Meta-Messages - Chris Claremont Sticks Up for Ms. Marvel

In this feature I explore the context behind (using reader danjack's term) "meta-messages." A meta-message is where a comic book creator comments on/references the work of another comic book/comic book creator (or sometimes even themselves) in their comic. Each time around, I'll give you the context behind one such "meta-message." Here is an archive of the past installments!

Today we take a look at Chris Claremont's resolution of the still-bizarre Ms. Marvel storyline from Avengers #200, where we see Claremont tear that story apart.

Chris Claremont was the last writer on Ms. Marvel's original ongoing series that ended in 1979. Around the time her ongoing ended, Ms. Marvel was added as a member of the Avengers.


In 1980's Avengers #197, writer David Michelinie revealed that Carol Danvers was pregnant...

In #199, the rest of the Avengers find out and even though her pregnancy is pretty clearly unnatural (as she has matured four months just since Wanda learned of her pregnancy), the Avengers are pretty thrilled for her...

The next issue (which was co-written by Jim Shooter after Michelinie's original plans for the baby were changed), she gives birth. The Wasp is shocked to find that Ms. Marvel is not happy about her body being used by some unnatural event...

She, of course, realizes it is foolish of any woman to not embrace motherhood, no matter the circumstances, so Ms. Marvel apologizes and goes to meet her baby only for things to get REALLY messed up...


Time disturbances are appearing all over the world. Hawkeye, naturally, blames this guy and his machine so he destroys the machine. It turns out that the machine was the key to FIXING the disturbances.

The guy, Marcus, then reveals how he came to be born on this Earth...

Okay, so, first of all, that is just ALL kinds of messed up. Even if you think that the whole thing is quite romantic, the dude was still born from his girlfriend. That's twisted. But that's only if you think that the whole thing is quite romantic. Which you shouldn't, because the dude SPECIFICALLY SAYS THAT HE USED HIS FATHER's MIND-ALTERING MACHINES TO HELP MAKE HER FALL IN LOVE WITH HIM!!


He says it! Right there! In front of everyone! He even makes a point of saying, "I could have used the machines to make her love me, but I didn't. Okay, maybe I used them a LITTLE bit, but can you blame a guy? She wouldn't have had sex with me otherwise!"

And yet...

And after Ms. Marvel and Marcus are gone, Iron Man and Hawkeye think about it...

Seriously, guys? You sent one of your teammates off with a dude who specifically told you he used machines to make her fall in love with him and you're cool with that? I mean, at least they do seem SLIGHTLY conflicted about it all, but not nearly enough.

Well, one fan who had a problem with that was our pal Carol A. Strickland, and she wrote a great article about her dismay over the issue in the comic magazine LOC #1 later in 1980 (check out the badass Wonder Woman by Frank Miller and Terry Austin on the cover...)

As you can see from the cover, she refers to it as the "Rape of Ms. Marvel." Carol has the whole article up at her website here, if you're interested in reading it.

One person who definitely agreed with Strickland was Chris Claremont, who noted about the storyline in the pages of X-Men Companion (while specifically referencing Carol's article):

Avengers #199, where Carol Danvers is introduced to the Avengers, and they're told that in two days she has become eight months pregnant by an unknown father, or by force of persons unknown, and the reaction of the entire crowd, men and women both, is to the effect of: "Can I babysit?" "Can we knit booties?" "Can I make cookies for the baby?" "Oh you must be so happy?" and my reaction was, "What an insensitive crowd of boors." Actually, my reaction was a lot stronger than that. But how callous! How cruel! How unfeeling! Considering that these people must have seen Ms. Marvel only a couple of days before, or even a couple of months before. She wasn't pregnant then. How could she be eight months pregnant now? Now, if that had been the point David [Michelinie] was trying to make, that these other Avengers are callous boors, okay then, I may disagree with the point, but if he followed through on it, it would have made sense. But it seemed to me, looking at the story, looking at the following story, that he was going for: "This is how you respond to a pregnancy."

So in 1981, Claremont wrote Avengers Annual #10, with stunning artwork by Michael Golden and Armando Gil. In the issue, Carol returns to Earth, only to have her powers stolen by a new evil mutant by the name of Rogue (whatever happened to her?).

Carol ends up being saved by Jessica "Spider-Woman" Drew (whose title was ALSO written by Claremont) and Carol then goes to stay with the X-Men. After the Avengers battle Rogue and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, they go to meet up with Carol and she (and obviously Claremont, using Carol as his mouthpiece) gives the Avengers a piece of her mind...

Strong stuff by Claremont. It's very much a "drop the mic" moment for Carol (and Claremont).

That's it for this time around! If you have a suggestion for a future Meta-Message, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com

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