Ms. Marvel #8
Issue(s): Ms. Marvel #8
She wins, largely by being able to survive the explosion caused by triggering a Cavourite Crystal that Grotesk was attempting to use to destroy the Earth.
Her fight occurs during a date with her psychiatrist/boyfriend Mike Barnett (how messed up is that relationship?), and after the fight is over she says she kinda regrets not letting Grotesk destroy the Earth, because he was just upset that his people were destroyed by nuclear tests.
Kind of a liberal attitude about a guy whose self-professed goal was to destroy the entire planet.
Ms. Marvel gets her scarf grabbed again in the fight with Grotesk.
You'd think she'd figure out by now it's a dumb accessory. It's the second time that Claremont has made this happen, and by the standards of the 1970s it's taking a long time to reach the obvious conclusion here. It's possibly because there was a lot of debate behind the scenes on how Ms. Marvel's costume should be changed:
CBA: Was that your one collaboration with Stan?
Also this issue, Carol Danvers provides information to SHIELD about the AIM base under Alden's Department Store, but they don't find anything due to AIM's shielding technology and are terribly embarrassed and not too happy with Carol.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place before Ms. Marvel's appearance in Marvel Team-Up #62, where she survives a second Cavourite Crystal explosion. Due to other dependencies in that Marvel Team-Up run, this issue has been moved back a bit prior to its publication date to fit.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I learn from Wikipedia that "cavorite" is a compound used for space travel in HG Wells's The First Men in the Moon.
So: cavourite, Morlocks, Moreau -- are there other Claremont borrowings from Wells's oeuvre?
Posted by: Walter Lawson | December 20, 2012 2:24 AM
I'm not sure, but I think Claremont's intent with Barnett was that he and Carol were dating first, and THEN she started getting his professional help after the whole Ms.Marvel/Split personality thing started. I don't think he was her therapist first, and then they started dating.
Its hard to be sure though, since Claremont seems to lose track of the relationship during the series. In some later issues he writes them as being 'just friends' and Mike is interested in more--even though earlier issues clearly show they are an item. Then an issue or two later, Claremont seems to realize his error, since they are clearly dating again. Usually Claremont seems to keep better track of his own continuity, but that particular relationship--and Barnett's personality in general--seemed to fluctuate from issue to issue for a while.
Posted by: Dermie | October 6, 2013 11:46 PM
In retrospect, Claremont really overdid the "he grabbed my scarf!" thing. After all, once she changes her costume, we never get a "he grabbed my sash!" scene, do we?
Posted by: Andrew | January 3, 2017 4:37 PM
I'm definitely not 100% sure, but I think this issue is the first time a Marvel comic passed the Bechdel test, and featured an entire scene with two women just talking about anything other than a man (or boy, or male-equivalent android). On page 5, Carol and Tracy Burke discuss work and Tracy's alcoholism. (Sure, a man breaks up their discussion, but hey it's comics...)
Posted by: Andrew | March 12, 2018 7:02 AM
It doesn't take away from your point Andrew, but i'd argue that the conversations between the Greer Nelson and Dr. Tumolo in Cat #1 pass the Bechdel test. I haven't really tried to find the "first" such time, but they are definitely few and far between, even in the 90s comics i'm currently reviewing.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 12, 2018 2:40 PM
You're right, fnord. I thought they were discussing Donalbain in all their scenes, but I missed some. There may also be some early Thors with the Rigellian Tana Nile that count.
Posted by: Andrew | March 12, 2018 3:51 PM
A nice thing about the comments on this site: they will occasionally send me running to google to learn a new term. Much appreciated.
Posted by: kveto | March 12, 2018 4:34 PM
Chris Tolworthy thinks a couple of panels of Sue Storm and Medusa in FF #41 pass the Bechdel test, even if they are in the middle of a fight: http://zak-site.com/Great-American-Novel/ff-act2-FF25.html#FF41
Posted by: Morgan Wick | March 13, 2018 1:50 AM
Ha! Thanks, Morgan. Of course the point of the Bechdel Test isn't really about which art passes the test as much as it is about marveling at how few works of art pass it, but it's SO tempting to pick at that scab... How long does the scene have to be? How substantive does their conversation have to be? FF #41 (Aug 1965) just barely passes, if fight banter with other men around counts. In Thor #131 (Aug 1966), Tana Nile has a 2-panel conversation with a woman on a bus (she has a longer conversation with Jane Foster in issue 130, but it starts with Jane mooning over Thor, of course). Cat #1 (Nov 1972) is probably the first to feature a substantive conversation between friends, but the scenes are just 1 or 2 panels. This (Aug 1977) is, I think, the first example that occupies an entire page.
Posted by: Andrew | March 13, 2018 7:12 AM
There might be any number of scenes that pass the test in the Silver Age girls' titles.
Betty Dean and Namorita had scenes together in Sub-Mariner.
Agatha Harkness taught the Scarlet Witch magic in The Avengers.
Jean Grey confides in Misty Knight when they're left alone together in Uncanny X-Men #102.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | March 13, 2018 7:54 AM
Excellent points, Luke. Betty Dean and Namorita discussing the merits of democracy and free speech is an extended, intelligent scene, but Night Nurse and the Cat beat it by a few months.
BTW, fnord, I think you forgot to tag Jean Grey in X-Men 102.
Posted by: Andrew | March 13, 2018 10:54 AM
I think fnord12 tagged that character as "Phoenix Force" in X-Men #102, because of the retcons that say that the real Jean Grey was resting in a cocoon at the bottom of the bay. That's just my surmise though.
Posted by: Holt | March 13, 2018 11:30 AM
I think the Bechdel Test can be overemphasized. In comic books, particularly, the title characters are often overpowering regardless of the supporting characters' genders. Most of the time Microchip is no more than a speaking partner for Punisher, for instance.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | March 13, 2018 11:42 AM
Thanks, Holt. I totally missed that. In my mind, that's still Jean, even if it's "really" the Phoenix.
Posted by: Andrew | March 13, 2018 12:18 PM
YW Andrew. In my mind, that's still Jean, too, because that character really was intended to be Jean when the stories were written.
More on topic, regarding the Bechdel test (with which I was previously unfamiliar), I'm thinking Virginia Woolf probably wouldn't have found all that much to like about Ms. Marvel, nor considered it to be too successful in attaining it's purported goals. The Bechdel test is probably quite appropriate for Ms. Marvel, and Marvel in general during this time period, because the bar it sets is so incredibly low.
Posted by: Holt | March 13, 2018 1:01 PM
Little know fact: Virginia Woolf was actually a big DC fan. Huge nerd.
Posted by: Andrew | March 14, 2018 7:32 AM
I did not know that. Very sad that she died before the first Wonder Woman story was published in 1941. Wonder Woman and Orlando might have even crossed over, which would have been fantastical.
Posted by: Holt | March 14, 2018 9:25 PM
@ Holt -
Orlando does pop up in the third volume of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 14, 2018 10:08 PM
@ Erik Beck - An Orlando/Promethea crossover would be even more awesome. Just guessing that Orlando (1928) might be the first super-hero created in the 20th century, or one of the first-- can't think of another off the top of my head anyway. Not sure about the details of copyright status but it seems Orlando's at a sort of "public domain" point where anybody can use (him/her)-- what with Moore's treatment and Tilda Swinton's movie portrayal both being published in the 1990s if I'm not mistaken. Now there's your feminist superhero-- Ms. Marvel eat your heart out lol
Posted by: Holt | March 14, 2018 10:31 PM
@Holt- There is the 1916 French serial JUDEX, where the title character is considered a prototype for the classic pulp hero the Shadow, that might be considered the first movie superhero. I know this is off-topic, but I can hardly pass up an opportunity to drop some obscure, useless trivia here.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | March 14, 2018 11:10 PM
@Brian Coffey - Thanks, I didn't know that either. Looked up Philip Wylie's Gladiator-- 1930 so Orlando just barely beats him, but they both still come in behind JUDEX.
I was kinda joking, because Orlando isn't really a hero, other than in the sense that any book's title character can be said to be the "hero" of the book. Plus there's not enough violence in this character for a Marvel or DC style book or crossover. But (she/he) does have super-powers, such as a 300+ year lifespan and the ability to "morph" from one gender to the other. A generation-spanning history, sort of like Wolverine's, only without all the violence.
Posted by: Holt | March 14, 2018 11:35 PM
Chris Gavaler has a number of articles at The Hooded Utilitarian examining the antecedents/precursors/origins of the modern superhero adventure genre - before reading him, I'd have guessed off the top of my head that Zorro or The Scarlett Pimpernel were the first superheroes, but apparently the answer is Spring-Heeled Jack, more or less...
Posted by: BU | March 15, 2018 10:41 AM
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