There are some comic-book characters that, for better or worse, are all about the costume. Take, for example, Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Marvel Comics’ Ms. Marvel, or as she’s been alternately known in the past, Binary, Warbird, and these days, Captain Marvel. The character has always been a favorite of mine, and I’ll admit much of that affection comes from the costume design from Dave Cockrum, as seen here in this illustration by Frank Cho:
Which was why Marvel’s decision to revamp the character as “Captain Marvel,” complete with a new costume and haircut, came as such a shock:
Aesthetics aside, it looks far too much like Alan Moore’s “Miraclewoman” for me, but that’s neither here nor there. However, it is another in a long line of questionable wardrobe choices for Carol Danvers, dating all the way back to the first issue of her solo series back in 1977, in MS. MARVEL #1 (January 1977):
(Ms. Marvel’s Farrah Fawcett-Majors haircut really firmly places her as a product of the 1970s, and for all the series talk of “Women’s Lib,” it always struck me as funny that her uniform included a belly shirt.) Although the story by writer Gerry Conway and artist John Buscema, “This Woman, This Warrior!”, may have been Ms. Marvel’s first appearance, it marked a return for the character’s alter ego, Carol Danvers, who had first appeared as a supporting character nine years earlier in the CAPTAIN MARVEL feature in the pages of MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #13, serving as the security chief at a secret military base where Captain Marvel (that is, the alien hero Mar-Vell — try to keep up, there’s a lot of “Marvels” being thrown around this week).
As this story opens, we meet Ms. Marvel already having begun her superhero career, as she busts a Manhattan bank robbery.
As it turns out, the robbers were only a decoy for the real mastermind behind the robbery, longtime Spidey-Villain the Scorpion:
The debut of Ms. Marvel in New York’s superhero community immediately gets some attention, particularly from NYC’s #1 superhero-hater J. Jonah Jameson, who just happens to be interviewing for an editor for a new women’s magazine he’s starting up:
Up for the job is the aforementioned Carol Danvers, who immediately looks to be much better at negotiating with JJJ than Peter Parker ever was.
Speaking of Jameson, we soon discover why Scorpion’s been robbing banks: to buy a top-of-the-line deathtrap facility so he can kill Jameson, the man who originally turned him into the Scorpion. Seems pricey, but admittedly, it is a seller’s market.
Meanwhile, Carol Danvers gets to know some of her new associates from the Bugle, like Mary Jane Watson, whom she invites over for coffee before nearly passing out from a migraine:
Jameson gets his own migraine, in the form of a tail-whumping from the Scorpion, who promptly kidnaps him.
Ms. Marvel arrives at the Bugle after word of Jameson’s kidnapping, where her mysterious sixth sense provides her with a psychic clue to JJJ’s whereabouts. How convenient.
The divine Ms. M heads over to Scorpion’s deathtrap hideaway, where she has a sudden revelation: she doesn’t know who she is:
In the midst of her brawl with Scorpy, her revelations continue, as she realizes that her uniform and powers are somehow related to the alien race known as the Kree.
The battle ends when Scorpion is thrown into the vat of acid intended for JJJ:
While Ms. Marvel decides on a name for herself while rescuing the none-too-grateful Jonah:
Back in her new office, Carol Danvers ruminates, still having no idea about her other life:
Not a bad first issue, eh? Though it admittedly raises more questions than it answers. Come on back next week where we get a real look at Ms. Marvel’s origin, and an overview of her first solo series, which was considerably more…uneven, shall we say…