Ms. Marvel #38If Carol Danvers is dead, who's that on the cover of July's Ms. Marvel?
It sure looks like Carol Danvers.
"It certainly looks that way," series writer Brian Reed said coyly. "But it's not as obvious as it might seem looking at the art."
"Looks that way" is putting it mildly. All the signs are pointing toward something big happening this summer in Ms. Marvel. Not only is the next storyline called "War of the Marvels," but the Ms. Marvel title begins shipping twice a month in July. And already, the build-up to War of the Marvels is guest starring everyone from Spider-Man to Luke Cage to Deadpool.
"We start involving the Avengers, and the Dark Avengers, and Deadpool and A.I.M., and it all very quickly goes out of control," Reed said. "As to who that other woman is on the cover, that's a few issues away. As we build up to it, there are clues in the next three issues."
For readers of the Ms. Marvel title, it's been a roller coaster over the last few months as not only did the lead character lose her powers, but she lost her life at the hands of a villain working for Norman Osborn. Despite Carol's declaration several issues earlier that she intended to kill Osborn, the character died from a power overload within the pages of Ms. Marvel #37.
As Osborn's "Dark Reign" has taken over much of the Marvel Universe, he also took the title of Ms. Marvel and gave it to Karla Sofen, who was formerly known as Moonstone. Beginning with Ms. Marvel #38, Karla is playing the role of Ms. Marvel and stars in the hero's title, dishing out her own brand of twisted justice as part of Dark Reign.
For example, in May's issue, Sofen uses her role as Ms. Marvel to save the citizens of New York City, stopping a meteor that a faction of A.I.M. had sent hurling toward the metropolis.
But does she toss the meteor back into space where it would do no harm?
"No, she uses it to hit the guy who threw it," Reed said with a laugh, "and kills a couple of hundred other people in the process. And of course, she flat-out lies to the press about it."Ms. Marvel #39 The title character is more like a "dark" Ms. Marvel, but her job will be more of a challenge over the next few issues.
"Life for Karla Sofen is not going to be super simple. It's not just putting on the costume and Boom! you're Ms. Marvel. It's something you have to earn," Reed said.
"Right now, for the next three issues, it's a prelude to the 'War of the Marvels.' And you'll see her trying to pick up where Carol left off," Reed said. "She's saying, 'You know what? Carol Danvers is an idiot. She never took care of A.I.M. I can do that!' And it's getting her right in the middle of trouble."
In June's Ms. Marvel #40, readers will see Spider-Man and Luke Cage get involved, as well as everyone's favorite comedic relief, Deadpool. Then the New Avengers show up in issue #41, followed by a cover that features a slew of Dark Avengers in #42.
Where it's all leading is anyone's guess, because this title has been anything but predictable since last year's Secret Invasion, when Danvers disappeared for awhile and soon after shocked readers with her "kill Norman Osborn" revelation -- months before anyone understood why.
Now there are clues being dropped again, like the sudden appearance of a former SHIELD agent posing as a reporter, who questioned Karla about Carol Danvers' whereabouts.
"That was something I put in there for long-time readers who would recognize Agent Sum and realize now that SHIELD's gone, he's out on his own," Reed said, adding that readers "could very potentially" see him again. "He's up to something, and it clearly involves looking for Carol. As to where that goes, we'll find out."Ms. Marvel #40 Another clue that will thrill fans of MODOK are a group that showed up in the last issue -- creepy, fetus-like babies whose minds are enhanced with M.O.D.O.C. technology and whose huge heads swell within their jars.
"The babies are a big part of an A.I.M. project, and by the end of the issue, you see that they have their hooks in Karla somehow. They're talking to her, and they've convinced her to take them away. And we realize that's part of why she threw the meteor at A.I.M., was to get these baby things away from them."
Readers are also shown an energy entity that is interested in the strange babies -- a ruthless female-shaped being.
"The babies a very big part of what's coming up in the next few issues," Reed said. "They're tied in very closely to that weird energy being that we saw out in the desert killing people."
And for fans of artist Sana Takeda, she's sticking around on the book -- something Reed thinks gives Ms. Marvel a unique look. "I wasn't sure she was going to work on this last issue because I had already written the script before I knew she was on the book, and I hadn't written anything for her," he said. "And I was thinking, uh oh... will she have to draw something she isn't comfortable doing? And she just knocked it out of the ballpark. And I thought, I'm a fool for doubting Sana Takeda. And she's continuing to just impress me as we work together."Ms. Marvel #41 Until "War of the Marvels" begins in July, Reed said readers will have to continue looking for clues to what the Ms. Marvel event really means -- but in the meantime, he hopes they'll at least enjoy all the Marvel costumed characters who are getting involved in the story.
"I asked the editors if I could have this big list of characters, and I was really glad when they said yes to everyone," he said. "It all comes together over the next few issues, and with Deadpool in it, it's even crazier than it could be."Related: Ms. Marvel #39 Preview