Ms. Marvel Special #1

Issue Date: 
March 2007
Story Title: 

Brian Reed (writer), Giuseppe Camuncoli (penciler), Lorenzo Ruggiero (inker), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), Brad Johansen (production), Andy Schmidt (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

A young boy named Gavin reads a chapter from Carol Danvers’ sci-fi novel, “Binary” aloud to his friend in a New York public library. As he reads about Binary’s adventures in space, those who hear his narration fall into a trance-like state. Across town, Carol is having coffee with Wonder Man who is about to ask her out. They are interrupted by the appearance of the Keeper, a massive space entity from Carol’s novel. They fly to investigate but Simon also falls under the spell of Gavin’s narration. When Ms. Marvel tracks the source of the hypnotic voice reading her book to the library, she finds herself transported into deep space and reliving the events in her novel, including the dark menace of the Swarm, a planet-devouring menace. She also “meets” the storyteller, Gavin and together they discover the scope and limits of his power to warp reality. Carol helps him to tap into his imagination rather than relying on written text. Gavin is then able to shift her into her Binary form which enables her to defeat the Swarm once again. With the Swarm vanquished, Gavin’s power effect fades and reality is restored. As Ms. Marvel tries to learn more about Gavin’s origins and abilities, they are accosted by AIM Agents seeking to return Gavin to the AIM facility that imbued him with these abilities. Gavin exerts his newfound control over his powers to “re-write” the story unfolding and sends them all to jail. Carol tries to warn him how dangerous his power might be and reach out to help him. Gavin thanks her but then uses his power to return her to where she was before all this happened. Carol is left wondering if she’s truly helped Gavin or screwed up by helping him to gain greater control of his immense power.

Full Summary: 

Inside a New York public library, a young boy named Gavin and his friend Rich pick out a book to read. Rich selects a science fiction novel called “Binary” written by Carol Danvers. On the cover is a picture of Carol Danvers in her cosmically-powered Binary form. He presents it to Gavin who is unsure of the choice since they just “read” a sci-fi novel the day before. Rich argues that they should do this one because the girl on the cover is hot. Gavin reluctantly agrees, his eyes glowing with bluish energy that runs up his bald head and seems to course through the jagged scar that runs from his right eye to the back of his head.

He tells Rich to give him the book and that he knows a chapter that might be good for this. Rich looks around to make sure the coast is clear as Gavin leafs through the pages. There are not many people in the library as they sit down to begin the chapter Gavin has selected. He begins to read aloud and his words take on a distinctly unique quality.

The chapter of “Binary” that Gavin begins reading details a period of Binary’s life when she had left the Starjammers and wandered the universe on her own in search of new adventures.

the story:
Despite the grandeur of space, she had lost those moments that made her feel “human” in the depths of space. She didn’t need to sleep or eat and had chosen to leave the daily companionship of her shipmates behind. The cosmos was her home and she found a cold comfort in the void. After months alone in space, Binary was called to be a telepathic voice in a strange and alien tongue. She followed it to its source for days.

Gavin pauses for a moment to ask Rich if it’s working. Rich encourages him to keep reading. As he does so, his words seem to permeate the area in a powerful way. A librarian nearby is shelving books but when she hears Gavin’s words, her eyes glaze over and she is enthralled.

the story:
Binary comes to the center of the known galaxy and discovers an immense cosmic entity called the Keeper. She speaks to the being, telling him that she does not understand. Instantly he shifts his telepathic message into English. He tells Binary of his race, the Keepers and how they need her help as they are coming to an end. The Keepers had witnessed the birth of the universe and a dark force created alongside it known as the Swarm. The Swarm was the “anti-creation” and devoured all life in its path. The Keepers took responsibility for keeping the Swarm in check and protecting the fledgling universe from its dark hunger. After millennia, the Keepers began to die out and their numbers were no longer sufficient to contain the menace of the Swarm. The Swarm had escaped and now threatened the entire cosmos.

As Gavin reads the chapter, his words spread throughout the library, captivating the minds of all within.
Nearby, the book’s author, Carol Danvers is sitting down for coffee with her longtime teammate and friend, Simon Williams AKA Wonder Man. He gallantly pulls her chair out for her. They make small talk, enjoying the opportunity to just relax for a bit from their ongoing heroic efforts.
Simon tells Carol that it’s really been great seeing so much of her lately. She echoes the sentiment. Simon continues, adding that he thought it might be nice for the two of them to spend time together when it didn’t involve some threat or another. Carol seems to realize where this is heading as Simon begins to suggest that maybe they might… but his suggestion is interrupted by a giant explosion. Looming over Manhattan is the Keeper from the novel! His body is so immense that he straddles the island, one foot on each side. He looks to the heavens, his eyes ablaze with energy.

At first, Carol doesn’t recognize the creature. As she and Simon take to the air to investigate, the words from her novel begin to emanate from the Keeper. Ms. Marvel recognizes it immediately and tells Simon that it’s reciting a novel she wrote! He asks which one but when she tells him, he admits to not having read that particular one. Carol teasingly asks when he last read a book without pictures.

Their banter is curtailed by the business at hand as Simon asks her what this thing is. She tells him it’s one of the Keepers from her book. She checks to see if it’s real. As Wonder Man draws closer, he is overwhelmed by some unseen force and falls unconscious. Carol manages to catch him and get him safely to the ground.

All the while, the eerily disembodied narration of her novel continues to hang in the air. She is unable to revive Wonder Man, so stops to assess the situation fully. She tries to figure out why someone would be projecting passages from her book. When she looks around, she sees the chaos unleashed on the city. Cars have crashed and traffic stopped as people have become frozen by the enchantment that seems to be carries with the words from her novel. This appears to be emanating from the library nearby and Ms. Marvel goes to investigate. She wonders aloud why she is not being affected by the spell that seems to have been cast over the area. As she opens the door to the library, she is overwhelmed by a brilliant light.

She enters the door and appears to have been transported to deep space. A disembodied voice asks her who she is. She asks the same question herself and the voice identified himself as Gavin. He asks how she got there since she’s not part of the story. Carol spies a planet in the distance and asks if Gavin is there. He replies that he doesn’t know where he is or where Rich has gone. He admits that nothing like this has ever happened before.

Carol tells him that if he can tell her what happened, she will try to find them both. He tells her that she’s flying the wrong way and she asks if he can see her. He replies that he can see everything but can’t seem to find Rich or the book. As Carol nears the planet, she sees the dark cloud-like form of the Swarm swirling up from the surface. Gavin urges her to run before it sees her.

As she flees, she asks Gavin how real all of this is. He replies that he doesn’t know as the Swarm begins to chase Ms. Marvel. Carol tells him that she’s trying to decide just how frightened she should be, but Gavin seems just as confused by what’s happening. He tells her that he think some people in the library died but doesn’t know for sure. He explains that he was broadcasting the story to his friend when everything around him turned into outer space.

Carol asks what he means by broadcasting and he explains that it’s something he can do when reading out loud. He can visually project what he is imagining from the story for those around him to see. Carol compliments him on how vivid his imagination is as the Swarm continues to relentlessly pursue her.

Carol notes to Gavin that the rules in his imagined world don’t always follow normal logic. She comments on how some things make sound and others don’t and how she can breathe in space. As she questions Gavin about this, they come to the conclusion that just as when anyone reads a book, their imagination focuses only on the relevant details of a scene and not every dynamic at play. Since Gavin isn’t imagining those kinds of details while envisioning a scene, they don’t get incorporated into the altered realities he generates.

Carol asks what would happen if he just imagined something on his own rather than relying on written text. Gavin admits that he’s never tried that before. Ms. Marvel tells him that in the book, Binary killed the Swarm. Gavin is excited that Carol has read the book and she tells him she wrote it. He is surprised at this and Carol retorts “So much for all the money I’ve been spending on PR.” She suggests that perhaps she is unaffected by her broadcast is due to the fact that she’s the book’s author.

Gavin tells her that makes sense as his power didn’t work when he tried to project a story that Rich had written about a girl he liked at school. Ms. Marvel asks him to table the creepy teenager fantasies and focus on the task at hand… stopping the Swarm. She suggests he read the part of the book where Binary defeats it but he reminds her that he lost the book.

At that moment, the Swarm catches up to her and she turns to attack it. As she fights, she encourages Gavin to imagine the scene on his own. He’s hesitant since he’s never used his power without that focusing tool. He recalls that Binary burned the Swarm away by going supernova, something the Keepers had always feared doing. Carol reminds Gavin that Binary isn’t here as the Swarm begins to physically engulf her body. She is quickly consumed by its amorphous black form. Gavin calls out to her panicked.

He desperately continues his narration, adding that all was not lost as Binary realized she was still alive. Within the Swarm, Carol opens her eyes and they glow with cosmic power. She is now in her Binary form and costume. She asks Gavin what he did and if he’s reading the book. He reminds her that he can’t find it and explains that he just imagined her as Binary. Carol reassures Gavin that together, they can figure this out. She tells him she is going to power up and she wants him to imagine the Swarm being burned away. He is hesitant at first but Carol expresses confidence in him and begins to count. As Gavin “narrates” the story of how Binary powered up and destroyed the Swarm, her power grows brighter until the Swarm is burned away in a flash of light.

With the Swarm destroyed, reality returns to normal. Ms. Marvel finds herself on the floor of the library a few feet away from Gavin and his friend Rich. Gavin is curled up and looks over at Carol. He asks if she’s okay. She replies that she is and asks if he’s Gavin. She rushes over to check on his friend Rich and finds that he’s alive. He comes to and looks up at Ms. Marvel who is kneeling over him. He excitedly tells Gavin that this is the best book ever! Gavin angrily throws the book at Rich and tells him he’s not broadcasting anymore. Ms. Marvel rises and suggests that they go make sure everyone is all right. Everyone seems to be recovering from the trance-like effects of Gavin’s powers.

Despite this, Gavin seems upset and asks if they can just leave. Carol tells Gavin that it’s not going to be that simple. He asks her if she’ll chase him if he tries to just run away and she replies calmly that she will. Rich asks if she’d chase him and she replies no, at which point he darts away. Carol places her hands firmly on Gavin’s shoulders and tells him that she doesn’t intend to hurt him but wants to figure out how she can help him. She asks if he’s a mutant and he tells her he isn’t. She asks how he can do these things then and as he is about to tell her, they are interrupted by a shout of “There he is!”

They turn to see a dozen AIM agents leveling their weapons at Gavin. The agent in charge orders the others to use “Storyteller Protocols” and authorizes lethal force if Gavin even glances at a written word. The AIM commander orders Gavin to close his eyes. Ms. Marvel generates a photon charge around her fist and aims it at the commander and tells him that he can walk away right now.

Gavin’s eyes glow with power as he declares this a “bad ending”. Carol asks what he means and he tells her that he was experimented on by these guys for a month and didn’t escape only to let them catch him again. He says that they shouldn’t be there and then says that they should be captured by the police in his “narrative” voice.

The AIM agents begin to discorporate, their bodies breaking into what looks like tiny blocks as they fade away. Carol is shocked at the sight of this, which is eerily similar to an effect she’s witnessed before. Gavin continues, saying that none of the AIM squad should be here and that it’s overkill for just one kid. He again activates his power and “narrates” that the AIM agents were all taken to jail. Carol asks him what he’s doing and he tells her that he’s rewriting the story.

Across town, the AIM agents suddenly appear in a jail cell to the surprise of the officer on duty.

Carol walks with Gavin who explains that they were going to take him away again and continue to experiment with his mind to find out how he does the things he does. Carol asks him how he does it. He explains that when he forms an image in his mind he can make it real. Until today, he always needed to read a book aloud to focus his mental images but that she helped him to do that without the book using only his own imagination. He is thankful that he helped her to gain control of it after his broadcast went out of control. As a result, she’s helped him get a whole lot stronger.

Carol reaches out to him and tells him that this is a very dangerous power he has. She tells him that a close friend of hers had a similar ability and he asks her immediately if she knew Wanda Maximoff. Carol asks how he knew and he explains that the AIM scientists knew all about her and said that she changed the world once.

Carol tells him that she lost control of her powers and altered all of reality, not just a library and it was a very bad and scary event. Gavin tells Ms. Marvel that AIM was using all of them to make more of her. Carol picks up on his use of the word “us” and asks if there are more like him. He tells her that he thinks he’s the only one. He tells her that the subjects were all kids and the surgery was pretty rough.

He cuts it off here and tells Carol that he likes her. She’s pretty and smart and really helped him out today so he owes her “big-time”. Tapping into his narrative power once more, he says that after helping Gavin realize his true power, Carol was transported back to where she was before all this happened.

Carol tries to protest but immediately finds herself back at the café with Wonder Man. She is back in her street clothes and momentarily disoriented. Simon asks what happened and doesn’t remember anything after the pair of them flew off to investigate the appearance of the Keeper. Carol takes Simon’s hand and asks if it’s really him. He smiles and asks who else it would be. Carol falls into his arms, clearly upset. She is clearly distraught and tells him she might have helped today or she might have really screwed up. She grasps him tightly and after a moment, he returns her embrace.

Characters Involved: 

Ms. Marvel
Wonder Man
Unnamed library visitors and citizens of New York City
Unnamed AIM agents
Unnamed NYPD officer
The Keeper, The Swarm (both projected by Gavin’s narrative reality-warping powers)

Story Notes: 

Carol was transformed into Binary in UNCANNY X-MEN #164 and joined the Starjammers in UNCANNY X-MEN #174. She remained with them for several years until burning out her Binary powers in QUASAR #34.

Carol worked on the novel “Binary” after she returned to Earth in QUASAR #34. After she resigned from active membership with the Avengers in AVENGERS (3rd Series) #7, she moved to Seattle to get her novel published and work as a freelance writer.

Ms. Marvel and Wonder Man were lovers in the House of M reality. Since then, they have deepened their friendship. They have worked alongside each other among the pro-registration team of heroes during the CIVIL WAR and been jointly in charge of the new training program for young heroes recruited under the Superhuman Registration Act as shown in MS. MARVEL (2nd Series).

AIM has a long history of researching and developing reality-warping methods. Years ago AIM created a Cosmic Cube with vast reality-warping potential but the group was unable to fully control its powers [STRANGE TALES #79].

Wanda Maximoff is the Avenger known as the Scarlet Witch. Her reality-warping powers spiraled out of control due to mental instability. This psychosis led to her attacking her teammates and resulted in several deaths. The team was disbanded as a result. [AVENGERS (2nd Series) #500-503] She then warped reality at the prompting of her brother, Quicksilver resulting in the creation of the HOUSE OF M reality in which mutants, specifically her father Magneto, ruled the world. In the aftermath of this massive reality warp she declared “No more mutants” resulting in M-Day, the decimation of the mutant population and widespread elimination of the mutant genome. [HOUSE OF M #1-8]

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