In 2006's "Ms. Marvel" #1 the title character, AKA Carol Danvers, began her quest to become the premier costumed champion of the Marvel Universe. Now, three years and almost 50 issues later, Carol is still striving to reach her goal, and recently, she's had a few setbacks. In May of this year, her powers malfunctioned and killed her, plus, Norman Osborn had the psychotic villainess Moonstone usurp the Ms. Marvel identity. The new Ms. Marvel then went about dispensing her own brand of bloody and aggressive "justice."

In last summer's "War of the Marvels" story arc, Carol finally got her break. It was revealed that a group of children with reality warping powers, whom Carol had helped in the past, had revived her physical body while splitting her mind in two. The end of the storyline found Ms. Marvel whole both in body and mind and ready to once again attempt to become the best hero in the Marvel U. However, things aren't going to get any easier for her, because she's about to come face to face with her oldest and most dangerous: foe the cunning mutant shapeshifter known as Mystique. CBR News spoke with writer Brian Reed about the series, which comes to a conclusion in February with "Ms. Marvel" #50.

CBR News: Brian, the "War of the Marvels" storyline, which ran in "Ms. Marvel" #42-46, was a pretty dramatic and emotional story for Carol Danvers. It saw her having to both return from the dead and do battle with a villain who had stolen her identity. Now that it's over, how would you describe Carol's emotional state?

Brian Reed: She went as far into the bad place as she could go. She not only died, but she watched the symbol of the man who inspired her [Mar-Vell AKA the Kree superhero, Captain Marvel] be usurped and corrupted. It was a bad couple of weeks for her, and now that it's over, she's still technically an outlaw [Danvers is a member of the underground New Avengers team]. So she's trying to get back everything she lost. Her current goal is very much being the best that she can be, but on top of that she wants to reclaim the honor of her name and undo what Moonstone has done to her image.

Recent events haven't been completely bad for Carol. In "Ms. Marvel" #47, she went on a date with Spider-Man. Now that their first date is over, many readers are wondering, will they have a second one? And just how do Peter Parker and Carol Danvers feel about each other?

It's funny - that issue came out of a line of dialogue in "Ms. Marvel" #34 where Spider-Man asks Ms. Marvel out on a date. I had no plans to write the actual date I just thought the line was funny when I wrote it. Then I was like, "Oh my God! Spider-Man wants to go out with Ms. Marvel!" and it just kind of blossomed into this.

We went back on forth on the last page of issue #47. Should he try to put his arm around her? If he does, should she try to take it off? Or should we just leave them sitting there having this quiet moment? I think Carol has found a friend, but I don't think their relationship will go any further than that. I don't think Carol is interested in him in that way.

"Ms. Marvel" #48 is in stores on December 16, and in that story you will be bringing an old foe back into Carol Danvers life, one that she hasn't faced in many years. Why did you want to renew the rivalry between Ms. Marvel and Mystique?

One of the cool things about the shared elements of the Marvel Universe is that things will often bubble up in one place and then move to another. The Kingpin started off as a Spider-Man bad guy, but if you say Kingpin, your first thoughts are Daredevil and the Punisher. Mystique is the same way. These days everybody thinks of her as an X-Men villain, but she started out as a Ms. Marvel bad guy. So it's really cool to pull her back to her roots as a Ms. Marvel villain. A huge chunk of X-Men continuity came about because Mystique wanted to kill Ms. Marvel. That gave us Rogue and several years of stories stemming from what happened between Rogue and Carol. It's also really cool because, as Carol said to Pete in "Ms. Marvel" #47, Mystique is her Norman Osborn.

Mystique is also very interesting because she's effectively immortal. She's been around forever. So why is she interested in someone like Carol? Why is she interested in any one particular person?

So this story will examine the reasons behind Mystique's animosity towards Ms. Marvel?

Yes, and we're going to see a little more with the Captain Marvel character - but I can't say any more than that.

The solicits for the final three issues seem to suggest that this story is all about the brutal mind games she intends to play with Carol. Is that correct?

You hit it right on the head. That's what Mystique is best at. What we've got here is Carol coming back with the drive and ambition that she's always had, but it's amplified by the recent events of "War of the Marvels." Now she's running headlong into Mystique's craziness.

Is Mystique the sole villain in this final three issue story of "Ms. Marvel," or will we also see her boss, Norman Osborn, and her allies in the Dark X-Men?

Norman exists in this story very much as a background character. He clearly sets events in motion at one point, but he's not necessarily on the page. This story really is all about Carol and Mystique.

For this final story, you're once again collaborating with artist Sana Takeda. What can people expect from her work on this story?

Awesomeness. I would love to work on a series with her full time. She's incredible. She takes everything I give her and gives this energy to it so that it's better than what you imagined when you were first writing it. That's always the best thing you can ask for from an artist.

February's "Ms. Marvel" #50 is the final issue of the series; will we get some resolution to long standing plot lines in this final arc, like the mystery behind Carol's publicist Sarah Day?

We'll try to get to a lot of stuff. I can't discuss too much of that right now, because there's a piece of the plot we haven't revealed yet and it ties into all kinds of other things.

You've been writing "Ms. Marvel" since issue #1. How does it feel now that you're coming to the end of the series? Looking back are there any stories you're especially fond of?

It's been fun, and I thank everybody who's been along for the ride and made it possible. It's always bittersweet, though, to end any project. You invest yourself in it and you get excited, but at the end of the day, this will have been a 50 issue series starring a female lead character, and not a lot of people pull that off. So I'm really proud of that aspect. It sure would have been fun to do a hundred, though.

My favorite stuff was setting up this hero who recognized that she was B-List and playing with that idea when we started. Then it was great to let her have that moment where she goes, "Screw this noise! I'm not B-List! I'm someone! I lead the Avengers!'" The most fun I had with the series, though, was issue #25 when "Secret Invasion" started and Carol stood up and said, "I can't be a superhero today. I have to be a soldier." And that's really where she's stayed the entire series since. It was a nice turning point in what turned out to be the second half of a 50 issue story.

Tags: marvel comics, ms marvel, mystique, sana takeda, brian reed

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