All her life Carol Danvers has loved flying. While in the Air Force, she piloted experimental fighters at Mach 4. The exhilaration and thrill of it, the adrenaline rush was what she lived for. Now, she is all grown up and she still loves flying only now she does so of her own power.
Ms. Marvel flies over New York, reveling in the rush of it all. As she soars overhead, she spots the Stilt-Man who is in the middle of a heist. He stands with his telescoping legs extended and holding an armored car over his head. He laughs as police fire upon him from the street below, their bullets bouncing harmlessly off his armor. He gloats that his new armor makes him ten times stronger than he used to be. He believes that he is unstoppable. As he begins to proclaim this, Ms. Marvel swoops down and punches him from behind. Stilt-Man topples over and the armored car goes flying.
In a nearby park, three young boys are playing super-heroes. One is dressed as Spider-Man and another Wolverine. Their young black friend is sulking nearby and asks why he always has to be Luke Cage. “Wolverine” innocently explains that it’s because he’s the only one with a black leather jacket.
The other boy notices something in the air and they all look up to see the armored car hurtling towards them. The boys’ screams are echoed by the driver of the truck who is still inside. Just as the truck is about to smash the boys it stops as Ms. Marvel swoops deftly underneath and lifts it into the air. She smiles brilliantly and says “Hi kids” to the amazed children.
Ms. Marvel sets the truck down gently and the shocked driver emerges and hugs her fiercely, thankful for his life. One of the kids tugs on Ms. M’s sash and points behind her where the Stilt-Man can be seen stalking through the trees towards them. She turns to face him and says that everything is under control. Grabbing the armored car, she hurls it through the air hitting Stilt-Man square in the jaw and knocking him once more to the ground. She stands over him as he laments that if he knew Ms. Marvel were around he never would have tried this caper.
Carol Danvers is having lunch with her friend and fellow super-hero Jessica Drew AKA Spider-Woman. It’s clear now that Carol was recounting her day’s adventures to Jessica, who tells Carol that she is clearly lying. Carol laughs and Jessica asserts that there’s no way the Stilt-Man would talk like that and that Carol is full of it. Carol laughs and says that that’s what she wishes he had said. Jessica asks for the truth and Carol admits that he had no clue at all who she was. Jessica winces and says “Ouch” to which Carol replies that this was the least of the blows to her ego she suffered today. Jessica says that she hopes that Carol gave him a few photon blasts to insure that he’d remember her next time. Carol smiles wickedly, igniting a corona of energy around her hand and feigning indignation asks if she would do anything so immature. Jessica nods and smiles and Carol confesses that when Stilt-Man shot her with an energy blaster built into his armor, she absorbed it and redirected it back at him, ”accidentally” hitting him in the crotch… seven times. Both heroines enjoy a good laugh over this.
Jessica asks Carol how her public relations thing earlier that day went. Carl replies that this is what she was referring to when she mentioned that the Stilt-Man’s comments were not the greatest blow to her ego that day. Jessica apologizes for bringing it up and Carol proceeds to tell her about the appointment…
(Earlier that morning: )
Ms. Marvel soars over Manhattan with Avengers Tower in the distance. A moment later, Carol Danvers, dressed in a stylish business suit walks into the offices of Sarah Day, renowned publicist to some of the biggest names in Hollywood and the superhero biz.
As Carol enters, Sarah rushes out and enthusiastically greets her. Carol is surprised at the reception and Sarah indicates that their security sensors alerted her when Carol arrived. Sarah gushes about what a big fan she is and the two exchange pleasantries as they make their way to Sarah’s opulent office. Sarah notes that she’s the publicist for Captain America, the Fantastic Four and the Astonishing X-Men. Carol is surprised to learn that the X-Men have a publicist! She asks Sarah, “Since when have the X-Men had a publicist?” Sarah explains that it’s the Astonishing X-Men and how important proper adjective use is.
Sarah’s walls are covered with magazine covers and promotional materials featuring her famed clients. As they reach Sarah’s office, she recounts what she knows about Carol already: her Air Force background, stint with NASA and the Avengers and her most recent job with Homeland Security, which she quit a few days earlier. She recounts Carol’s codenames (complete with her opinions of each) and notes her costume, which Sarah believes could be more than it is… but that she loves the boots. She notes that not everyone can pull them off but Carol certainly does. She adds Carol’s brief stint as an author and then asks her the all-important question: “Now what?”
Carol hesitates and Sarah jumps right on her uncertainty and tells Carol that if she calls the producers for Letterman’s show and suggest they book her as a guest, they’re going to know what she has to promote. Carol stumbles for an answer and Sarah bluntly says that they’re going to need to work on that. To be the star she wants to be, Carol is going to have to have strong, media-friendly answers to such questions and drip with personality and presence. She tells her that Letterman’s people want interesting guests doing discussion-worthy things, like Reed Richards doing science experiments with underprivileged kids. To be a star, Carol’s going to have to have purpose and appeal.
Sarah assures Carol that she really is a huge fan of hers and not just sucking up to a potential client. But that it’s necessary for her to become accustomed to answering questions and being in the spotlight before hitting the bigger shows. Sarah suggests starting small with a “Where are they now?” segment on Super Powers, a TV show dedicated to superhero happenings similar to Entertainment Tonight. She notes that it’s huge with the teen male demographic, who are also probably big fans of her boots.
(The Present: )
Jessica thinks it’s a bit insulting that Sarah suggested a “Where are they Now?” piece, considering it’s been only six months since Carol was an active Avenger. Carol reminds her that the Stilt-Man didn’t even know who she was! Carol clarifies that she’s not trying to win a popularity contest but that it’s clear to her that her super hero career isn’t what she wants it to be. She explains that she’s had a moment of clarity and seen that she can be much more than she currently is. She feels she’s been goofing around and hasn’t truly earned her way. She gets offered a slot on the Avengers by Cap, not because she’s the best but because she has a history there.
Jessica argues that she has earned it and done the job well. She notes that she just saved some kids from getting killed. But Carol doesn’t buy it. She tells Jessica that she’s seen that she can be more, be the best instead of an also-ran like she is now. Jessica reminds her of the time she kept the sun from exploding, as an example of her accomplishments.
Carol tells Jessica what she did next: took six months off and gorged herself on ice cream while watching old movies. Again, Carol says that she knows she can do better and be the best. So Jessica asks what her plan is. Carol replies that she quit Homeland Security because anyone can sit behind a desk and pretend to help the world. She wants to start doing things actively, as a super hero to help the world. Again Jessica asks how and Carol says she’s going to try and be more proactive by going on patrol and helping out where she’s needed.
Jessica takes out a cigarette and asks if this is another “Carol-thing”? Carol asks what she means and Jessica gives the example of how neurotic she got about her Atkins diet not too long ago. Carol says that she’s wildly exaggerating but assures her that this is for real. Seeing that Carol is serious about this, Jessica tells her to go for it. She tells Carol that she is the best, so get out there and prove it.
Later that night, Ms. Marvel soars through the night sky on patrol. She notes how the Avengers is like a fire department, waiting at the mansion for disaster to strike. But when on patrol, you find trouble to deal with before those affected even know that you’re needed.
As she glides along, a brilliant streak of green energy lights the night sky. She pursues it at top speed but it stays a good distance ahead of her. She calls Captain America for back-up. Cap answers his cell phone, despite being in pitched battle against Hydra agents alongside SHIELD agent Sharon Carter. He doesn’t miss a beat as he takes the call. Carol relates the situation; she’s been in pursuit of the UFO for over an hour and was hoping the Avengers could lend a hand. Cap tells her he’s in the middle of a SHIELD operation and the Avengers are occupied as well. Cap asks if she recognizes the ship and Carol says she’s never seen its like before. He suggests she call the Fantastic Four for help and Carol says she’d rather not. Cap asks why and Carol says it’s a long story but involves a weekend in Vegas with the Human Torch.
The sounds of the firefight Cap is engaged in intensify and Ms. Marvel tells him to deal with the situation at hand. He encourages her to call the FF and she hangs up. As she does so, she drops her phone. She realizes that she panicked and called Cap and that if she wants to fly solo, she has to start handling things on her own.
She follows the craft to Spaulding, Georgia where it is about to crash into the town. Despite her best efforts, Ms. Marvel cannot reach the ship or stop it from crash-landing. It creates a huge explosion and a crater in the ground where it hits. As she swoops down to investigate, lasers spring forth from the cavernous hole and strike her.
She falls unconscious to the ground and crashes into a car. She awakes to screams of panic and terror. Despite the pain she is feeling from the blast and subsequent fall, she forces herself to her feet, fully aware that she is the only one there to help these people. As she rises she stumbles towards the sounds of chaos nearby and is amazed at what she sees. Through a haze of toxic green smoke, she sees the wreckage of a freeway pile up and people frantically fleeing from a small band of Brood warriors.