BIOGRAPHY - Page 5
Through their ties to Lilandra, the Starjammers became embroiled in the interstellar conflict between the Shi’ar and Kree empires dubbed Operation: Galactic Storm. Binary tangled with the Earth-born hero Quasar who was trying to stop the Shi'ar from using stargates near Earth's sun that were destablizing the star. Carol learned the sun was in grave danger due to the stargate and the Nega Bomb being transported through it. Despite her loyalty to Lilandra and the Starjammers, Carol could not allow Earth’s sun to perish while she was in the service of an alien empire. Joining with Quasar, she helped stabilize Earth’s sun by drawing anti-matter from the Nega Bomb out of the sun and into her white hole. This effort nearly burned herself out in the process. Quasar took Carol to Avengers Mansion, where she spent several weeks recovering. [Quasar #33-34]
Carol was reunited with the Starjammers shortly after the end of this intergalactic war. They arrived at Avengers’ Mansion under the auspices of a happy reunion with their errant compatriot, Binary. However, Raza Longknife and Hepzibah came with a more sinister goal: the assassination of the Black Knight. The pair of Starjammers had been hired by the Kree to kill the Knight in retaliation for his murder of the Kree Supreme Intelligence during Operation: Galactic Storm. For Hepzibah, the money was sufficient motivation. But the noble Raza refused until the Kree showed him a medallion that had belonged to his long-lost son Rion, who he had thought dead in the Shi’ar slave pits. They offered to reunite Raza with his son if he helped in slaying the Black Knight. While the Avengers and Starjammers exchanged news of the Shi’ar Empire, Raza stalked the Black Knight and engaged him in combat. Raza proved the victor and ran the Knight through. Naturally, this led to a tussle between the Avengers and Starjammers and Raza escaped.
The two teams joined forces to track Raza down. Finding him injured and remorseful, it was Binary who reached out to him and tried to make sense of his actions. Raza explained the Kree’s offer and the sad tale of how he had believed his son dead all these years. Seeing no other way that Raza could remain free to find his son, Carol told the Avengers and Starjammers that Rion’s medallion was a Kree memory inducer that the Kree had used to manipulate Raza into attacking the Knight and destroyed the medallion. Unaware that Carol had lied to help her friend, she was invited to rejoin both the Avengers and the Starjammers. Carol refused, choosing instead to spend some time reconnecting to her friends and family on Earth. [Avengers (1st series) #350-351]
Carol’s time off was interrupted when she was contacted by Professor X and asked to respond to an impending incursion by alien pirates. Finding several other superheroes of Earth who had responded to this threat as well, Binary was recruited into a cosmic strike force by Quasar, who was trying to save his then-girlfriend, Kayla Ballantine, and foil a complex plot by the alien entities. The aliens sought the Starbrand, a powerful cosmic artifact that had been bound to Ballantine. During the course of this affair, Quasar’s group of cosmic defenders allied themselves with the powerful alien called the Stranger. Wanting each member of his team to be at the height of their abilities, the Stranger used his powers to restore the emotional ties to her memories that Carol had been missing since her encounter with Rogue. Whole for the first time, Carol helped Quasar’s ragtag team defeat the encroaching alien forces before returning to Earth. [Quasar #54-57, Starblast #1-4]
The Stranger’s “gift” soon faded and Carol once more found herself with the sense of being disconnected from her own life experiences. [Iron Man (3rd series) #7] But she did not hesitate to answer the call when the X-Men sought her help in recharging the Starcore Research Station’s primary power cores. During this rather routine operation, Carol’s powers went wild. The timing could not have been worse. Just as her powers surged, a contingent of Shi’ar warriors arrived to terminate Binary under the orders of Deathbird, who had been named viceroy of the Kree territories under Shi’ar control. Carol fled, in part to draw this brewing conflict away from the space station and in part due to an inexplicable internal pull she felt to travel to a distant sector of space. There, she found the white hole that she had created to save Earth’s sun months earlier. This same cosmic phenomenon was wreaking havoc in this sector of space. Against her will, Carol found herself linked to the power of the white hole which threatened to engulf her in its energies. Analyzing the energy readings, the Beast realized that Carol’s attempts to correct the errant energy patterns were being manipulated by outside forces. A mysterious alien force known as the Inciters had co-opted Binary’s mind in the hopes of destroying not only this white hole but also the Earth’s sun and the white star Kiletra in the Shi’ar system that was the source of Binary’s cosmic powers. With the aid of the Silver Surfer and the Shi’ar forces, the X-Men managed to stop the Inciters’ plans to unleash a cosmic shockwave that would destroy the Shi’ar and Kree homeworlds and much of the Milky Way. The key to victory came from severing Binary’s mental link to the white star that had been the source of her cosmic powers. [X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #13]
Carol returned to Earth and did not resurface for several months, during which time she worked on a science fiction novel roughly based on her adventures with the Starjammers. When minions of Morgan LeFay began attacking Avengers all over the world, all current and former members were called to Avengers Mansion, and Carol was among those to answer the call. While she still retained her Binary form, she had returned to her more recognizable blue Ms. Marvel uniform. Despite the Avengers best efforts, Morgan temporarily succeeded in her plot to recreate a medieval society that she could rule over. Eventually the Avengers managed to break free of her control and were able to restore reality to the way it was supposed to be. [Avengers (3rd series) #1-3]
In the wake of these events, the founding members gathered to work out a new active roster. Surprisingly, Carol was among the most enthusiastic to rejoin the team. While the founders met, Carol discussed two pressing concerns with the Beast: her fluctuating powers and her need for a new codename. The Beast determined that Carol’s cosmically-enhanced powers had waned after the disturbance at her white hole. Unable to maintain her enhanced Binary form, Carol's abilities were now roughly half what they had been before. Carol asked the Beast to keep this under wraps, because she feared it might dissuade the others from including her in the new active roster.
But switching codenames and fluctuating powers were not the only baggage that Carol brought with her. Since her time back on Earth, Carol had started drinking. Iron Man, himself a recovering alcoholic, was the first to notice when he caught Carol perusing the Avengers’ selection of Scotch and she deftly made up an excuse as to why she was behind the bar. He voiced his concerns to the others without giving specifics, but when pressed was unwilling to bar Carol from rejoining on a mere hunch. Taking on the name Warbird, Carol was once more an Avenger. [Avengers (3rd series) #4]
Iron Man’s concerns soon proved to be more than legitimate. From the very beginning, Warbird was trying desperately to prove herself in battle through grandstanding and reckless bravado. She refused to shift to her Binary form when the Avengers faced the Squadron Supreme and, when asked about it by Captain America, she irrationally accused him of thinking that women couldn’t make decisions for themselves. Her defensiveness and refusal to take orders and work as a team player were but the first signs. When Cap finally called her on her behavior and confronted her regarding her waning powers, Carol accused him of being out to get her from the start and flew off in a rage. [Avengers (3rd series) #5-6]
This was just the tip of the iceberg as far as Carol’s drinking problem. When Iron Man paid her a visit at her parents’ home in Massachusetts, he went so far as to reveal his secret identity to Carol in the hopes of reaching out to her as a friend. However, when Tony brought up the possibility that alcohol was one way that she’d been dealing with the tragedies in her life, Carol accused him of projecting his own issues as an alcoholic on her. Realizing that Carol wasn’t ready to listen to what he had to say, Iron Man left. But he had touched a nerve and, after drinking herself into a rage, she attacked him at a business meeting with a rival technology firm. She quickly realized what she’d done but had little time to apologize due to an unexpected attack by the Kree Lunatic Legion, who had secretly been based beneath and allied with Tony's tech rivals. Despite her inebriation, Warbird made a good showing against the Legion but once again her issues led to poor judgment. Rather than try and save innocents, she focused on trying to stop the Kree, pursuing them instead of aiding Iron Man with the civilians. [Iron Man (3rd series) #7]
Tracking the Kree to their lair, she uncovered a concentration camp, where they were forcibly exposing humans to Terrigen Mists. Rather than alert the Avengers as a whole, Carol called in Captain America in another attempt to prove herself. She lied to Cap and said that she had alerted the entire team. Because of the lack of reinforcements, the Kree managed to escape. After a stern dressing down by Cap, Warbird pursued the Kree in another attempt to prove her worth and was easily captured. The Kree took her to their lunar outpost, where they planned to use Carol’s unique DNA to perfect the use of Terrigen Mist to create an army of superhumans. Carol was wracked with withdrawal symptoms and unable to resist. When the Avengers arrived via the Inhuman’s teleporting pet, Lockjaw, Warbird‘s addiction to alcohol was revealed by the Supreme Intelligence, who had survived the Avengers’ attempt to kill him during Operation: Galactic Storm. Warbird wanted to help but was in no condition to fight. Finding a store of Kree liquor, Carol took a drink to “stop the shakes” and became severely drunk. Flying haphazardly into battle, Warbird gravely wounded Lockjaw with a careless energy blast and nearly killed the entire team when she destroyed the Kree’s power source causing their lunar base to decompress. [Captain America (3rd series) #8, Quicksilver #10]
Given the scope of Carol’s problem and its effect on the group, the Avengers had little choice but to hold a special meeting to evaluate Warbird’s ability to continue with the team. The team presented a lengthy list of accusations against Carol that include her deceptions, insubordination, volatile outbursts and potentially dangerous situations she had created through her lack of judgment. Despite the overwhelming evidence presented, Carol denied these charges and her only defense was to highlight the handful of successes she had had during this time, while downplaying the seriousness of her drinking and accusing others of being out to get her.
Reluctantly, the team was about to unanimously demote Carol to Inactive status when an emergency alert regarding the Lunatic Legion’s latest activities was received. When Warbird offered to help, Cap refused. Rather than accept demotion, Warbird quit. Still desperate to prove herself, Carol tried to reach the moon under her own power but found she could no longer achieve escape velocity. Grounded and demoralized, Carol found herself in a bar staring into a glass of Scotch and questioning her worth and future. [Avengers (3rd series) #7]