Ms. Marvel: a tale of two boyfriendsPosted: 08/12/2012
Kind of. It’s complicated. But in Mighty Avengers #6, this happened:
And thus began their relationship.
Ms. Marvel’s history (real name Carol Danvers) I covered in a previous article, but I’ve never before brought up Wonder Man (real name Simon Williams). I know he’s not terribly well-known or popular, but he’s been around since 1964 and was created by Stan Lee himself. So that has some cred, right?
Nazi supervillain Baron Zemo experimented on Wonder Man, originally a rich businessman, infusing him with a bunch of ionic energy treatments. I don’t know what that is either. But now he has super strength equal to Thor, can fly and has glowing red eyes. Good deal. Most importantly, he likes Ms. Marvel in that emotionally gushy way.
Today we’re taking a look at some select scenes from Ms. Marvel #6-27, volume 2, written by Brian Reed and drawn mainly by Roberto De La Torre and Aaron Lopresti. Now, the two superheroes are dating. Still, when Ms. Marvel crashes into a local restaurant after a fight with her clone (y’know, comics), she takes the responsible action and goes to meet with the incredibly good-looking owner, William Wagner.
Don’t forget that last line. Because when you have to sum up the two relationships, Ms. Marvel’s dating Wonder Man but Carol’s dating William.
Y’see, Ms. Marvel, currently a high-level SHIELD operative and leader of the Mighty Avengers, commands an immense amount of power and responsibility, but every failure (and she’s not very good her job) weighs down on her mentally and emotionally. Whereas out of her superhero garb, she’s just another attractive blonde walking down the street where the pressure remains far more manageable. Essentially, as Ms. Marvel/Carol decides which of the men she wants to pursue, it’s also a reflection on her two different lifestyles. Also, no one can fault her for wanting to date two good-looking fellas.
Well, shall we see how their date goes? Spoiler alert: delightfully.
Unfortunately, because superheroes also have super-timing, their inevitable fling gets interrupted by Ms. Marvel’s teenage sidekick/trainee (and eventual Spider-girl).
Y’know the whole great responsibility comes great power spiel. Poor Carol’s libido has to be put aside so they can do the whole save-the-city stuff. And best of all, dear civilian William totally understands as he goes back home and takes a very cold shower.
Oh, but where there’s punching, there’s Wonder Man, as he’s the other side of that superhero coin.
Ms. Marvel’s secret date is safe from the helpful eyes of Simon. And if you’re hoping for a big reveal and Wonder Man crashing into William’s apartment, it’s not going to happen. They never find out about each other, because that’s not what this story is about. It’s Ms. Marvel and her preferred lifestyle vs. her super-powered duties. And trust me, Carol and William are progressing quite well.
Chemistry! The only showers taken that night were warm and steamy. But this can’t last. Tragedy and conspiracy define a superhero, and in this case, it’s the latter. After all, happiness is fleeting in the lives of crime fighters. Makes stories boring if it’s all giggles and puppies.
Tough love, I guess? Immediately after this secret meeting, the supervillain MODOK brainwashes Wonder Man, which forces Ms. Marvel to take drastic measures.
And the aftermath, where a public smooch will force her to make her romantic choice:
Can you feel that sharp pain of rejection? The worst part? He’s on her superhero team, so once he pieces his shattered heart back together, they have to remain friends. I mean, they were before they dated, but now his love has to be more, I guess, brotherly. Plus, as you know and Carol doesn’t, choosing William over Simon means everyone loses.
We advance to our final act. Ms. Marvel lands smack dab in the middle of Marvel’s Secret Invasion event, where the shapeshifting alien species Skrulls invade Earth. The same Skrulls who have warred with the alien species Kree for decades, making Earth their battleground on more than one occasion.
Well, that sucks. Though my favorite two parts of comics just so happen to be angry superheroes and shocking twists, and luckily, this story has both.
Here’s the thing. William Wagner, the secret Kree spy, never shows up again. Yes, he’s alive somewhere, but neither his name nor his face pops up in this or any other comic series. And unfortunately, I don’t know the reason why. I hope he does one day, because I like the idea of superheroes dating normal civilians. Wolverine recently did it. Iron Man’s dated hundreds. Adds a layer of normality and character development writers can switch to when there’s a lull in the punching. C’mon, you saw how charming Ms. Marvel was when on her date when she wasn’t talking about Skrull battleships or wrestling sewer monsters, right?
For now and probably forever, just assume William Wagner has disappeared, another tragic moment in the fairly tragic life of Carol Danvers. Though, his abduction does lead to one final moment, the culmination of Ms. Marvel and Wonder Man’s failed relationship. Y’know, going full circle and all.
Wonder Man and Ms. Marvel will never date again. But on bed made of tears and regret, Wonder Man gets one night to express his lingering feelings of love. And that counts, sort of?