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Sometimes the Clothes Make the Woman, Part VI

Previously, in Comics 101: As we continue our Ms. Marvel coverage, last week we saw the return of Carol Danvers from her exile to limbo, ending with her crashing at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and giving the Avengers a piece of her mind for how spectacularly they let her down. So what was next for her? Read on…

Having redeemed Carol Danvers in AVENGERS ANNUAL #10, writer Chris Claremont took Carol by the hand and ran her over to the pages of his then top-selling book UNCANNY X-MEN, where she was used as a semi-regularly appearing supporting character in Claremont’s ever-growing ensemble cast. At first Danvers was used in ways playing off of her past in espionage (such as in breaking into the Pentagon and stealing the government’s files on the X-Men), a backstory which Claremont immediately began to embellish.

Things went in a new direction for Carol when she was off with the X-Men on one of their occasional adventures in outer space and found herself kidnapped by the sinister alien race known as the Brood, who subjected her to strange scientific experiments that gave her new, even more extraordinary superpowers, granting Carol the ability to channel the power of a star, thanks to something called a “white hole” It’s all the kind of pseudo-science that passes for actual science in the Marvel Universe, but suffice it to say that Carol Danvers was now a cosmic-level badass.

Going by the name “Binary” now, Carol bid farewell to the X-Men and set off further into deep space as a member of the Starjammers.

What’s that? Who are the Starjammers? Okay, real quick: on an earlier space-opera type of adventure, the X-Men had crossed paths with a band of outlaw space pirates called the Starjammers, a motley bunch of aliens led by the human Corsair, who turned to be Cyclops’ long-lost father.

(Personally, I always thought Cyclops took it remarkably well that, while he spent his early life in an orphanage thinking his parents were dead, his dad was running around outer space like Han Solo and shacking up with the hot skunk girl. But I digress…)

Anyway, Carol spent most of the ’80s and ’90s as Binary, occasionally reappearing with the Starjammers in various guest spots and miniseries, before leaving the Starjammers and returning to Earth after losing much of her power as Binary during 1992′ “OPERATION GALACTIC STORM,” in which Earth and the Avengers are caught in the middle of a war between the Kree and the Shi’ar.

The next time we see Carol Danvers in any significant role comes in AVENGERS #1 (Volume 3) in 1998, when everyone who’s ever been an Avenger is called back into action following the core team’s yearlong stint in an alternate universe (don’t ask). We see Carol with everyone else hanging out in the Mansion, and while she’s still taking on her Binary form, she’s already switched back to her previous Ms. Marvel uniform:

Following the united team’s victory against Morgan le Fey, the Avengers revert back to a more manageable 7-person roster, and now back on earth for good, Carol desperately wants a spot on the team, even though her powers as Binary appear to be gone for good:

Although the old costume has returned, Carol elects to go with a new codename, “Warbird,” and also new, it appears, is a new problem, one Wanda detects early on:

Tony Stark, no stranger to alcoholic denial, tries to derail Carol’s membership, but is outvoted, and with that, Carol Danvers returns to the Avengers, where she’s pretty much been ever since:

The beginnings of her second stint as an Avenger were a bit rocky, both because of her resistance to reveal that she’d lost her cosmic powers, and her worsening alcoholism, but after a stint in rehab, Carol took her place over the last decade as one of the preeminent Avengers members, in the pages of books like MIGHTY AVENGERS, NEW AVENGERS and her own solo title MS. MARVEL (the “Warbird” name didn’t last too long):









And in recent years, Carol has gotten yet another makeover with the debut of her new series CAPTAIN MARVEL, giving her a new codename, a new uniform and a new haircut:

This most recent makeover was massively approved by fandom and has catapulted Carol Danvers to a heretofore unseen level of prominence in the Marvel Universe. It’s about time.

Scott Tipton really liked the Carol Danvers appearances on AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES a few years back, by the way. Check ’em out!

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