Ms. Marvel (2nd series) #13

Issue Date: 
May 2007
Story Title: 
The Deal – Part 1 of 2

Brian Reed (writer), Aaron Lopresti (pencilers), Matt Ryan (inker), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), Rich Ginter (production), Alejandro Arbona (asst. editor), Bill Rosemann (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Greg Horn (cover art)

Brief Description: 

Iron Man summons Ms. Marvel to Indianapolis to help him investigate a devastating DNA bomb that killed nearly one hundred people. This turns out to be the work of AIM, who has been a thorn in Carol’s side for the past few weeks. Carol and Tony argue over the fact that they’ve been spending the last few weeks battling their fellow heroes over the Superhuman Registration Act rather than stopping the bad guys from doing things like this. Their debate gets a bit nasty when Iron Man brings up Carol’s treatment of Julia Carpenter. Fed up with Tony’s stubbornness, Ms. Marvel punches him. This makes the news worldwide which does not please Carol’s publicist, Sarah Day. She is thrilled to hear that since the incident, Iron Man has asked Carol to lead a new team of Avengers. They talk Carol’s hesitance to accept and Sarah tells her that she needs to find something that drives her beyond just being a hero. This gets Carol to thinking about her future. She starts by asking William Wagner for a second date. She then gets a visit from Araña who tells her that she doesn’t blame her for what happened to her when she faced the Doomsday Man. Carol decides to accept Tony’s offer to lead the Avengers with one caveat. She asks for access to SHIELD’s resources so that when she’s not leading the Avengers, she can hunt down bad guys before they become a problem. Tony agrees and Carol quickly uses these resources to shut down the AIM operation responsible for the tragedy in Indiana. She then brings Wonder Man in to show him her new base of operations, a SHIELD Minicarrier and to ask his help in resolving a lingering issue from her past: Julia Carpenter. Carol’s team tracks Arachne to Brooklyn where she angrily confronts Araña in her desperate search for her daughter.

Full Summary: 

Iron Man and Ms. Marvel stand at ground zero of the latest terrorist attack on US soil in Indianapolis. Ms. Marvel wears a SHIELD-issue radiation suit to protect her from the unknown energies responsible for the deadly attack that killed close to one hundred people. Stark points out that there’s something wrong with the bodies, they’ve been mutated. Carol notes that before the Decimation she’d have guessed these were mutants. Tony points out the distorted faces of some of the victims which indicates that they died screaming. He add that they have a force field around the area and aren’t sure how to proceed with cleaning up the environment, thus the containment suit he asked her to wear.
Ms. Marvel asks why it is that he requested her presence specifically. As the two heroes enter the decontamination chamber, Tony explains that this bomb was specifically keyed to trigger genetic mutations in its victims. Carol begins to ask who could fathom creating such a weapon and immediately grasps Tony’s agenda: AIM. Iron Man notes that SHIELD has been after AIM for months and Ms. Marvel asks how the world’s top intelligence agency could miss a bunch of goons in yellow beekeeper outfits. Tony replies that they have been trying but that she should not underestimate AIM since even their lowest ranking members are scientific geniuses. He explains that when dealing with groups like AIM, Hydra and other terrorist cells, you’re often spread thin chasing false leads and shadows and that things have been a bit hectic on top of that lately. Carol asks if this is how he’s referring to the war that he helped start.
Tony is taken aback by Carol’s tone and asks if there’s something she’d like to say to him. Carol asks if he’d even hear her if she did have something to say. He retorts that there’s only one way to find out. She tells him that these people died here today because they weren’t going after the bad guys but chasing after Captain America and his underground movement against the “stupid Registration Act”. Iron Man shoots back at her that she thought it was important enough to go to Colorado and separate Julia Carpenter from her daughter! This pushes Carol beyond her limits and she lashes out at Iron Man with a double-fisted uppercut that sends him flying. Ms. Marvel notes that in that moment they reached the understanding that they don’t see eye-to-eye on every issue.

Five days later, Carol is sitting in the offices of her publicist Sarah Day who is appalled that Carol attacked Tony Stark… in front of every major news agency in the country no less! She asks Carol if she’s aware of how many news programs, magazine covers and newspapers ran the story and Carol replies that she’s well aware thanks to the multiple daily messages that Sarah has been leaving on her machine since the incident. Carol tells Sarah that she only did it because she knew that the Iron Man armor would absorb the impact and that she felt he deserved it. Sarah’s sympathies are clearly with Tony and Carol assures her agent that he’s just fine. Sarah asks what Carol’s meeting with Tony earlier that morning was about. Carol is a bit surprised at this question, since she wasn’t sure if Sarah was in the know regarding that particular meeting with the new head of SHIELD.

Carol tells Sarah that at first Tony just seemed to want to show off his new Helicarrier, as if nothing had happened between them. Then he popped the big question: Will you lead the Avengers? Carol was shocked by his offer and notes that as her AA sponsor he should ask himself if this might not drive her right back to drinking. Carol admits that her initial reaction was to sleep in the decision, but now she thinks she should just turn him down. She says there’s no chance of her doing that. Sarah asks why she’s come to tell her about it then. Carol replies that it’s partly due to the umpteen messages that Sarah’s been leaving her and partly that she has something else she needs to discuss with Sarah. Sarah stops Carol and reminds her that she’s her publicist not her therapist. She says that she’s weak in the knees at the thought of Ms. Marvel leading the “Mighty Avengers”. Sarah stops and notes how she loves the ring of that “The Mighty Avengers” and makes a note to herself to suggest it to Tony right away.

Carol comes out and tells Sarah that she’s not sure she needs her services anymore. Naturally, Sarah is taken aback by this. Carol explains that she’s not quite sure what it is that Sarah is doing for her and that her monthly bill is nearly as much as her rent! Sarah tells Carol that in all honesty, she’s not sure what Carol has that needs publicizing beyond nice legs and a great speaking voice. She lacks a cause or project to promote. Carol interrupts and asks what she should be doing? Perhaps pick a random charity or adopt a child from a country no one can pronounce and pretend it’s for the greater good rather than unearned attention. She says that she’s a superhero and Sarah points out that that’s truly Carol’s only draw and with all the heroes about, that doesn’t give her a major reason to be promoting her.
Carol thinks that Sarah is encouraging the idea of a charity as a focus but Sarah clarifies that she simply needs to find something that she truly wants to do, as she is currently lacking a goal. She tells Carol that when they first met, she had a goal but that she’s already lost sight of it. She thinks that Carol needs something tangible to chase after and that until Carol figures out what that is, she’s of no use to her. This puts Carol in her place and gives her plenty of food for thought.

Carol decides to focus on getting a second date with William Wagner as her first goal. She calls him and the two talk about the abrupt disruption to their first date, when Ms. Marvel’s protégé Araña showed up in her apartment. William admits that he was a bit thrown at first and should be running away from any potential romance with Carol as a result, but that he finds he’d rather not. The two agree to a date on Friday night. Carol shares the good news with her cat, Chewie. She’s then surprised by the arrival of Araña.
Carol expresses her concern for Anya, who was injured during their battle against the Doomsday Man. Anya has visible bruises but assures Carol that they will heal. She notes that her spider-like carapace is gone as a result of her injuries. She tells Carol that she doesn’t have a lot of time as she’s on her way to work and her father has been checking up on her. Carol tells her that given the restraining order her father filed, she really shouldn’t be here. Anya assures her that her father has made that abundantly clear. Carol tells Anya how sorry she is but Anya interrupts. She tells Carol that she doesn’t blame her for any of this and that she knows that if she’d followed Carol’s orders and stayed outside, she might not have been hurt. Carol assures her that she did well and saved lots of lives that night. She argues that all she did was almost get herself killed. Carol tries to comfort Araña and explains that everyone in the hero business gets hurt like that at least once. Araña takes this as a warning that this sort of thing is bound to happen to her again. Carol tries to explain but Anya tells her that she has to get out of her and she swings away, leaving Carol to wonder just what kind of impact she’s had on her young heroic protégé.

Ms. Marvel pays a visit to Avengers Tower to see Iron Man. She tells him about how she set out to become the “best of the best” and asks what happened and why she stopped. He seems surprised and doesn’t think that she has. He asks if this has anything to do with the fact that he asked her earlier to lead the Mighty Avengers. Carol rolls her eyes and asks if Sarah called him. He simply replies that he thought it was a catchy name. Ms. Marvel reminds Tony of what happened a week ago when she punched him. He comments that he wondered when she’d get around to this. He replies that he summoned her to Indiana because of her recent encounters with AIM and because he needed to perform a “gut check”. He knew that he couldn’t run SHIELD and lead the Avengers as well.
Carol asks if her decking him convinced him that she was right for the job. He tells her that it told him she was human and that she was questioning the decisions she had made. He says he’d never trust a leader who couldn’t do that and still stand firm once the decision was made and that is why he wants her for the job and why he goaded her by pushing her buttons like he did. Carol considers this and tells him that the Avengers and his offer are important to her… but they aren’t enough.

She explains to Tony that there’s more to being the best than just defeating bad guys or getting your name known by the public. You have to truly make a difference. Shellhead says that this is what he’s offering her as leader of the Avengers. Carol tells him it isn’t enough. The Avengers are a sledgehammer to deal with enormous threats but at times, the world needs a precision tool like a scalpel to deal with problems. She tells him she wants access to SHIELD’s file and agents, as well as the ability to select specific registered superhumans to form a pro-active strike team. This team will hunt down the “worst of the worst” before they get to be a grand problem requiring the attention of teams like the Avengers. Iron Man asks if she wants to be an agent of SHIELD. Carol replies that she doesn’t. She just wants access to their resources, independent of the bureaucracy which often hampers SHIELD’s effectiveness in dealing with threats such as AIM. Tony dons his helmet and insists that the Mighty Avengers comes first. Carol asks if they have to call the team that and Iron Man replies that the focus groups loved it. Ms. Marvel assures him that she’ll be there for the Avengers 100% but that in their off-hours between dealing with cosmic invasions and planet-threatening threats, she has things she needs to be doing.

Later aboard the SHIELD Helicarrier, Commander Maria Hill is seriously upset when she can’t locate two of her agents, Locke and Baines. She demands to know why they aren’t on the bridge. At that moment, Tony Stark newly-christened Director of SHIELD calls to tell her something that escaped him earlier. Simultaneously, Sarah Day is conducting a press conference where she informs the public of the destruction of an AIM facility in Indiana by Ms. Marvel and a contingent of SHIELD operatives.
She notes that this facility was directly responsible for the recent tragedy in Indianapolis. Footage shows Ms. Marvel and her team overwhelming AIM’s forces. Following this is a recorded statement from Ms. Marvel warning groups and individuals such as AIM that this is the first of many attacks of a pro-active nature that she will be overseeing and that she is done simply reacting to acts of evil. He new initiative, Operation: Lightning Storm will seek out those who would perpetuate acts of evil and that these acts will not go unpunished. She ends by simply saying “You have been warned.” Concluding this statement, Sarah Day smiles with satisfaction and asks the assembled reporters if they have any questions.

Later, Ms. Marvel is giving Wonder Man the tour of her new base of operations: Minicarrier 13! Simon is surprised that Tony just gave Carol a SHILED Minicarrier. Carol acknowledges that it’s pretty cool and notes that if her old apartment had been damaged one more time by a super-baddie it would probably have fallen over. She is not so enthusiastic about explaining to Maria Hill why a civilian is in charge of one of her ships. Simon says that he’d love to meet Carol’s new team and she assures him that he will, as she plans on calling on him for help often. At that moment, Agent Sum arrives and tells Carol that they’ve found her.

Carol makes her way to the briefing room where she introduces Wonder Man to her other two operatives: Agent Locke from the psy-ops division and their tech wiz, Agent Baines. She adds that Agent Sum’s expertise is so classified that she had to ask twice before getting a straight answer. She asks for a summary of what they’ve found. Sum tells Carol that they tracked her from the Negative Zone breakout directly to Colorado…just as Carol expected. Hearing this, Simon quickly surmises that they are chasing Julia Carpenter AKA Arachne.
Carol quickly clarifies that they’re not chasing Julia. She explains that before she starts her campaign to stop villainy before it strikes, she needs to resolve some things from the past. She asks if Simon wants to help given his role in apprehending Julia in the first place. He readily agrees. The briefing continues and Agent Sum notes that Julia did travel to Colorado and has been on the move since. They’ve tracked a credit card used by Julia’s mother in Ohio but a few minutes earlier, SHIELD’s psychics picked up her trail in Brooklyn. Agent Locke chimes in that the emotions Julia is exhibiting are raw and brutal. Carol asks what she is feeling and Locke replies that she’s consumed by pure hate.

At that moment in Brooklyn, Anya Corazon has arrived at work at the Chicken Cow. Her manager refuses to let her work the register because of the bruises on her arms. She argues that she brought a long-sleeve shirt but he refuses to let her work the register out of the proper Chicken Cow uniform. She offers to work in the back and he says that someone else has been assigned to that. She gets frustrated and tells him that she doesn’t need this right now. He asks if this means she’s quitting and Anya replies sassily, “Exactamundo!” As she leaves, she grumbles about the stupid job and uniform. She is surprised when someone asks “Where is my daughter?” She looks up, stunned to see Arachne clinging to the wall above. She repeats her question, yelling this time “WHERE IS MY DAUGHTER?!”

Characters Involved: 

Ms. Marvel
Iron Man

Wonder Man

Sarah Day

William Wagner
Chewie, Carol’s cat

SHIELD agents Baines, Locke and Sum (all Operation: Lightning Storm personnel)

Maria Hill and various unnamed SHIELD agents

Unnamed AIM agents and scientists

Unnamed civilians in Indianapolis, New York City

Unnamed employees at the Chicken Cow in Brooklyn

On viewscreens:

Ares, Hercules, Howard the Duck, Iron Fist, Man-Thing, Namor, Tigra, Wasp, Wonder Man,

Story Notes: 

Ms. Marvel tracked and captured the fugitive Avenger, Arachne during the recent Civil War. This was shown in MS. MARVEL (2nd Series) #6-8.

Issue Information: 

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