Issue(s): Avengers #200
...and he quickly matures to manhood. Ms. Marvel then falls in love with him.
He turns out to be Marcus, the son of Immortus, and he impregnated Ms. Marvel from limbo so that he could arrive on Earth to woo her.
His presence on Earth causes all sort of chronic distortions, so most of the issue is the Avengers fighting dinosaurs and knights and the like.
Despite admitting that he used a "subtle boost from Immortus' machines" to make Ms. Marvel love him, none of the Avengers stop him when he takes her back to limbo.
It's pretty hard to not see this as two types of rape, between the forced pregnancy and the brainwashing, with the Avengers stupidly going along with it. The problem is that we're sort of on the cusp of comics dealing with things a little more realistically. In the Silver Age, something like this would have passed unnoticed, and having read through all of that stuff, your mind sort of gets a little numb to these sorts of logical gaps and rushed characterization and quick explanations. But Michelinie's writing has generally been better than that. Indeed, in this issue, he writes a number of nice character moments.
So you're sort of not sure if you're supposed to think there's something wrong here or not.
This issue seemingly having been plotted by committee may have compounded the problem. But surely Chris Claremont, who wrote Ms. Marvel's book before it was canceled and in general has been doing quite a bit to advance the representation of women in comics, knew that this was wrong, hence Avengers annual #10 (here's a review by Carol Strickland, published in a fanzine at that time, that was an influence on Claremont).
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: Considering the speed at which Ms. Marvel's pregnancy was developing, this shouldn't take place too long after Avengers #199.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBeast, Captain America, Carol Danvers, Hawkeye, Henry Pym, Iron Man, Jarvis, Jocasta, Marcus Immortus, Scarlet Witch, Thor, Vision, Wasp, Wonder Man
"Avengers Forever" changed a number of details about this story.
This may have been another attempt to get rid of another "disposable character"--Ms. Marvel-- since her book got cancelled and Captain Marvel didn't get much traction out of Marvel Spotlight.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 11, 2011 12:43 AM
Beside the charges of rape, nobody seems to point out that Ms. Marvel ends the story in a de facto incest relationship.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 13, 2012 1:53 AM
Perez later stated that he was disappointed with this issue because "It seemed like a story that didn't go anywhere".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 27, 2013 6:34 PM
Considering the issue was crap and made everyone looked bad, I don't understand why Claremont's "response" In Annual #10 made the Avengers look like schmucks. Since there was mind-control involved with Ms Marvel, why couldn't it also be affecting the minds of the other Avengers as well? That would have been a good "out" to not make the other characters look like chumps.
Posted by: Chris | January 28, 2013 1:25 AM
I think Claremont was upset and also channeling the outrage of some fans, so the Avengers in this case are a stand-in for the writers. I am surprised the editors allowed it instead of forcing a compromise fix along the lines you suggest.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 28, 2013 10:07 AM
It's bizarre that Claremont's "fix" involves hurting Carol far more than this story did (Rogue sucking out all of her memories) and turning the character who did it into an X-Man.
I'm far more squicked out by the incest aspect of the plot and the original rape than by the Avengers letting Carol go with Marcus at the end; she seems to be in her right mind, having reconciled what happened in Limbo and making her own decision. (To date her son/rapist. I'm not saying it's a good decision, just that it's hers, Claremont's retcon aside.)
Claremont is also not too far from having Colossus bone a 15-year-old Kitty Pryde because "we're about to die!" (except they don't), so his own ground for sexual morality issues isn't the greatest, either. At least he did let Carol get in one REALLY good punch on Rogue, though. (UXM 171, IIRC.)
Posted by: Dan Spector | February 3, 2013 3:46 PM
On reading the linked Carol Strickland piece (with scans from Annual 10), I'm even more annoyed at Claremont. He conflates the actual rape with this final scene, just so that Carol can blame and "hate" the Avengers for letting her go. Never mind that Iron Man is like "wtf?" immediately and none of the three Avengers present voices approval.
I wonder what the Avengers were supposed to do? Punch out Carol and keep her from going? Yeah, as if that wouldn't have generated screams of "patriarchy!"
Carol makes an incredibly stupid and incomprehensible decision, and Claremont is right to blame Michelinie for that. But having Carol castigate the Avengers as his proxies is just cheap. Write a story where Limbo is invading Earth (Marcus can't leave Limbo, but if he merges the dimensions he can ruuuuuule the world, blahblahblah), the Avengers fight him, he reveals that he mind-controlled everybody in #200 to get what he wanted and Carol leaves the team because of bad memories or whatever, as Chris suggested, above.
Posted by: Dan Spector | February 3, 2013 4:20 PM
I think Claremont is arguing that since Marcus admitted to using mind-control on Carol earlier, the Avengers should have restrained Carol until someone like Xavier or Strange could have determined whether she was acting of her own volition. That's a perfectly legitimate position to take in a universe with mind-control.
Posted by: Michael | February 3, 2013 4:46 PM
Colossus never does, I believe, quite "hook up" with Kitty, and the Peter brings up the age issue rather often as a reason he's reluctant to go forward. This despite the fact that she's 14 or 15 and he's 18 or 19 - and she's depicted as a super genius after her initial appearances, besides. I think Claremont is in the clear on that one. There's no sexual morality problem.
Posted by: Paul | February 5, 2013 5:21 AM
"(To date her son/rapist. I'm not saying it's a good decision, just that it's hers, Claremont's retcon aside.)"
Posted by: Paul | February 5, 2013 5:25 AM
I have Essential Avengers 9 and I am just dreading getting to this. Who in the right **** of mind would have a great series having its 200th issue, never mind ANY ISSUE, involve rapid pregnancy, growth and then incest?
It is a crime not to include Annual 10 no matter which trade it is.
Posted by: David Banes | January 2, 2014 3:04 AM
As noted in the Carol Strickland link above, the problem was a similar story to the original plot showed up in What If, so they had to rewrite the story at the last minute.
Posted by: Michael | January 2, 2014 7:55 AM
Avengers Annual #10 is included in the Essential Miss Marvel collection at least.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | January 2, 2014 4:17 PM
Alright I read it weeks ago and I have to admit the quality is good, good fights, love Jarvis getting to deck someone, so really it is about the best quality written issue of date rape and incest.
And the next issue does have characters going 'y'know maybe we shouldn't have let Carol go after all' as though some kind of daze is lifting from them. So I admit as much as I despise this the situation isn't quite as black and white as I thought.
BUT, what I think will forever sit so wrong with me, among other things, is that it feels like Carol getting pregnant seems like a punishment. It seems not five seconds after Carol says having children is not for her she gets pregnant. It feels like the writers were punishing Carol, a tough super gal, for putting duty before a possible family. Wanda had similar thoughts but since she wrestled with it for numerous and settled for duty it seemed like she had paid enough price thus she wasn't pregnanted.
Forgive the long rant but that punishment vibe makes me ill.
Posted by: David Banes | February 18, 2014 10:43 PM
Yeah, there's really no way to read this other than as a feminist being "put in her place." On the other hand, it did provide backstory for part of Busiek's awesome story Kang conquers the Earth arc.
It's also worth noting that originally the father was supposed to be the Supreme Intelligence, which would have been even icky-er.
Posted by: Andrew | January 4, 2015 6:51 AM
This is indeed a problematic issue. It has some serious issues that mar what is otherwise a big anniversary fight issue. I think part of this was designed to harken back to the classic death of Adam Warlock storyline - I don't think it's a coincidence that at the end of the story, there are only three witnesses and two of them are Thor and Iron Man, two of the same heroes who were there when Warlock died. And the art for the issue is great.
In terms of what Claremont did, there are a couple of ways to read Carol's reaction to the Avengers. On one hand, you can believe like she does, that the Avengers should have known better and that they let her down. On the other hand, you can believe that the Avengers didn't let her down and that Carol is overreacting - especially since some of them weren't aware of some of the story. However, even if you disagree with Carol, it's easy to believe that it's a legitimate reaction on her part, that people she trusted let her down and she doesn't want to see them anymore and that she is justified in an overreaction given the intense psychological trauma she went through.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 21, 2015 1:06 PM
Homosexuality is still far more disturbing, yet I doubt any homosexual/transgender themes in comics would be called "creepy" on this site.
Posted by: Mike | June 9, 2015 7:05 PM
Please find another site to pollute, in that case.
Posted by: cullen | June 9, 2015 7:14 PM
Yeah, definitely don't need any of that here. Banned per my comment policy.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 9, 2015 7:25 PM
Having had to just post corrections in a row to two meaning-changing typos/omissions in a single post, I wonder if Bob meant to say what he seemed to - or a phrase like "right of wrong, many people consider" got dropped... [shrugs]
Posted by: BU | June 10, 2015 3:16 PM
Posted by: Michael | June 10, 2015 7:55 PM
Oops. Bad typo day, indeed. I meant Mike.
Posted by: BU | June 10, 2015 8:05 PM
"This may have been another attempt to get rid of another "disposable character"--Ms. Marvel-- since her book got cancelled and Captain Marvel didn't get much traction out of Marvel Spotlight."
The story I've always heard - and which seems to make the most sense in context - is that Jim Shooter absolutely didn't like Carol as a character, and put down the mandate that she had to be removed from the Avengers. The implication being that he didn't just want her off the team, he wanted her ruined as a character so that no one else would ever bring her back later.
No idea if that's true, but from that perspective, the entire purpose of the story is to justify the ending - ie, her leaving the team in a fashion which is relatively permanent. Granted, they could have just killed her off, but maybe he felt like that wasn't permanent enough.
"It's bizarre that Claremont's "fix" involves hurting Carol far more than this story did (Rogue sucking out all of her memories) and turning the character who did it into an X-Man."
And this might tie in with the above. If Shooter really was sort of vehement about keeping Carol off the Avengers, Claremont may have offered the "Okay, I'll take her powers away and have her just around and living a normal life" premise simply to talk Shooter into letting him do it at all. After all, it DOES seem odd that Shooter would let Claremont "redeem" her at all, and take shots at the Avengers (a book Shooter himself had written, including the issue Claremont was pissed at and ranting about). Sort of similar to how Jessica Drew lost her powers to sort of remove her as a viable character (at least until Claremont sort of salvaged her, too - he never liked letting go of characters he wrote in other titles, and always seemed to enjoy sneaking them into X-Men now and then).
Of course, by the time he had Carol mutate into Binary because of the Brood, Shooter may have mellowed on his stance or outright changed his mind (like Gruenwald later mellowed on his stance about third-rate villains killed off by Scourge). Or maybe Claremont just didn't bother mention it to anyone or clearing it until after it was a fait accompli.
Or maybe Shooter was just fine with it because it sort of tied together with Carol heading off into space and joining the Starjammers, which kept her even farther away from the Avengers.
As for Rogue becoming an X-Man, I've always felt like that was never the original plan. It seemed more like she was originally meant to be nothing more than a plot device, but after having wrote her the way he did, he started thinking about the potential story possibilities involving her power, and involving a young villain character being "redeemed" in the face of having done terrible things (sort of an echo of what he was starting to do with Magneto around the same time), and sort of fell in love with the idea of making her a major character.
"She seems to be in her right mind, having reconciled what happened in Limbo and making her own decision."
Or, conversely, his mind-control has just gotten stronger now that he's actually on Earth and able to affect her directly rather than manipulating her from Limbo.
I've ALWAYS read the scenes in this storyline (and the few issues after, and the Avengers Annual "fix") as implying flat-out that not only was she mind-controlled, but the Avengers were too (and as some of the other posters have mentioned, some of the Avengers DO sort of question it, both in this issue and in later issues, implying the manipulation might not be entirely permanent).
Because, honestly? Most of the writers involved in this story have written other, far better stories, and it seems odd that they wouldn't see the problems involved with having Carol happily run off with her incest rape-baby beforehand. Though it's never explicitly stated, it DOES seem like the Avengers being mind-controlled WAS supposed to be an understood part of the premise at some point, and was either done too subtly, or possibly suffered from one too many rewrites or conflicting writers (because there ARE kind of a lot of people involved in this issue).
Which, in a way, almost works better with the retcon in Avengers Annual #10 - when Carol calls them out on letting her go with Marcus, the Avengers feel embarrassed and ashamed because, from their perspective, they still don't realize they were probably mind-controlled into approval as much as Carol was. So they feel like they failed her.
Posted by: ParanoidObsessive | June 18, 2015 9:42 PM
Rogue was originally intended to appear in Ms. Marvel 25- and she was intended to be Mystique's foster daughter in that story, so Claremont apparently conceived of her as a recurrring character from the beginning.
Posted by: Michael | June 18, 2015 10:50 PM
You guys don't get it , the avengers are a bunch of glorified creeps. They abandoned carol in this storyline, they allowed the hulk to kill thousands during john byrnes time on hulk, they brutally tortured the reformed magneto as well. They're a bunch of selfish, stupid, idiots! The really disturbing thing is that people keep reading that book.
Posted by: lee winters | April 16, 2016 10:23 PM
The Avengers were manipulated here, as was Ms. Marvel herself, as was hinted at in the dialogue. It can happen to the best of people sometimes. When did the Avengers allow the Hulk to kill thousands? And they brutally tortured a reformed Magneto? You must have read some different books than I did...
Posted by: Bill | April 17, 2016 10:57 AM
It's a shoddy and basically unsound premise that the entire team of Avengers should fall prey to mind control and basically majorly fail their teammate. There are several X-Men issues where mind control is used, but if it was used in this issue, then the Avengers demonstrate no spine or heroic character to circumvent it. Iron Man's doubts don't reflect well on him when you realize he never acted on them. I think Claremont was right to set aside the implications of every Avenger being victimized by Marcus, because then Avengers #200 becomes the issue every Avenger gets mind raped, instead of the one every Avenger but Ms. Marvel(the victim) makes a mistake. Avengers Annual #10 was written as Marvel's Mea Culpa apology for #200 and the Avengers stand in for Marvel itself. Avengers #200's existence is an error that requires expiation and I'm satisfied Marvel did that as best as could be done.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | April 17, 2016 3:51 PM
"I think Claremont is arguing that since Marcus admitted to using mind-control on Carol earlier, the Avengers should have restrained Carol until someone like Xavier or Strange could have determined whether she was acting of her own volition. That's a perfectly legitimate position to take in a universe with mind-control."
The trouble is, that there's no in-story way to guarantee that Marcus couldn't deceive Xavier/Strange/whomever on the issue as well. Given his (potential) power level, it's just as plausible that the Avengers could have had Moondragon scan for mind-control, find none, and then (after a story that's IMO *meant* to be ambiguous gets attacked by Carol Strickland et al) have Claremont/Prof X show up later and pull the same "you should have known!" second-guess.
In the end, all the Avengers could do was trust and hope. They weren't in Limbo. Marcus didn't appear to be using any machines. Carol wasn't some glassy-eyed love slave as she was in the flashbacks (which, admittedly, the Avengers hadn't seen)…she'd processed her emotions and made her decision, as far as they could tell. You either trust her…or you don't. And as bizarro as her choice appears to be, I have some real issues with a bunch of guys saying, essentially, "You're not making the decision we think you should be making…it must be mind control." That's way too chauvinistic for me. JMO.
Posted by: Dan Spector | August 21, 2016 5:26 AM
The problem is that Marcus does tell them he had a "subtle boost from his machines, and Carol's pregnancy was, for the Avengers themselves, visibly non-consensual, unexpected, and unwanted. Even before Marcus is born and reveals himself, they handle the surprise, superfast pregnancy really poorly, treating it like a joyous event despite their teammate's obvious, vocal fear and discomfort.
And it's rather odd that none of the Avengers find the situation essentially creepy, given that Carol gives birth to someone who ages up and then claims to be her romantic partner. And Carol's final word on the subject is, as shown above, uncertainty; not very long before, she was repulse4d by everything that was happening to her, so this is not only a shift, but a rather incomplete one.
Even in the original comic, there's a lot of shadiness going on, right on the page. It speaks poorly of the writers that they didn't seem to notice.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | August 21, 2016 7:51 AM
I quite frankly don't see why people consider this rape. Yes, he kidnapped her, but that happens almost literally every issue of every superhero comic book. He used a subtle machine that made Ms Marvel more open to liking him... how is that ANY different than using a bottle of champagne? Or for that matter, any different than "romancing" her with tactics such as musicians playing, or giving her flowers or any other classic flirting/seduction gamble men usually play? Did Marcus actually develop a relationship with Carol Danvers and did they actually fall in love? No. He just played a role to get her in bed, which is pretty much the definition of seduction in the real world.
This wasn't any more rape than any other casual encounter between a man and a woman in this day and age.
The story was creepy considering that once Ms. Marvel found out, she still chose to leave with him, but rape? Nah. Not in any sense of the word.
Posted by: will | June 21, 2017 9:21 AM
Do not respond to will. I have discovered he is financed by a Bill Cosby super-PAC.
Posted by: Andrew | June 21, 2017 6:38 PM
Sure, let's make fun of Will. Because otherwise we would have to admit literally al men in the world are rapists if influencing a woman thru tricks constitutes as rape.
Posted by: will | June 21, 2017 7:06 PM
Look, I know I'll get heat either way, but the argument is rather simple. If Michael had used a machine to literally hypnotize or control Ms Marvel's mind (like countless villains have done in countless comic books) then it would be a clear cut case of rape. But this wasn't the case. The book explicitly states that it took Michael WEEKS to seduce her... weeks. If you have a machine that can make a woman like you instantly, you don't need weeks. The machine only made his seduction of her EASIER. Which is why I compared it to alcohol. People do things under the influence that they wouldn't do sober. Most sex encounters in the world occur under the influence of alcohol. Does that makes us all rapists?
Michael seduces Carol for several weeks. He used the machine to made it easier, but he did seduced her. Yes, he kidnapped her, used her for his rebirth, erased her memory of it. He's not a nice guy. But calling it rape is incredibly insulting to actual rape victims. I remember having read about this story years before actually reading it. I frankly thought Ms. Marvel was "legitimately" raped, like under physical violence. When I finally caught up with issue #200 I couldn't believe my eyes... it's just not rape, guys. Seduction is always dishonest. People lie to get people to like them. This isn't any different.
Posted by: will | June 21, 2017 7:29 PM
will, you can't meaningfully consent to a kidnapper. Marcus was the only way Carol had to get home. If she didn't have sex with her, he might have left her in Limbo.)
Posted by: Michael | June 21, 2017 8:22 PM
I wouldn't say if it's rape or not - I only know this story through its reputation and this-here website - but it's creepy beyond imagining. The incest is explicit, but nobody is bothered by it. Wanda and Vision's conversation about their lack of reproduction sticks out like a sore thumb, and Jocasta's comment doesn't help.
It's just creepy. This isn't a story that could be told better if it didn't star guys and gals in tights solving problems with their fists in Code-approved ways, this is a story that just didn't need to be told.
Posted by: ChrisW | June 21, 2017 8:59 PM
"Seduction is always dishonest. People lie to get people to like them."
Um, it doesn't ALWAYS have to be dishonest, and if anyone needs to lie to others to get them to like them, then either they or the people they are trying to reach to are awfully bad people. Either way it'd not be a relationship worth pursuing.
Posted by: OverMaster | June 21, 2017 11:07 PM
I almost wonder if this story is so uncomfortable precisely because it is as Fnord mentions at the cusp of the Silver Age goofiness/more realistic era, and thus we get an uncomfortable mixing of moods. On one level, using Silver Age logic, there are a million weirder, more disturbing [from a modern perspective] stories (see every issue of Lois Lane ever). On another level, none of those stories had the intentionally ambiguous, slightly downbeat ending here in which the heroes wonder if they made the right move.
Posted by: Michael Cheyne | March 21, 2018 5:15 PM
If only Marcus had used his father's gizmos to peek into the future circa 2018 and discover what Carol would eventually turn into, he'd have lost any attraction to her right there and possibly considered a ploy that didn't involve kidnapping and "enhanced" seduction.
Posted by: Dan H. | March 21, 2018 6:22 PM
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