Readers of Ms. Marvel got the big, promised "War of the Marvels" throwdown last week in Ms. Marvel #42, but they got something else they didn't expect.
An extra Carol Danvers.
Just a couple months ago, it seemed that Norman Osborn's Dark Reign had taken over the Ms. Marvel title. As readers know, Ms. Marvel Carol Danvers was blown to pieces in Ms. Marvel #37 and presumed dead. By the time the next issue of Ms. Marvel rolled around, Norman Osborn had come up with a replacement Ms. Marvel – Dr. Karla Sofen, the character formerly known as Moonstone.
Since then, the title has been known as Dark Reign: Ms. Marvel, with Karla taking over the mantle and stories concentrating on her adventures.
But soon after the switch was made, the story started building toward the apparent return of Carol Danvers. In last week's Ms. Marvel #42, the character did return, and it all culminated in a giant cat fight in the sky as Karla and Carol duked it out, throwing each other into buildings and airplanes and all over the streets of Los Angeles.
After the fighting stopped, however, something very strange happened. Not only has the "good" Ms. Marvel been rebuilt so she could fight the "Dark Reign" Ms. Marvel, but at the end of the issue, there was a pretty blonde named Catherine Donovan who is all of the sudden claiming that she is Ms. Marvel.
Newsarama caught up with Ms. Marvel writer Brian Reed to ask about this mysterious "other" Carol Danvers – and in our discussion, we found out that next spring's Issue #50 holds some kind of importance for the future of the series.
Newsarama: First off, I want to call you on something, Brian. You said here on Newsarama that Ms. Marvel was "really" dead.
Brian Reed: She was really dead! But I always thought it was pretty apparent Carol's death wasn't a permanent death because the Avengers aren't acknowledging it and no one in the Marvel Universe is talking about it. This was just a way to set up the Karla show for a little while and take this whole thing to the next level. And there is plenty more to Karla's story coming. It will all tie together with what's happening with Carol.
NRAMA: But what is the story behind this weird ending with the extra Ms. Marvel? Were you just trying to throw us for a loop?
REED: [laughs] I hope I did more than try. I hope it actually worked.
NRAMA: We've known that Carol had this other identity, Catherine Donovan, when she was working for the CIA. But this is more than just her hiding out under that other name, isn't it?
REED: Yeah. It's not that Carol ran off and took up this new identity. Something weirder has happened by far.
The whole story that has gotten us to this point is that, during Secret Invasion, something went wrong with Ms. Marvel's powers. The things she'd been warned about two years ago worth of stories came to be, and she burned out. In the story immediately following Secret Invasion, she really burned out and killed herself as a result.
Then we start seeing these weird energy being women going around, and they're chasing after these strange little babies, that we learn are the next generation of the Storyteller. And he's a character we've seen before, a kid who has the ability to use his imagination to create anything.
Now Karla has found some of the babies because they're looking for Ms. Marvel to help them. And once all the babies are together in a room, they rebuild our Ms. Marvel, the good one.
NRAMA: And the fighting ensues. Huge Ms. Marvel vs. Ms. Marvel battle in Issue #42.
REED: Oh writing that was a blast. It was just moving the fight to all these places I liked to go when I lived in Los Angeles. But Sentry put a stop to it because even Norman Osborn has his limits.
NRAMA: So the fact that Ms. Marvel could be put back together is because she was blown into pieces, right?
REED: Well, when she exploded, we saw lots of colored lights in the sky. And then we saw these different colored women showing up. And when they were together, they were able to speak and say who they were. And then you saw them get put back together again. So yes, if you go back and look, all those pieces are laid out for you.
NRAMA: OK, but after the fight, this ending comes out of the blue. This blond woman in a bar sees the Marvel vs. Marvel fight on TV, and all of the sudden the lady says she's Carol Danvers?
REED: What we see is that, in Los Angeles, there's a woman who thinks she's just Catherine Donovan, but all of the sudden goes, "Wait, I'm Carol Danvers."
NRAMA: And she's just some random woman in a bar when this happens, isn't she?
REED: Yeah, she's just hanging out at a bar with friends.
NRAMA: What triggers her memory? The TV?
REED: Yeah. She sees two Ms. Marvels on TV fighting each other.
NRAMA: OK, so we've established what's happened so far. What can you tell us about the next issues?
REED: Well, the obvious next question is, why does the person who seems to be Carol Danvers think she's Catherine Donovan? It's not that she's gone off and taken that identity on purpose. She really thinks she's Catherine Donovan. So why?
NRAMA: And there's the "why" with this other Carol Danvers that the babies built. Will we see more about these strange babies and their creation?
REED: Their story isn't over. There are some interesting things coming up that, when I pitched the idea, I wasn't sure it was going to fly. But somehow we got the permission to do it. So all of that will get explained.
NRAMA: And we're still going to have a lot of guest stars coming up?
REED: We're still going to see the New Avengers and Dark Avengers in the next few issues. The story we've been telling with Karla is not going away. Everything's been building toward Issue #50.
NRAMA: Is Issue #50 a big issue, then?
REED: It's going to be the fruition of everything that started in Issue #1.
NRAMA: Since you do a lot of mini-series, this must be really different to have a story over 50 issues. This is the one place where you seem to be planting seeds over a long period of time and doing some long-form storytelling. Is that more fun than the shorter stories? Or is it more challenging?
REED: It's a lot of fun because you write things you can later develop into a richer, more interesting story. Like Storyteller was a one-issue story. He wasn't initially supposed to come back. But a year later, I got another idea for him, and we did another story, and that spawned a lot of what's happening with this story. And other things I've planted are all coming into play now.
When you work on something for year upon year, you start realizing all these things are planting seeds and they can all come to fruition in a big story like this one.
NRAMA: Now wait a minute, though. You said this is all building toward Issue #50. So... Issue #50 isn't the end of Ms. Marvel, is it?
NRAMA: "Hmmm???" What does that mean?
REED: Let's just say there are big things coming that I can't talk about now. There's a change coming that I don't think people are expecting. Keep reading, and you'll see this story continue to build. If you thought things were really crazy in the last few issues, just wait.