Part Four: Avengers Issue 200.
Comic readers amongst you are quite possibly already shuddering. It’s time to discuss the abomination. In the late 1970s the Avengers celebrated their 200th issue. The plot is frankly horrific but it must be discussed. To be brief, Carol is pulled into another dimension by a man who looks suspiciously like a 70s depiction of the devil called Marcus Immortus.
Said man then proceeds to mind control her, break her will, force himself on her, place her back into normal reality and she becomes suddenly pregnant. Everyone around her treats this like it’s absolutely wonderful and proceed to fawn over the born suspiciously fast child. Said child then ages into a fully grown adult who looks identical to the devil man and mind controls her into being in love with him and they run off together.
If any of you are horrified at what I have been forced to describe, you are officially more sane and better human beings than whoever mandated this story’s existence. Thankfully however this is one of the few instances in terrible comics where another writer came onto the scene. A few years later Chris Claremont wrote a story where Carol returned to the Avengers and proceeded to verbally eviscerate them over their attitude during these events and their actions. This situation as well as becoming infamous was often used by future writers as an example of something they would never let happen to Carol or anyone else ever again
Part Five: Much More Recent Events – Captain Carol and Kelly Sue DeConnick
Now I can discuss much more pleasant events. In 2012 Marvel finally decided to do the blindingly obvious and give Carol the title of Captain Marvel after a game of pass the legacy title. This lead to quite the positive fan reaction even if it had taken them about 25 years too long. This is the version of Carol that I first experienced as well as being the one that made me become a true comics fan.
The writers Kelly Sue Deconnick and Warren Ellis alongside artist David Lopez managed to create the iconic version of Carol Danvers to modern readers. This version balances on the tightrope of being truly inspiring regardless of your personal background, being a powerful hero without being too overpowered and successfully including a family life alongside the super heroic lifestyle. Carol’s interactions with her next door neighbour’s daughter Kit in particular really help to humanise her and make her feel real. There’s a reason they included a similar character – named Monica Rambeau after the first successor to Mar-Vell in the 1980s – in the recent film. Kelly et al are also responsible for the creation of Chewie the ‘cat’ – Goose in the film. Kelly, Warren and David are all thanked in the credits rightfully so. A lot of people might think of more recognisable heroes when put on the spot, but when asked to name my favourite hero Carol is top of the list alongside DC’s Green Lantern namely the John Stewart version and Marvel’s Iron Man. That trio worked on the character for three years complete with noticeable character development and changes before leaving the series at the beginning of 2016. That made the fall sting all the more.
Part Six: Civil War II – The Fall Of Carol
In 2016 Marvel were in the process of shooting and releasing the MCU film Captain America: Civil War based on the infamous comic event Civil War. Despite the first Civil War being regarded as one of the premier examples of editors running amok it was decided to have a Civil War event in the comics to tie in to the film.
On one side you had Tony Stark, Iron Man who had been on the wrong side of history in the previous event. He remembered this so when an Inhuman – fancy version of a mutant basically – named Ulysses with the ability to see a version of the future appeared, he was against the idea of using this power to change the future.
Carol on the other hand…Carol had received something of a personality makeover. Between the writers of her then current series Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters and the writer of Civil War II Brian Michael Bendis it appeared as a reader that Carol had taken a few personal losses very hard and started to want to change the future and was convinced the future Ulysses showed was set in stone even when she was outright told by several important figures that such a thing wasn’t possible with precognitive powers. This gets to the point that she arrests a woman who hadn’t done anything because of a Ulysses vision and an empty suitcase and broke several laws ranging from Habeas Corpus, to several key sections of the US Constitution – this matters considering where she is supposed to live.
Her actions also lead to the deaths of Bruce Banner or The Hulk and War Machine among others. Two very long term beloved characters who have been involved in numerous major events including standing alongside Carol against several world ending threats. Her actions in this event are often considered character assassination to the point that some fans think it the worst thing to happen to the character since the 1980s.
These actions among others – and the resultant butchering of Carol, Tony and numerous other characters’s histories and personalities led directly to me boycotting comics for a number of years. Not only that but the writers of the next Captain Marvel series after Civil War II were forced to spend the first story line of their run rebuilding Carol back to who she had been before the events of Civil War II. How? By quite literally having her go to in-universe psychological counselling by mandate of the government since she is commander of Alpha Flight, a planetary defence force.
When you mess up a character so badly they have to be rebuilt you can understand why I’ve personally never quite forgiven the events of Civil War II. On a personal level they are just…maddening. Unfortunately Civil War II also was one of the stepping stones to one of the other most infamous comic book events called Secret Empire. Secret Empire is the event that led to…Nazi Captain America. I take it I don’t need to explain why that is a stupid idea.
More on this tomorrow.
You can read the previous article here: The History, Rise, Fall And Rise Again(?) Of Carol Danvers: Captain Marvel [First Part]