Ms. Marvel (2nd series) #23

Issue Date: 
March 2008
Story Title: 
Monster and Marvel – Part 3

Brian Reed (writer), Aaron Lopresti (penciler), Matt Ryan (inker), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), Irene Lee (production), Thomas Brennan (asst. editors), Stephen Wacker (editors), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Greg Horn (cover art)

Brief Description: 

As Ms. Marvel confronts the Brood Queen on Monster Island, she recounts her role in the destruction of the Brood home world and her earlier conflict with the Queen. The Brood Queen reveals that this encountered did not kill her but made her invincible. Carol fights back despite her lack of powers and is killed by the Brood Queen. The Lightning Squad team arrives on Monster Island and come into conflict with the Brood. Seeing that they are overmatched by the Brood colony, Agent Sum plans to use a nuclear device to destroy the Brood. Cru reluctantly brings carol back from the brink of death and reignites her Binary powers! Empowered to a cosmic level once more, Carol confronts the Brood Queen just as she is overtaking the Minicarrier.

Full Summary: 

Carol recalls her earliest encounter with the Brood, shortly after losing her powers to the mutant Rogue. The Brood abducted her and experimented with her genetic structure. The result was her transformation into the cosmically empowered Binary. Carol felt that the Brood had robbed her of her humanity. When she got free, she unleashed her new power on the Brood outpost on planet Madrizar. She killed all the Brood on the planet and then confronted their queen. Her attack transformed the Brood Queen into crystal and resulted in the destruction of the planet. Carol believed that the Brood Queen died in the resulting devastation. Now, on Monster Island, she faces the Brood Queen once more but isn’t certain how the alien matriarch survived their first encounter.
The Brood Queen holds Cru in one of her tentacles but drops her as she edges closer to Carol. She tells Carol that she has thought of her for a long time. Carol is currently powerless due to Cru’s attempts to reclaim pieces of her repair protocols that merged with Carol during their first battle. Cru’s psyche is also currently inhabiting Carol’s mind but is surprisingly silent at the moment.
The Brood Queen declares that she is excited to see Carol there. She recounts the offenses that Carol committed against her: taking away her means of traveling through space, killing her soldiers and destroying her world. She reveals to Carol that her actions also imbued her with invincibility! Carol realizes that thanks to the “pieces” of Cru that have merged with her body, she too is invincible. She tells the Brood Queen “I guess that makes two of us.”
The Brood Queen decides to put Carol’s espoused invincibility to the test and orders two of her soldiers to attack. As they draw near with their energy weapons, Carol silently hopes that Cru has not disabled the healing protocols that she inadvertently imbued Carol with.
Carol acts quickly, kicking the Brood Queen in the face before disarming one of the Brood warriors. She grabs his blaster and fires on the Brood Queen who dodges the ray. She attacks Carol, slicing through the weapon and impaling Carol with her tentacle. She pulls her close and says tauntingly, “It appears the human definition of ‘invincible’ is different than my own.” Carol’s eyes roll back in her head and the Brood Queen tosses her lifeless body down next to Cru’s. She calls for her soldiers to behold her victory as her two greatest foes lie dead before her.
Meanwhile, the Lightning Storm crew arrives at Monster Island. Araña asks where her jetpack is and Sum ignores her. He asks Aaron if his new (and decidedly female) body is combat ready and Aaron tells him that his question is sexist and he plans on reporting him. He then checks on Wonder Man, still ignoring Anya.
The team makes their way top to the ground, leaving Araña behind. She’s furious at being left on the Minicarrier and vows to punch the first person who says she’s safer there. Machine Man (Woman?) picks up the energy trail and they soon find several Brood corpses, which Wonder Man recognizes immediately. Aaron notes that the alien that attacked Ms. Marvel was not Brood. Sum concludes that if there’s a Brood nest here they are in way over their heads and suggests they call for back-up. Simon is shocked and points out what happened before when SHIELD refused to send help. Sum clarifies that he means that they will both call in for help, in the hopes that Wonder Man’s “in-the-know” status as an Avenger will get them the support they need. Simon makes it clear that he’s not leaving without Carol. Agent Sum points out that they aren’t even sure that she’s alive. But they do know they are in Brood territory and thus in imminent danger.
At that moment, Sum’s point is proven as the Brood Queen orders her minions to take to the air in defense of their newly established base of operations. Dozens swarm upward towards the Minicarrier. Araña looks on in horror as they take fire on the ship.
As Aaron takes to the air he complains that his new LMD body lacks weaponry. Wonder Man follows and begins punching his way through the Brood. He tells Aaron “Who needs weapons when you’ve got fists!?” Machine Man concedes that there is something to be said for getting one’s hands dirty as he rips the wings off a Brood. Sum lands on the deck of the Minicarrier and asks Sleepwalker to cover for him while he ventures inside. He enters through a side hatch and is met by Araña who asks what those things are. He tells her to come with him as he has a way for her to help. She grumbles that now that they’re being attacked by monsters he needs her help, but follows nonetheless. Outside, Aaron relishes the physicality of the fight. Sleepwalker takes a nasty hit from a Brood laser cannon.
Inside, Agent Sum leads Anya to a hatch. She’s hopeful that this will lead to a weapons turret and she’ll get to blast away the Brood like Han Solo. When she opens the hatch she’s shocked to see that it contains a nuclear device. Sum explains that this weapon was insurance in the event that the Minicarrier was ever stolen. Anya looks at Sum to confirm that he doesn’t plan to blow the ship up with them onboard. He looks grim and asks that she do as he says and not argue for once. He assures her that if all goes well they won’t need to use the device. But if they don’t go well, they can be thankful for a swift death that will take many of their foes with them.
Outside, the Brood Queen declares the ship theirs as her warriors overtake Sleepwalker and a handful board the Minicarrier. Wonder Man and Aaron make their way to his side and are quickly engaged by the Brood. Machine Man sees the crystalline Brood Queen and smiles when he says “Daddy wants to smash it.”
On the island below, Carol is bleeding to death. She curses at how clichéd her death is. She reaches out for Cru, hoping to die with her hands strangling the alien who has so complicated her life in recent weeks.
As she falls dead, one of Cru’s tentacles reaches out for her. Cru’s voice speaks to Carol’s mind, which symbolically floats in a fetal position through space. Cru tells Carol that she’s dead and asks if it’s what she expected. Cru notes that during the time they have spent sharing each other’s thoughts, she has come to admire and fear Carol. Cru says that she fears that Carol is a danger to the world around her and that she would let Carol die if she could. Cru warns that there is “an avoidable side effect of separating myself from you” and that while it may seem a gift at first, it is truly a curse. Cru again says that if it could be helped, she would not do what she is about to do. Carol asks what it is she is doing and Cru tells her to open her eyes and see. When she does so, her eyes are alive with powerful energy.
Machine Man is thrown from the ship and crashes to the ground below. He complains about a malfunction in his LMD body. He looks up and sees Carol who tells him “You look different.” As she takes to the sky, he replies “I look different!? What the hell happened to you?!” As Carol approaches the Minicarrier, one of the Brood approaches the Queen and warns her “My Queen! Danger!” His sentiment is echoed by Carol, “Yes, Queen. Danger. A great deal of danger, in fact.” The Brood Queen’s eyes grow wide as she beholds Carol fully energized in her Binary form!

Characters Involved: 

Ms. Marvel
Aaron Stack/Machine Man, Sleepwalker, Agent Sum (All Operation: Lightning Storm)


Wonder Man
Brood Queen

In flashback:

Brood Queen and various Brood

Story Notes: 

Carol was captured by the Brood and experimented upon in UNCANNY X-MEN #161-163. This led to her evolution into the cosmically-powered Binary. As Binary, Carol destroyed the Brood home world and then defeated the Brood Queen and transformed her into crystal in UNCANNY X-MEN #166. During this time, she also freed the race of “space whales” called the Acanti from enslavement. The Brood used the Acanti as a means of traveling through space.
Ms. Marvel first encountered Cru in MS. MARVEL (2nd series) #2. During their fight, Cru sliced through Carol’s arm. It was this injury that inadvertently led to a transfer of Cru’s repair protocols to Carol’s body. These repair protocols have been actively healing Carol ever since. Most notably, they helped save her from infection by the Targoths in MS. MARVEL (2nd series) #12, from the mutagenic effects of the G-TAC Scrambler in MS. MARVEL (2nd series) #17 and from the Puppet Master’s control in MS. MARVEL (2nd series) #20.
Araña refers to weapon turrets and getting to fight the Brood like Han Solo. She is referring, of course, to the classic STAR WARS character played by actor Harrison Ford. In the original STAR WARS film, Solo’s ship the Millennium Falcon features gun turrets that he and Luke Skywalker used to destroy pursuing Imperial Tie Fighters

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