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Ms. Marvel

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Warbird, here, has had a few names during her heroic career, but her original is best-known and speaks most directly to what her character is: Ms. Marvel.

Carol Danvers has been many things: Air Force pilot, magazine editor...even an alcoholic. But with powers derived from the alien Kree and a fighting spirit that refuses to quit, Carol defies her own weaknesses and battles for justice as a mighty Avenger!

Carol Danvers holds a pretty important place in Marvel comics. She served as a bridge between the Avengers and the X-Men for years, and became sort of Chris Claremont's pet project, because he loves his ballsy women. In the pages of Ms. Marvel, the writer introduced several characters that would later rise to prominence, including Deathbird and Mystique (the latter leading directly to the introduction of Rogue). He was originally planning a storyline in which the villain Mastermind would begin tampering with Carol's mind, turning her toward the side of evil - but when the series ended, he took that story idea with him over to X-Men as the Dark Phoenix Saga.

While originally a female copy of the then-popular Captain Marvel, she was also a good old-fashioned '70s-style feminist - thus the "Ms." instead of a "Miss" or "Girl." Carol had been an Air Force pilot, a CIA agent and a NASA scientist even before gaining super powers, and eventually became an accomplished author and magazine editor. The lady got around, and not in the way that Huntress does, either. She's had a lot of crap happen to her over the years, but shows a willingness to keep fighting.

All the Marvel Legends women look unique, which is nice - it wouldn't make sense for them all to be the same person with different hair - and Ms. Marvel is probably the cutest yet. If all the ML women walk into a bar, Carol's going to be the first one somebody buys a drink. That, coupled with her fairly middle-of-the-road hairstyle and the fact that her mask is just painted on, will probably make her a popular choice for customizers.

Ms. Marvel (or Warbird, if you insist) is based on the ML4 Elektra body, but with the later, Phoenix-style hips. Really, I still wish ToyBiz would go back to the Invisible Woman/Black Widow hips - they are the best joints ever seen on a female figure, and should be used much more than they are. In any case, this is probably the first figure - including Elektra - that doesn't look like its head is sitting on top of the neck rather being attached to it. It's probably a combination of the dark costume and the fact that Carol's hair falls around her shoulders, but finally it looks right.

The figure moves at the head, shoulders (balljoints and lateral pull-outs), biceps, elbows, forearms, wrists, fingers, torso, waist, hips, thighs, knees, shins, ankles and toes. Her costume is just painted on, but the black they used is really deep and rich, so it looks great. The yellow lightning bolt on her trunk is crisp and contrasts well, and her bright red sash is a new sculpt and a separate piece. This costume is easily the best she's worn, but that's not a difficult choice.

Ms. Marvel only accessory is a piece of this series' Build-A-Figure, Giant-Man. She's strong, invulnerable and absorbs energy attacks - what else were they going to give her? She's got his crotch, and the joints are incredibly hard to move. Let's all hope this isn't another case like the ML12 Apocalypse, which had serious problems with breakage: after all, it was easy to go get a replacement Bishop; Warbird, of course (being a girl and all), is insanely hard to find.

The reprint comic included with the figure is Avengers Annual #10, which is a decent choice, but still odd. It's the first appearance of Rogue, who had just permanently absorbed Carol's memories and powers (off-panel) and chucked her off the Golden Gate Bridge, so Carol spends most of the issue catatonic. However, this is Claremont at his best, when he could introduce and completely recap a character's entire history in mere panels, so you'll very quickly know who she is. The issue has really been cut down in length - about half the story has been axed - but we still get to see Carol throwing a verbal bitch-slap at Earth's Mightiest Heroes as she leaves the team for the X-Men.

During the House of M crossover, Carol found herself as the world's most popular superhero, using the name Captain Marvel - no need for a "Ms." That glimpse has convinced her to get her butt in gear and hopefully reclaim some of that glory, so maybe we'll soon see her taking the place of prominence she deserves.

-- 06/30/06

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