Ms. Marvel (2nd series) #5

Issue Date: 
August 2006
Story Title: 
Time and Time Again

Brian Reed (writer), Roberto De La Torre (penciler), Jimmy Palmiotti (inker), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), Brad Johansen (production), Molly Lazer & Aubrey Sitterson (asst. editors), Andy Schmidt (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher) Frank Cho & Jason Keith (cover art)

Brief Description: 

While sleeping peacefully, Carol receives a mystic summons from Dr. Strange (via her cat!) asking for immediate help. Ms. Marvel arrives at Strange’s home and is literally dragged into it by mystic energies. She finds herself transported to an alternate reality by her foe, Warren Traveler who she had left in Strange’s care. Traveler explains that this reality was devastated by an alien swarm and that he now possesses the power to traverse alternate realities. He plans to use this ability to acquire new sources of mystic power to stem the insanity that now grips him since being inadvertently cut off from his own reality. Ms. Marvel tries to fight him but she’s no match for his newfound power. He takes them to the instant that the alien swarm arrived and announces his plan to leave Ms. Marvel there to die. She manages to knock away the Wand of Watoomb and forces Traveler to return them to their home reality. Carol and Traveler return a few moments before they departed and she arrives in just as Strange is calling out to her through her dream. Her unexpected arrival enables Strange to stop the mystic chain reaction that Traveler unleashed before teleporting away. Carol helps the Sorcerer Supreme minimize the damage and the two share an awkward moment of unexpected attraction. Weeks later, Carol receives a call from Iron Man in the wake of the announcement regarding the Superhuman Registration Act. He’s called to see if she has been in contact with Captain America. As fate would have it, Captain America is waiting for her in her apartment at that very moment.

Full Summary: 

Carol Danvers has checked into a hotel following the destruction of her apartment and is enjoying a well-deserved soak in a nice hot bath. She suddenly finds herself surrounded by reporters and cameramen, all trying to ask questions about her personal life and recent activities. She is bewildered by the sudden throng of newspeople vying for her attention. This is not nearly as jarring to Carol as it is when her cat begins to talk to her!
She immediately thinks the cat is some kind of mutant and begins to question it when it speaks again. The cat clarifies that it is merely a vessel through which Dr. Strange is communicating with Carol and that she’s dreaming. He says that he is in trouble and needs her to wake up right away.
Carol wakes from her dream and sits up in her bed. She sees her cat who meows like any cat would. She then remembers the dream and Dr. Strange’s appeal for help. Not sure if this was merely a vivid dream or an actual communication from the Sorcerer Supreme, Carol changes into her costume and heads to Strange’s home to make certain he is alright.
As she nears his building, a brilliant ray of energy burst through his distinctive paned, roof window. Ms. Marvel hesitates for a brief moment, never quite sure how to proceed when magic is involved. As she soars towards the window, tendrils of arcane energy reach out and ensnare her. They pull her down into the building as she struggles to absorb what energy she can from this mystic attack.
Once inside, Ms. Marvel tries to get her bearings. She immediately realizes it is daytime outside and that it was the dead of night seconds earlier when she was pulled into Strange’s inner sanctum. She looks out the shattered window to see a horrible sight below. The street and surrounding area are in ruins and there are corpses strewn about. She backs away and wonders aloud what could have happened. She then sees the decayed body of Dr. Strange sitting in his chair, covered in cobwebs as if he had been dead a long time.
As she notices this, Warren Traveler steps from the shadows. He comments snidely on how Strange doesn’t look like much anymore. Ms. Marvel asks what he’s done and how this happened. Traveler explains that this was not his doing and that he has brought them to an alternate reality. In this world, a swarm of alien insects decimated the entire planet. He tells Ms. Marvel that he selected this world because he thought it would be a good place for them to be alone.
Carol charges her fist with energy, preparing to attack and Traveler easily swats her aside with a mystic bolt. Ms. Marvel is forced to the ground and Traveler tells her there will be no more defiance of that sort. He lashes out with another bolt that sends her into the air, writhing and twisting in pain. Traveler tells Carol that it is her fault that he is here and half-insane after she attacked him with a cat. Carol tells him to just blame her for everything. Traveler kicks her and says that he should thank her as he now has more power than ever and access to many different realities to conquer. He explains that alternate realities are his only hope for sanity. The more magic he uses, the more his grasp on sanity loosens. By moving to new realities and acquiring new sources of magic he can diminish this effect.
He takes Dr. Strange’s skull and examines it as he explains that the multiverse is filled with alternate realities. In his original reality, the Wand of Watoomb was melted down and he inserted it into his eye socket. In Ms. Marvel’s home reality, it remained intact and he now possesses its power as well. Together, the Eye and the Wand allow him to traverse the myriad of alternate realities where he can take whatever he wishes and then move on to the next.
Traveler stalks menacingly towards Carol and grabs her by the head. He sends a jolt of arcane energy through her and transports them six years into the past of the devastated world they are on. He tells her that this is the very day that the alien swarm attacked Earth.
As he gloats and explains how the insectoids will devour her flesh, she lashes out with a fierce uppercut. This knocks the Wand of Watoomb from his hands as he crashes forcefully into a nearby vehicle. The madness immediately overwhelms him and he begins sputtering gibberish as he reaches for the Wand.
Ms. Marvel steps in and grabs it. As she does so, she hears the incessant buzz of the approaching alien swarm. She turns to see that the sky has turned black as the alien bugs block the light from the sun. The people around her begin to panic. Carol grabs Traveler and tells him that they need to leave now. He begins to mutter his normal teleportational spell and she kicks him, telling him they need to return to their own reality or they will both die. He grasps her waist and tells here he’ll take them home.
Carol looks around to see if they are back where they belong. Traveler acknowledges that he saved her life as he yanks the Wand from her hand. He strikes her with it and she demands he hand it over. He tells her she has bigger things to worry about as he has returned him home a few minutes earlier than they left. As he bids her farewell and teleports away, the window of Dr. Strange’s home explodes with mystic energy once again.
Inside, Strange is battling Warren Traveler while sending a message to Ms. Marvel as she sleeps. Traveler tells Dr. Strange that he’ll be dead before Ms. Marvel can arrive to help. Carol, however, is already there and attacks Traveler. He casts a spell that begins an arcane chain reaction. Strange draws Carol close to him and protects them with a mystic shield. Carol notes how cozy it is and Stephen apologizes for the smaller shield but is using some of his focus to try and deal with the energies that Traveler has unleashed.
Strange is clearly struggling with the immense task of redirecting this level of energy and Carol offers her help. Strange tries to protest but Carol echoes his own admission that this was too much energy for him to handle alone. The two heroes stand together, Strange’s arm grasping Ms. Marvel’s waist as they both reach out to try and control the swirling mystic energies. Carol admits that she knows little about magic except that it usually gets her nearly killed but together she and Dr. Strange manage to dispel it.
The two heroes are both amazed at the feat and Strange himself admits it was really something. Carol begins to explain that she’d already been reality-hopping prior to her timely arrival and then suddenly realizes that she’s still in Strange’s embrace. The two pull themselves apart and there is a moment of awkwardness.
Carol changes the subject, noting bitterly that Traveler got away. Strange assures her that his type always shows up again sooner or later. Carol says that’s an encouraging thought and Stephen tells her that next time she’ll be able to take him down for good. Carol is a bit surprised by the Sorcerer Supreme’s confidence in her and asks if she can call on him for another team-up when Traveler surfaces. Dr. Strange gives her and almost flirtatious smile and replies “Most certainly.”
Three weeks later, repairs have finally been completed on Carol’s apartment and she and her cat have finally returned home. She notes that she’s named the cat Chewie, after Chewbacca from the Star Wars films. She acknowledges that she’s a nerd but thinks the name suits the cat. She’s thankful that the press has given her some space and attributes this to her early declaration of support for the impending Superhuman Registration Act. As she enters the building, her cell phone rings. It’s Tony Stark who immediately asks Carol if she’s seen Captain America lately.Carol replies that she hasn’t and asks what’s up. Iron Man asks that if she does see Captain America to contact him first before she talks to Cap. He tells her it’s important. As Carol keys into her apartment, she finds Cap is waiting for her inside. He greets her and asks if she has a minute.

Characters Involved: 

Ms. Marvel
Doctor Strange

Captain America, Iron Man (both Avengers)

Warren Traveler

Chewie, Carol’s mysterious cat
Bystanders in an alternate reality New York City
In Ms. Marvel’s Dream Only:

Ms. Marvel
News crew and reporters

Story Notes: 

Within the HOUSE OF M reality, Carol hurled a cat at Warren Traveler while in battle. This disrupted a teleportational spell he was casting. He and the cat re-materialized near Ms. Marvel after the Scarlet Witch’s reality warp had been undone. Warren Traveler is now trapped in a reality other than his own and a bit mad as a result. Carol has taken the cat she used as a projectile as a pet.
Watoomb is one of eight powerful mystic entities that comprise the Octessence. Often his name appears at part of spells and incantations. The Wand of Watoomb first appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #2. It is a short golden wand with demon-like heads at each end. The Wand grants the wielder an array of mystical abilities including the ability to block and absorb mystical attacks, redirect this energy into a blast or channel it into a defensive shield. The Wand can also be used to open inter-dimensional apertures and to create scrying pools. In addition to the Wand of Watoomb and the Eye of Watoomb introduced in this issue, there is also the Waterfall of Watoomb which empowered Tempest, a member of the Exemplars. Each member of this group was empowered by a member of the Octessence to serve as their earthly avatar.
The Superhuman Registration Act was introduced in the wake of a superhuman battle involving the New Warriors and a small group of super-villains. While filming a reality TV show about their heroic exploits, the Warriors confronted a band of fugitive villains that included Nitro. While they were pursuing him, he unleashed an explosion that destroyed a school bus and nearby schoolyard filled with children. Over sixty children died along with several of the New Warriors. This launched a nationwide backlash against the superhero community leading to the rapid development and passage of the Superhuman Registration Act. [CIVIL WAR Limited Series #1]

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