I’m starting off this ridiculously large idea with the idea that initially got me thinking about how awesome Claremont was for comics in his day. It’s funny that despite this being an homage to his run on Uncanny X-Men, the first one doesn’t actually take place in the book he made famous. But for any true X-Men fan, Avengers Annual 10 is an issue that should be heralded as a true treasure, especially since it deals with the first appearance of a certain young southern belle ah think y’all know a little bit.
But Rogue’s dramatic debut is not the focus here. Rather it’s her signature victim, who only appears in the beginning and ending of the issue.
Ms. Marvel had been something of a background character as far as MAJOR players in the Marvel world of the 80’s went. She had a solo title that had ended and pushed her into the rotating roster of coming and going Avengers. And early 80’s Avengers was certainly not a place a female character wanted to be if she wanted to have any kind of dignity or respect placed upon her. Take issue #200, for instance.
This was a big issue for Carol Danvers, especially since she didn’t make it out of the issue as a member of the team. In the creepiest of creepy stories, Ms. Marvel suddenly goes full-term pregnant in a matter of days and delivers a baby who instantly ages to adulthood and reveals that he has wooed Ms. Marvel from another reality and hatched a ridiculously icky plot in which he brought her to his dimension, romanced her, impregnated her with himself, sends her back with no memory of the event, then BAM! here he is, and the two fall in awful love and go back to his dimension to be happy together.
No, I’m not making that up. That really happened in the issue.
But actually, I sugar coated the ordeal. Because this guy, Marcus, didn’t find Carol Danvers and romance her, getting her to come to him of her own free will. He used a villain’s mind-whammy machine to do it. He even flat out says it in the dialogue of the issue.
The dude flat out says this to her in front of three Avengers – Hawkeye, Thor and Iron Man – and they’re all like “yup, uh huh, that’s so sweet”. All the Avengers are excited for the two, and Carol whisks away from them with Hawkeye hoping they live happily ever after. The end.
What. The. Fuck.
I’m assuming that if you’re reading a blog like this that you would have the common sense to associate using a mind whammy device to get into the sack with a lady is not a good thing, and certainly shouldn’t get the happy ever after ending. Ms. Marvel was basically used as a tool for this man’s plot to have her, had her body ravaged by him, only to be mind controlled into becoming his love and the Avengers are like “Best wishes, kids!” How did that ever get past a comics code authority? Imagine if a story like that came out now – Women in Refrigerators would have nothing on it.
Well, certainly a writer named Chris Claremont didn’t think so either. So when Carol Danvers became the victim of Rogue’s first appearance, it gave him a chance to let Carol tell her side of the story, and take the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to task for one of their most horrible failures.
In a powerful monologue, Carol explains how she was violated and manipulated by a petty and infantile fiend, only to watch her friends and teammates smile approvingly with well wishes.
It’s a powerful message alone, and it certainly takes to task the awful story that was presented in the original book. It explains with no punches pulled that the behavior was horrible, and that the Avengers flat out FAILED in not doing anything for their friend. It’s worse than getting beaten up by Kang the Time Lord any day. And it removed Carol Danvers from the Avengers scene for around a decade.
Oh, and Marcus the hero who did all this? Claremont had him dead in a week.
And that’s a reason why Chris Claremont is awesome.