Ms. Marvel’s magical catfightPosted: 06/06/2013
[Ed. Note: This will be the last article for two weeks while I go on my first vacation since this blog started. I love you all and thanks for the unrelenting support! See you soon!]
Ms. Marvel is totally Marvel’s equivalent of DC’s Power Girl. Both possess similar powers, blond hair, senses of humor, frustratingly B-list status, and to be fair to my more pervy readers — an above average bosom size. At least Ms. Marvel (real name Carol Danvers) doesn’t have that dreaded boob window, and in the past year or so since she received her promotion to Captain Marvel, she’s actually covering up a lot more than the costume we’ll see today.
In 2006, Ms. Marvel received a solo series. And it’s very good. Go read it. The first arc deals with a simple idea: Ms. Marvel’s an Avenger, SHIELD agent, space adventurer, and has an arsenal of superpowers that rivals Thor. So why does she sink into the depths of the unknown? She should be up there with Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the other superheroes who get their own movies. Well, one step at a time. In Ms. Marvel #3-5, written by Brian Reed and drawn by Roberto De La Torre, Carol hires a publicist.
Unfortunately, before the television show airs, she intercepts an alien over Georgia. The fight lasts about two issues, all of which I’m skipping. But here’s the gist of it:
Cool, right? If you want to see our superheroine battle some sort of squid Mewtwo, pick up the first three issues of her series. Anyway, battered, bruised, and very tired, Ms. Marvel heads back to her apartment for some much needed recovery time. After all, saving the world takes a lot out of you (I would assume).
Of course superheroes would be treated as celebrities. They wear bright clothing, appear nonstop on television, and occasionally prevent the destruction of all humanity. Sadly, the “new” Ms. Marvel gets interrupted Harry Potter-style.
Understand that while some superheroes get their powers from magic (Captain Britain, Magik, Brother Voodoo, Scarlet Witch, etc.), Ms. Marvel’s power are rooted very heavily in science. Like DNA overwritten with a Kree wishing machine science. Still, magic can still be beaten with a good ol’ fashioned fistfight. Some of the time.
Notice anything odd in the dialogue? The whole Ms. Marvel using a cat as a weapon against a crazy powerful wizard? That totally happened. Let’s take a flashback to Giant-Size Ms. Marvel #1, written by Reed and drawn by De La Torre, to Ms. Marvel and Sir Warren Traveler’s first fight:
Reed’s writing sets up that Sir Warren Traveler has a long established history of battling Ms. Marvel, but that’s not true. He’s only appeared in that issue and the two I’m showing you now. The familiarity between the two comes from the Marvel event House of M fiasco that I’m a bit hazy on myself. But like all great writers, Reed knows a solo series has to establish the character’s own support team and rogue gallery. Plus, Ms. Marvel’s arch-nemesis Mystique totally cheats on her with, like, every superhero in the Marvel world.
Back to our story, she takes the unconscious sorcerer to Dr. Strange, who’s rocking facial hair that perfectly matches the flamboyancy of his outfit.
I agree, magic’s way more complicated than I thought too. Because comics work on a slippery spe of horrible events, everything goes badly as soon as Ms. Marvel shuts Dr. Strange’s door. Also, this magic goes far beyond pulling rabbits out of top hats.
You enjoy alternative dimensions? You should, at least for the next four or five pages. Since Sir Warren Traveler’s magic plays the dimensional angle, our poor protagonist gets sucked into any number of weird possible realities. Like a post-apocalyptic one where alien insects ate everyone.
Skimpy costumes aside, I think non-comic book readers underestimate the amount of positive female role models in comics. If we ignore superpowers and just talk about superheroines who are independent, strong-minded, and possess a strong moral compass, we’d have dozens to pick from. Marvel’s Storm, Kitty Pryde, Invisible Woman, Black Widow, etc. DC’s Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Black Canary, Supergirl, etc. Though Supergirl did once date her horse. Back to our story, Sir Warren Traveler continues his mind games, which Ms. Marvel tends to respond to with violence.
If Wednesday’s magic fight didn’t satiate your cravings, the big finale coming up certainly should. Dr. Strange and Ms. Marvel versus Sir Warren Traveler. It’s colorful, intense, and surprisingly intimate.
No matter how little PR she receives, Ms. Marvel at least has the respect of her peers. Who needs crowds of adoring fans when you have the love of fellow superheroes? I mean, besides Johnny Storm.