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Carol Danvers, AKA Ms. Marvel, has recently embarked on a quest to become a better superhero. However, with the outbreak of "Civil War" in the Marvel Universe, it's becoming downright dangerous to define the role of a superhero in society. Like all heroes in the Marvel Universe, Carol has chosen what side she's on of the registration debate, with "Ms. Marvel" #6 beginning a new storyline that examines the impact Marvel's epic story will have on the titular heroine. CBR News spoke with writer Brian Reed about the book.
Readers that have been following "Civil War," and its tie-ins, have seen that Ms. Marvel has chosen to side with Tony Stark's pro-registration stance. Some of these readers might be picking up their first issue of "Ms. Marvel" with issue #6 and Reed has tried to turn the issue into a perfect jumping on point for them. "I tried very hard to make sure if you we're just coming to us via "Civil War" that you didn't need to be reading everything that I had done before but if you had been reading everything that I had done, you we're getting a little more out of the story then everybody else," Reed told CBR News. "If you've been reading 'New Avengers,' if you've even glanced at Ms. Marvel you know everything you need to know."
Those reading "New Avengers" got a little shock when Ms. Marvel was able to absorb some of the vast energy of the being known as the Collective. Carol's powers had previously been limited to flight, super strength, the ability to fire off energy bursts, and the ability to absorb some energy. Reed does plan on delving into the nature of her absorption powers in upcoming issues. "'The Collective' was a big surprise," Reed said. "It was a, 'this is something she's never done before' type of thing. She's got her absorption working where she can kind of suck up different forms of energy that radiate around her. There is some question as to how well she can absorb magic. It usually kills her but mysteriously Traveler [Sir Warren Traveler the sorcerer who attacked Carol in 'Ms. Marvel' #4-5] didn't seem to affect her that much. That's really it with her powers at the moment. She's had this really changing set of powers over the years. It's like every writer that gets her gives her something new. I just kind of locked her down for awhile and said this is her set."
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Some readers may be wondering why Ms. Marvel has chosen to employ her set of powers for the pro-registration cause lead by Iron Man and Reed has your answers. "I'm totally on Captain American's side but it was handed down from above this is the direction she's going to go and if you want to do a 'Civil War' tie-in issue this is what we want her to do," Reed explained. "It took me a really long time to get a handle on it. I was like, 'Why would she do this?' because once upon a time in the 'Avengers' back before she had revealed her secret identity the government wanted her to do it then and she fought against it. It was this whole big thing. What finally hit me was this phrase that I heard a lot after September 11th, which was, 'The world is a different place today than it was yesterday.' But no, it's not really. You just perceive it differently than you used to. I realized that if you give Carol the attitude that today's different than it was yesterday, that puts you in her mind set. Just like any of us after September 11th she's been really hurt. Her safety and her world have just drastically changed on her. The opinion she had six months, 8 months, two years ago isn't a valid opinion to her anymore."
Ms. Marvel isn't angry at the heroes who don't share her opinion on registration. "She's really seeing it as 'Why aren't you doing the right thing?' more than 'Why are you being evil?' She's seeing it as 'Why aren't you doing what the rest of us are doing? Why aren't you doing what's right?'" Reed explained. "In fact one of her lines in the 'Civil War' tie-in issue is, "You've got to do what's right and what's best some times."
"Civil War" began when the New Warriors did something that many people felt wasn't right and hundreds of people were vaporized in an explosion. Months before the Stamford disaster in "Civil War," Ms. Marvel was involved in an explosion that destroyed McCord Amy Base and the nearby town of Spaulding, Georgia, but Reed points out Carol's actions were very different than those of the Warriors. "The big difference between Georgia and Stamford was that Ms. Marvel stopped what happened in Georgia from happening to the entire world," Reed said. "Where as in Stamford it was Speedball going, 'Hey there's some bad guys! Let's go beat them up! We'll get some kick ass ratings!" If Ms. Marvel had not been in Georgia we'd all be dead."
Carol's actions in "Ms. Marvel #6, " which begins the "Civil War" storyline, are motivated out of a desire to keep heroes on both sides of the registration issue from winding up dead. "There's going to be quite the guest star train pulling in," Reed said. "We've got Wonder Man and Julia Carpenter, who was Spider-Woman II, but is going back to her other call sign Arachne, so there's no confusion with everyone calling themselves Spider-Woman," Reed stated. "When the story starts, they're working with Tony Stark to round up any heroes that haven't signed. Then the intention is in the coming days is Carol Danvers will switch over and start the pilot program for training heroes."
The heroes being trained by the pilot program are the ones that took Ms. Marvel up on the last chance that she offered them. "Basically, Ms. Marvel and a bunch of SHIELD agents drop out of the sky and say, 'All right last chance to sign,'" Reed explained. "If the hero says no they get the crap beaten out of them. That's about how friendly that last chance is.
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"Before they can start they've got to track down Arana," Reed continued. "All they know about her is she's a girl with powers that's been seen out in Brooklyn a lot. But as their tracking her down and trying to get her into the training program [SPOILER WARNING! Swipe the text to reveal]. "Julia Carpenter betrays everyone and is actually working for the anti-registration side."
Once the "Civil War" tie-in is over, some of the guest stars will be sticking around as Reed fills out the supporting cast of "Ms. Marvel." "'Civil War' kind of came out of nowhere and changed some plans, which as I was explaining to somebody the other day what I love about 'Civil War' but some of the groundwork I was going to be laying down isn't there," Reed stated. "But that's how it is for Carol's life too. She's like, 'I had plans for next Wednesday and they did not necessarily involve tracking down my fellow heroes.' There is going to be a lot more people coming in. Wonder Man is going to be a constant reoccurring character and Arana will be there as well. As soon as Civil War is over I'll start introducing more secondary characters again."
Wonder Man may be a secondary/supporting character in "Ms. Marvel," but in the months ahead he will definitely become pretty important to Carol Danvers. "There is definitely going to be some romance in her future," Reed said. "There was all that stuff in 'House of M' where she and Wonder Man we're actually a couple. So there's going to be some playing of the field and Wonder Man is definitely going to be one of those players."
How will the Marvel Universe react to a romance between Ms. Marvel and Wonder Man? If Sarah Day, Carol Danvers' publicist, has her way they'll be ecstatic. When, Carol first began her quest to become a better hero she recruited Day. Since then, Day's methods of promoting her client have often seemed severe and intrusive, leading some readers to wonder if Sarah Day is just super dedicated to her clients? Or is there something more sinister going on with her? Reed promised to explore the mystery surrounding the character in future issues of "Ms. Marvel"
Future issues of "Ms. Marvel" will also deal with the ramifications of Carol's choices during 'Civil War.' "The fun of it I think is that immediately I want her to think everything she's done is okay," Reed explained. "Then it will creep up on her about six or eight issues later and just suddenly it will be like, 'Oh my god! What did I do?' The nice thing is that life has that funny way of distracting you from whatever is going on at the moment. So, as soon as 'Civil War' ends Rogue shows up. Rogue is somebody the fans have been begging to have in the book and we're getting her. Everything after that I would love to tell you about but it all reveals things about 'Civil War.'"
Reed was able to reveal that at some point, since her origin is tied to the alien Kree, that he would like to involve Ms. Marvel in the aftermath of the cosmic mega story "Annihilation" but it's not part of his immediate plans for the book. "It's a thing that Andy Schmidt ['Ms. Marvel' and 'Annihilation' editor] and I have talked about," Reed said. "But when we get to it it's probably going to be the end of next year at the earliest."
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Regardless of whether he's writing stories involving big events like "Civil War" or "Annihilation" or writing smaller stories, Reed wants each and every issue of "Ms. Marvel to be packed with fun and excitement. "I want it to be this big, fun, energetic superhero romp," Reed stated. "It's almost the book 'Nextwave' is making fun of. It's just this idea of 'They've got super powers. Hey there's a super villain. Here's your big fight. Hey there's an amazing thing! Okay next issue.' Genndy Tartakovsky, a lot of what he talked about with his show 'Samurai Jack' was that he wanted just pure energy on the screen. That's exactly what I've been wanting in this book. When we stop to talk it's because we have to catch our breath. Otherwise all hell is breaking loose, things are blowing up and everything is going crazy because we're in the Marvel Universe and there are superheroes everywhere."
Reed recommends 'Ms. Marvel" to all readers, not just fans of superheroes. "I write with the attitude that both my ten year old son and my wife need to enjoy it," he explained. "He's the total comic book geek but I don't necessarily want him reading 'Powers' and she barely reads anything. I figure if I can appeal to those two, I can appeal to anybody in the audience. It was cool because the first issue hit stands and two of the first letters we got, one was from somebody who, 'Ms. Marvel' was one of the first books he ever bought when he was five years old back in 1977. The other letter was from a seventeen year old girl, who this was the first comic she ever bought. Both of them loved it."