War of the Marvels: Catherine Donovan, Carol Danvers, Karla Sofen and Ms. Marvel
Scans from MM 42, 43, and 44.
Carol Danvers' powers were originally granted by Kree technology. This ~machine~ called the psyche magnetron gave her a suit which mimicked Captain Marvel's powers. Later, some authorial hand waving made those powers a part of her. From then on she was a genetic human/Kree hybrid. As a consequence of all this alien technological malarky, she developed a second personality. There was Carol Danvers, ex-military, current writer, and there was Ms. Marvel, Kree warrior and superhero. Hard work and exercise therapy led to the two personalities being merged. Carol's gone through a few psychological upheavals since then, but the split personality device hasn't been used (or even referenced, really) in ages. Until now. Thematically at least, the Catherine/Carol/Ms. Marvel divide seems to be a call back to Claremont's story.
Some issues ago, Carol died. Then she came back in issue 42, but she's not quite the Carol of old - and who's this Catherine Donovan person?
Obviously, a fight ensues, with some vintage Carol vs. Car action. Then we start to see just how attached Karla has gotten to the Ms. Marvel identity.
The fight, which I can't post, also demonstrates how ridiculously over-powered, newly revived Carol is. What we don't find out, is how or why she's back, or why she's so much more powerful. (Now, crazy power spikes aren't unusual for Carol, whose power set allows for that kind of thing, but still - mystery time!)
Then we're introduced to Miss. Catherine Donovan. Catherine Donovan? Wasn't that Carol's alias, just before she died. Why yes it was.
The next issue gives us plenty of Catherine trying to figure her shit out, and Norman and Karla trying to figure out whose been torching his labs and homes. But I couldn't resist posting this bit of Karla crazy.
Oh Karla. She's going to fight to the bitter end, isn't she?
Now let's check in with 'Carol'.
This Carol reads to me as either the old Kree warrior personality, or possibly Cru. The other, other alien Carol. Or even a personality constructed by the AIM 'babies'. Thoughts?
"Are you not pleased?" I... yeah. I didn't ever get the impression that Carol was unhappy being a super, and wanted to be normal again. If anything, Carol loves being a hero, and she loves having powers. Still, the mystery deepens.
So Catherine heads to NY, to seek her destiny at Avengers Tower.
Meanwhile, Lily, Norman Osborn's girlfriend manages to take Ms. Marvel out with a pumpkin bomb. Yes, you heard that right. An untrained, heavily pregnant woman, took out Ms. Marvel. With a pumpkin bomb. Norman takes this at face value, but Karla knows that something isn't right.
It turns out that Ms. Marvel was the one blowing up Norman's labs, in the previous issue. Naturally, Norman decides that the torture chair is in order. You know how he feels about people touching his things.
Yes, this Ms. Marvel is weird.
Anyway, while Ms. Marvel is in the chair, Catherine shows up downstairs, and is immediately identified as -- Carol Danvers. This obviously raises some red flags.
Downstairs, Catherine runs - pushed by a ghostly Ms. Marvel, who is apparently a psychic projection - but is caught by the Avengers.
The issue ends with Ms. Marvel midway through handing Norman his ass, and Karla on her way to kill Catherine.
So what's this all about? We've got crazy Karla, who's determined to do whatever it takes to hang on the Ms. Marvel identity, because it ~validates her~ or some such. We've got Ms. Marvel Hardcore, who is uninterested in anything but battle, and being, well... weird. And finally we've got Catherine Donovan, who seems to be who Carol would have been, had she not gone into the military, met Captain Marvel, and so on, and so on.
Place your bets people: who is 'Ms. Marvel'? Are we looking at the return of the split Kree/human personality? (The split being more permanent and total this time). Does this have anything to do with the alien Cru, who was responsible for Carol's last power spike? Is it something to do with Karla's precious 'babies' from several issues ago? What's the deal?