-Magnitron device somehow passing on genetic information from Captain Marvel's body to hers.
  • Translation Convention: Alien speech is always rendered in English, even when aliens from different races are speaking with each other.
  • True Companions: The Avengers. Regardless past lapses in judgement, scoured the galaxy to find the missing Carol.
  • Tyke-Bomb: Kree gladiator Iva Kann was raised by Ronan to be a soldier.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: When a joint force of heroes storms Ronan’s hideout, looking for Carol, the Supreme Intelligence is given two options: surrender... or else. It opts for teleporting away.
    "A joint task force of Imperial Guardsmen, Avengers, X-Men, and Starjammers is present," announced Gladiator. "But that is hardly all. A war armada of the Shi’ar is in place around this planet. The weaponry of any one ship is accurate enough to target every Kree in this hall, and leave our people unharmed. Your choice. Surrender, or death."
    Almost all the eyes of the Legion turned to the Supremor. Except those of Ronan the Accuser, which were focused on Warbird with undisguised malice.
    The manifestation of the Supreme Intelligence paused only a moment before saying, "There will be other battles."
    Then he faded from sight.
  • Villain Teleportation: The Supreme Intelligence teleports away when he is surrounded by the Earth’s heroes.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Back when she was a CIA spy, Carol felt the urge to vomit after killing an enemy spy, but she waited until she was in private to carry out the act.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: Carol falls unconscious after fighting gladiator Iva Kann in a Kree arena. She comes around in the infirmary of a Shi'ar starship, surrounded by her friends. She's quickly informed they are bound for Earth.
    When Carol Danvers awoke, she felt the presence of a large restraining collar about her neck. She felt the pressure of a mattress of sorts against her back, and, opening her eyes, saw her surroundings as that of a Shi’ar sickbay. Gladiator was holding her hand. Sitting about her bed were Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Captain America, Iron Man, Corsair, Hepzibah, and the Scarlet Witch. There were others in the room, as well.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Carol calls the Avengers out on letting Marcus walk away with her.
    And she told the Avengers what had really happened to her, leaving out only the elder Immortus's part in bringing her back to Earth.
    About that incident, she was having less and less problems connecting it to what she felt.
    "I never wanted to see you—any of you—again," said Carol. "I hated you. Because when I needed you most, you betrayed me."
    She told them of what she had felt when they made their jokes. She told them of what she had felt, or hadn't felt, when they didn't question a thing that Marcus had told them, just letting her go with a smile and a wave.
    "That was your mistake," she said. "For which I paid the price. My mistake was trusting you."
  • You Have Failed Me: Ronan the Accuser isn't pleased when Iva Kann fails to capture Carol Danvers. However he gives her a second chance to complete her mission, making clear there will be not a third.
    Ronan: You have failed, and failed badly, Iva Kann[...]You will have one chance to redeem yourself, Iva Kann.[...]Should you fail, Agent Kann, and should she choose not to destroy you, I will see to your execution myself. Personally. Is this understood?
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Invoked when Warbird warns Iva Kann sooner or later her superiors will find a better soldier and get rid of her.
    Carol: The Kree are very functionalistic. You're only good to them until they can get somebody better. Once they do, or they think they do, they'll see you as nothing but meat for the grinder. And somebody else will be using you as a hamburger.
  • Zero-G Spot: Carol and Gladiator have sex on a Shi'ar starship.