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Sometimes the Clothes Make the Woman, Part IV

Previously, in Comics 101: Last time, we continued our look at Marvel’s premier superheroine Ms. Marvel, covering her inaugural stint as a member of the Avengers. However, Carol Danvers’ stint as one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was about to come to a rather ignominious end:

Let’s set the Wayback Machine for November 1980, in the concluding pages of AVENGERS #199, written by David Michelinie and drawn by George Perez. After defeating the colossal robotic menace known as Red Ronin, the Avengers (along with then-inactive member Hawkeye) return to Avengers Mansion, only to be met by a mysterious surprise: a pregnant stranger named Carol Danvers.

Only she’s no stranger after all, as the Scarlet Witch explains. It’s their fellow Avenger Ms. Marvel (who’d not to this point revealed her secret identity to the rest of the team), who has turned up on their doorstep seven months pregnant, practically overnight. Now, you’d think if one of your teammates shows up pregnant with no explanation and against all laws of biology or physics, they’d be a little suspicious, or at least concerned, right? Nope. They think it’s cute.

Right then should be your first clue that this whole story is going to go off the rails. And trust me, it only gets worse. By the way, Ms. Marvel also insists that there was no father, which seems to me like it should alarm the Avengers more than it does.

The story picks up next month, in AVENGERS #200, which has a much better cover than the pages within deserve:

By the way, this horrible story is credited to no less than four writers, none of whom wants to take credit for it nowadays. Naturally, the story opens with the Avengers pacing like nervous fathers outside a delivery room, because why pass up on a good cliché, right?

Soon enough, Ms. Marvel delivers the baby, and by the way, considering that at one point he doesn’t know “contractions” from “constrictions,” Dr. Don Blake (a.k.a. the alter ego of member Thor), isn’t exactly instilling a lot of confidence in his medical expertise.

The Avengers still don’t seem too concerned about Ms. Marvel’s mysterious virgin birth, instead choosing to spend their time making googly eyes at the baby.

Just to make it clear that the Avengers are a bunch of clueless clods, Wasp runs off to congratulate Ms. Marvel, who still has no idea what the hell happened to her body and who used it against her will.

Things get weirder and weirder, as the child continues to grow at an astonishing accelerated rate:

So this freaky little monster (now calling himself “Marcus”) starts talking and requesting scientific equipment and lab space, and, geniuses that they are, the Avengers give him whatever he wants. Only Hawkeye still seems to retain an ounce of common sense and objects, though no one listens to him. Soon, Ms. Marvel is up and around and goes to meet her son, who’s now grown to near adulthood:

First off, can no one get this kid a shirt?

And secondly, let’s zoom in on something:



That’s her son, right? Eeugh.

Eventually, Marcus makes his move, trying to activate the machine he’s been building, and when Ms. Marvel tries to stop him, he knocks her out with some sort of “magic facetouch.”

Good thing Hawkeye shows up while Marcus is leering over his unconscious mom, and blows his machine all to hell/ The Avengers show up and demand answers, and Marcus fesses up that he’s the son of their longtime enemy Immortus. So get this: Immortus gets lonely, plucks a doomed woman out of history and into the interdimensional world of Limbo, uses his mind-control machines to make the woman fall in love with him, and bears him a child: this Marcus character. When Immortus later disappears and Marcus is left in Limbo alone, he decides the only way to get to Earth is to be reborn there. And since the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, he does just what his daddy did: kidnap himself a bride: namely, Ms. Marvel.

Once he has her there, he uses the same mind-control machines that his father built to make Ms. Marvel fall in love with him, knocks her up with his “essence,” (whatever that means), and sends her back to Earth. And it’s not just implied, by the way — they’re very clear about it being mind control:

So let’s recap, shall we? Carol Danvers was kidnapped, held prisoner, raped, and forced to give birth to a child, all against her will. Naturally, it seems to me that the next logical step should be Wonder Man and Iron Man holding this guy down while Thor pounds him into a fine mist with his hammer. Or even better, while Carol does it herself. But is that what happened?

Unbelievably, no.

Instead, since Marcus has to return to Limbo lest permanent damage be done to the timestream, Carol announces that she’ll go with him, because her feelings for him from Limbo “still linger.”

Yes, that’s right, because the effects of the mind control that allowed Marcus to rape her are still hanging on, she’s going to go live happily ever after with her rapist in Limbo. And here’s what’s worse. The Avengers are fine with it. Thor even gives them a ride home.

The Avengers do seem to have some doubts afterward, but not nearly enough if you ask me.

How the hell did this travesty of a comic ever get published? Misogynist, out-of-character and just plain creepy, I can’t think of a worse Marvel comic ever released. And the way it absolutely eviscerated the Ms. Marvel character was unconscionable.

And even stranger? At the time, barely anyone noticed.

Luckily, someone did. And his name was Chris Claremont. Come back next week to find out what he did about it.

Scott Tipton hates this comic with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns. Really, it’s not good.

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