Ms. Marvel #1 (1977): First Ms. Marvel

The issue starts with Ms. Marvel flying by a bank robbery, and foiling it.  It’s an action-based introduction to the character, albeit a generic one.

It’s interesting that Marvel introduced her in her own comic, rather than launch her somewhere else so they’d have a built-in audience.  I guess back in the ’70s, when people still read a lot and bought lots of comics, it was okay to take this kind of a publishing risk.  You’d never see that happen these days.

1st appearance carol danversOkay, technically that’s not true.  Ms. Marvel premiered in “Marvel Super Heroes #13” in 1968.  She just appeared as Carol Danvers–no powers yet.  But I’m not counting this as Ms. Marvel’s first appearance because she wasn’t powered up yet.

That’s her to the left, looking pretty hot.  But the dude would rather look at a robot than Carol.  No wonder she has self-esteem issues in the 1980s.

Back to issue #1:

After the bank-robbery scene, we get a story about Scorpion trying to kill J. Jonah Jameson in which Mac Gargan offers the best reason to kill JJJ:

“Because I don’t like you.”  Priceless.

Ms. Marvel gets involved because Carol Danvers, who we as readers don’t know is Ms. Marvel yet, gets hired by JJJ to produce “Woman Magazine.”  When Ms. Marvel defeats Scorpion and saves JJJ, he turns around and sics Carol Danvers on her to find out who she is and what she’s about.

Rather than being told directly that Carol=Ms. M, we get a final sequence where Carol says she’s been having blackouts.  As readers, we now know her deal.  As if we hadn’t already figured out, given that two women were introduced in a single Marvel comic.

It’s pretty well done, all things considered.  Not great, but an interesting way to establish a new character—particularly not telling us who she really is.

Ms. Marvel is also the first legacy character to get her own book.  A few other people have put on Iron Man’s armor and actually served as I.M. for an issue or two, but Ms. Marvel is full-on, with her own title.

Creators: Gerry Conway and John Buscema
Grade: B-
For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.

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