Brian Reed: The 'Dark' Future of Ms. Marvel
Reed: The Future of Ms. Marvel
Carol Danvers announced months ago, to readers' surprise, that she was going to kill Norman Osborn.
But it looks like someone will kill her first.
In a previously unexplained bit of non-sequential storytelling, Ms. Marvel writer Brian Reed shocked readers by showing a scene from the future in issue #31 where Carol visits her dying father and declares her intent to murder Osborn, long before anyone knew why.
Since then, the Ms. Marvel comic has been building a case against Osborn that stems from Carol's military years, exploring the mystery of a secret yet powerful terrorist project linked to both the CIA and Osborn. And with this week's Dark Avengers #1, the conflict between Carol Danvers and Osborn escalated as he placed Carol under arrest just before she escaped out a window, then let Moonstone wear the title of Ms. Marvel.
Now the shocking revelation that Carol wants to kill Norman makes sense. But Reed isn't done with the shockers, as readers of this interview will see. Newsarama talked to Reed about Carol's future -- or as we found out, her lack of one -- as she resigns from the Avengers and pursues her vendetta against Osborn. It's all coming to a fatal end for Carol soon, Reed said, and by issue #38, Moonstone will not only wear the title of Ms. Marvel in Dark Avengers, but in the Ms. Marvel title too.
Newsarama: Let's just get something done right up front, Brian, because the question will be inevitable. During Civil War, Ms. Marvel followed the letter of the law even when it didn't particularly make her feel comfortable to do so. Why isn't she following the letter of the law and following Norman Osborn the way she followed Tony Stark?
Brian Reed: Well, Tony was very much the law and was doing the will of the people. And when Norman comes along... yes, Norman is doing the same thing, but Norman has a very different history. Tony, for a very long time, saved the world. Norman threw teenaged girls off bridges.
NRAMA: A bit of a difference. And as readers of your series have been seeing, there's more to her hatred of Norman Osborn than just recent events. How does what happened in Dark Avengers fit together now with what we've been reading in Ms. Marvel?
BR: The Avengers have finally caught up to my book, as far as the timeline goes. In Ms. Marvel #31, Carol Danvers went home because her dad was dying. That happened post-Secret Invasion and post-Dark Avengers #1.
NRAMA: Aaah... that explains the declaration about Norman Osborn at the end.
BR: Yeah. Thats why she said she was going to kill Norman Osborn. And a big part of us doing that was so that people would say, "Wait. What?"
NRAMA: So Ms. Marvel #31, which came out a few months ago, takes place after Dark Avengers, and we've had a few flashback issues since then that explored military missions from Carol's past. Are we finding out now that all these things tied together?
BR: Yes. This is all part of a huge plan that is coming together for the reader now. Everything in Ms. Marvel from Issue #1 was leading up to Secret Invasion. It was all about her big awakening as the "hero that I can be." But post-Secret Invasion, since issue #31, it's been all about who Carol Danvers was before she was Ms. Marvel. Everyone knows the story about Rogue stealing her powers, but her past has never really been explored. And this was our time between the end of Secret Invasion and the start of Dark Reign that I had this chance to go back and explore that.
Nobody had ever deeply explored Carol's spy days, and it's a really cool element of her character that no other superhero has. We've got Nick Fury and Black Widow, but they're not out there doing superhero things -- they're spies. So this was a chance to go in and do something about how she's actually a superhero/spy. And as we see over the next issue or so that winds up tying into all the Norman Osborn stuff.
NRAMA: During the flashbacks, Carol has investigated something called "Project: Ascension," which she discovered after being shot down in Afghanistan and tortured by a man named Ghazi Rashid. During this storyline, are you saying we've been getting little pieces of a greater puzzle?
BR: There have been clues planted in every issue as to what's going on. And it all ties to Norman Osborn.
NRAMA: You've been using a lot of non-sequential storytelling here, flashing forward to that scene where she sees her dying father, then flashing back to her days in the military and Special Ops. It was a little confusing for awhile there how it all fit together, but it's all leading toward Dark Reign?
BR: Yep. It actually all makes sense and pays off now. In the opening of Ms. Marvel #36, you see how Norman Osborn figures into the puzzle. But all the hints have been there all along.
NRAMA: So over the last few months leading up to Dark Avengers, we've been seeing her justification for killing Norman Osborn?
BR: We've been seeing pieces of it. We've now seen his takeover of the Avengers, but we've also got the revelation [in Ms. Marvel #33] that one of the bad guys she's been dealing with in her series, Ghazi Rashid, has ties to Norman Osborn. And we're going to find out that Norman didn't just let her walk out of Avengers Tower and call it a day after their confrontation in Dark Avengers. He went after her.
NRAMA: That's not surprising. Over the next few issues, what are we going to see as Carol heads toward this showdown with Osborn?
BR: Over the next few issues, we'll see all of Carol's past catching up to her present. We'll understand why I've been doing these flashback stories. It has a lot to do with what the present is all about. And some very bad things happen, and Carol dies.
NRAMA: Wait. What???
BR: As of Ms. Marvel #37, as seen in Dark Avengers #1, Moonstone is Ms. Marvel. And where we go from there is a whole new, very scary place.
NRAMA: There will still be a Ms. Marvel comic book after Carol's death?
BR: There will still be a Ms. Marvel comic book and the numbering will continue forward. But Moonstone as Ms. Marvel, is the new lead character. In Issue #37, we see the baton passed.
NRAMA: This is a pretty mind-boggling revelation, Brian. Have you known about this eventuality for your lead character for awhile now?
BR: The idea of bringing Moonstone into the book has existed for a long time. But the idea to move Carol aside and let Moonstone take over was something that cropped up a little later. I thought of it one night, and although it seemed to make sense with Carol's story and what was happening, I initially thought, "Well, that's insane!" And then I told [Marvel Editor] Steve Wacker about it and he said, "No! It makes sense! Do it!" And it really did make sense. As I went back and looked at the issues I've done in this title, I realized that I've unintentionally planted the seeds for this from the beginning. I had given myself this plot without realizing I'd done it. For me, that's when I enjoy the stories the most, when they surprise me. And I figure they'll also surprise everyone else.
NRAMA: You said earlier that Carol's been on a journey toward discovering "the hero she could be" ever since Ms. Marvel #1. Can you describe that journey? And how has the knowledge of her upcoming death influenced how you've written it?
BR: The death itself goes back into the Cru issues. Cru was an alien being who had lived inside her since issue #3. We got that alien out of her somewhere around the teen issues. When her and Cru separated, Cru warned Carol saying, "You think this is a good thing, but really, it's not. Bad things are coming."
When Secret Invasion came along, Carol pushed herself very hard. And if you look at Secret Invasion, there is a hole of time where Carol disappears.
NRAMA: She fights the Skrulls in Manhattan, but then we don't see her for awhile, right?
BR: Yeah. The end of my issues is only the end of the first day of the invasion. The invasion goes on for around 72 hours. And then she's back in the Central Park fight. So where was she in between? That's part of what we're going to be exploring over a couple of issues, filling in that time gap and showing that this is where bad things started to happen. And all of that ties into the current arc of Ms. Marvel, and leads directly to Moonstone taking over the mantle.
NRAMA: You said that Norman Osborn didn't just "let" her fly out the window and that he's going after her. Is she, at the same time, plotting against him?
BR: Oh yeah. That's what this current arc is all about, discovering that Norman has been behind what has been going on. And while she thought she was rallying her troops to go after him, he was already coming after her.
NRAMA: When this series started -- and I know this is often the label of death for comics -- but when it first started, Ms. Marvel could be labeled as a light-hearted, "fun" comic. But while it's kept many of the fun elements, it's gotten more and more complex as we've gotten closer to Dark Reign, hasn't it?
BR: Yeah. We're certainly going a new direction. We're saying, if you haven't given the book a chance in awhile, come on over, 'cause things are happening.' But it was this fun thing for me, trying to appease both the Ms. Marvel action/adventure mindset while doing this darker story.
NRAMA: In Dark Avengers #1, we also see a new version of Captain Marvel join the Dark Avengers. How is it for Ms. Marvel to see him as part of the Avengers?
BR: We’ll actually be dealing with that in Ms. Marvel #35. She sees it and feels like she should comment on it and do something about it, but she doesn't really understand why she has that emotion. So when she sees that this guy has become Captain Marvel, she's surprised by it. We also see that the Church of Hala from the Captain Marvel mini-series is still going, but church attendance is dwindling because Captain Marvel himself has disappeared. It has almost become the cult that everyone accused it of being. And when everyone sees this new Captain Marvel, their reaction is that this guy is not Captain Marvel; this guy is going to kill us all. So there is a mass suicide at one of the Church of Halas. Carol goes to see what it is all about. She's not even sure why she's there. She just knows that it was done in Captain Marvel's name, and that's her name, so she feels like she has to see it. And when she gets there, the new Captain Marvel's there too. They have a confrontation, and we learn what he meant to both of them.
NRAMA: With Moonstone taking over the mantle of Ms. Marvel now, will you be writing a Moonstone/Carol Danvers meeting of some kind?
BR: Oh, it certainly seems like the thing to do, doesn't it?
NRAMA: It does.
BR: That's the fun thing about comic books. Anything can happen.
NRAMA: Carol's been acting very strange in her last few issues. And there are a lot of unanswered questions as we move forward. Is this all going to be resolved in the next few issues before she dies?
BR: Every question I've raised gets answered in the next three issues, leading up to the end of Carol's current story and the beginning of Dark Reign in Ms. Marvel.
NRAMA: So let's review what you've got coming up, Brian. Carol Danvers' death is going to be in issue #37?
BR: Yes, it's in issue #37. And I'm writing issue #40 right now. It's the same series, but it's definitely switched gears. We've gone into the Dark Reign.
NRAMA: If somebody would pick up Ms. Marvel with the next issue, which is Ms. Marvel #35, would that person be able to understand the story starting there?
BR: Right now is a great time to jump on because we're ramping up to all this stuff. You'll be there just in time to see how the whole train falls apart. Issues #35, #36 and #37 are the death of Carol Danvers. And in Ms. Marvel #38, the Dark Reign begins in earnest. But the next three issues are where we see Norman play his hand. We see that he's been behind things since the end of Secret Invasion in Ms. Marvel's book.Marvel's Dark Reign Coverage
- Brian Bendis: Wrapping it All Up, and Starting Dark Reign
- Making them Mighty: Dan Slott on The Mighty Avengers
- Reunited: Jim McCann on Hawkeye and Mockingbird
- Gage: Taking The Initiative Under a Dark Reign
- Best Shots Extra: Secret Invasion: Dark Reign
- Iron Man, Hero No More: Talking to Matt Fraction
- Thunderbolts vs. Deadpool: FIGHT
- Andy Diggle: The Future of the Thunderbolts
- Jeff Parker: Mixing the Agents of Atlas into Dark Reign
- Mark Brooks: Crafting The Initiative #20 Cover
- Matt Fraction: Explaining Emma
- Jonathan Hickman: Secret Warriors and More
- Agents of Atlas: 10 Things You Need to Know
- Explaining it All: Brian Bendis Talks Dark Avengers #1